On Tuesday 21st May 2019, Finham Park School delivered the first sharing from a Coventry school since the Echo Eternal project’s expansion into the city.
Commemorating the testimony of Holocaust Survivor Ruth David, gifted as part of Echo Eternal by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF), the sharing brought to life Ruth’s journey from her childhood in Fränkisch-Crumbach, Germany to her escape to England on the Kindertransport and discovering her parents were murdered by the Nazi regime.
Working with Coventry-based performance company Highly Sprung’s associate artist and teacher of contemporary dance and choreography Emily Robertson, students at Finham Park School brought Ruth David’s testimony and story to life via the medium of physical theatre. Using physical theatre to focus on expression and movement, the students embodied the testimony through their bodies and their faces, showing a mature understanding of the subject matter.
Following the sharing, the students took part in a Q&A session with audience members, presenting their thoughts and learning experiences with maturity and integrity.
The sharing was attended by fellow Finham Park School students and staff as well as friends and family. Also in attendance were colleagues from Echo Eternal project leaders CORE Education Trust as well as Network schools Arena Academy, Central Academy, Rockwood Academy and Stoke Park School.
Finham Park School student and Echo Eternal participant Iga Jasinska said:
“Being given the opportunity to participate in the Echo Eternal project was an experience I would go as far as to say was life changing. It completely changed my general opinion on the outcome of the second world war and proved to me that not all of the outcomes were negative. The Echo Eternal goal they are working towards have the potential to alter education and our way of thinking. I am very thankful to have been given such an opportunity and would give anything in order to repeat the experience and get as much as possible out of the project. Overall I think it was a way of learning that I think was necessary and very useful in order to discover the full extent of not only suffering but the amazing things we can achieve when we come together.”
Duncan Radford, subject leader for Art and Echo Eternal lead teacher at Finham Park School said:
“The Echo Eternal project has given our students deep learning experiences beyond the classroom. As a group we are starting to understand how to approach concerns and issues related to the most difficult subject matter. This project is giving the platform to educate and train ourselves in ways that can help us to unpack the Holocaust for our students. The UCL lesson resources and the provision of training have been excellent. Sharing video footage and edited transcripts of Ruth David’s testimony has naturally connected the student group with the project. Accessing UCL lesson resources and case studies has given depth and broader contexts to the material I am able to present.
CORE Education and our artistic production team have been instrumental in structuring the program of events we are now developing. Communications between CORE and myself have been constant and necessary. Our artist in residence Emily Robertson has brought her expertise in physical theatre and choreography to the workshops and she has delivered an experience for the students that helps to address and interpret key elements of the testimony. When students are able to communicate their understanding through many forms of expression they engage with all senses. Ruth David’s words have inspired all who are part of the Echo Eternal project at Finham Park School.”