Prime Minister Theresa May was the guest speaker at the UJIAs annual dinner on Monday 17th September. During the Prime Minister’s speech, she recognised the innovative work of CORE Education Trust, highlighting in particular the Echo Eternal project.
Echo Eternal is a commemorative arts, media and civic engagement project inspired by the testimony of British survivors of the Holocaust. The testimony was captured by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation- UKHMF. The project is underpinned by CORE Education Trust’s track record in bringing together diverse communities in a collaborative context, in this case with a common focus of Holocaust memorial and genocide awareness. This focus is supported by the creation of collaborative civic alliances between schools with different social and cultural characteristics.
Each school involved in Echo Eternal, including CORE Education Trust’s six schools – Arena Academy, Central Academy, City Academy Birmingham, Jewellery Quarter Academy, Nansen Primary School, and Rockwood Academy – are gifted with British Holocaust survivors’ testimonies, captured by Natasha Kaplinsky for UKHMF. The students then work with a local artist to conceive and deliver an artistic expression, forming one of a series of Survivor ‘echoes.’ These echoes are captured on film and distributed online.
During her speech, the Prime Minister, highlighted CORE Education Trust’s work with Echo Eternal as an example of educational innovation and as a symbol of hope:
“I see it in innovative new projects like Echo Eternal in Birmingham where schools from every background are working with the CORE Education Trust and the Centre for Holocaust Education at University College London to create their own responses to the testimonies of survivors.
She went on to commend the media element of the project which she said “inspired children to make their own films to promote tolerance, empathy and hope.”
Three of the schools currently involved – Jewellery Quarter Academy, Nishkam High School, and Rockwood Academy – are UCL Beacon Schools. All of the schools involved are encouraged to secure accreditation as a Refugee Welcome School from the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).
The Echo Eternal project has provided a platform for the participating schools and their students to develop civic alliances. Partnering with the Jo Cox Foundation, the schools took part in “The Great Get Together” where students discussed ideas for community projects, explored ideas about what makes us different and what we all have in common. This inspired a commitment to a set of civic pledges which are currently being delivered through the alliances formed on the day.
As the project continues into 2019, the six CORE Education Trust schools will begin to explore a new set of survivor testimonies to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, whilst six new schools from across the West Midlands will join Echo Eternal to continue exploring the testimonies of Holocaust survivors.
In January 2019, CORE Education Trust will be hosting an Echo Eternal festival bringing together participating children and their families from across the whole of Birmingham. The festival will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the survivors and to highlight the civic pledges. For more information on Echo Eternal, visit the website www.echoeternal.org