Echo Eternal is a commemorative arts, media and civic engagement project delivered in schools for children of all ages, inspired by the testimony of British survivors of the Holocaust and survivors of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The project brings together diverse communities in a collaborative context, using a common focus of Holocaust memorial and genocide awareness. This focus is supported by the creation of civic alliances between schools with different social and cultural characteristics.
Echo Eternal was launched on Holocaust Memorial Day 2018. In its first year the project was delivered in 12 schools in Birmingham. In subsequent years the project has broadened its reach to other regions and has engaged with hundreds of pupils and their respective local communities.
Schools work with an artist in residence to use survivor testimony to explore themes of the Holocaust or genocide in the context of its impact on individuals. Each school creates its own artistic response which is conceived and delivered by pupils. This 'echo' of the testimony pays tribute to the survivor and is shared with the school community.
Every January, participating schools come together to collectively showcase their film echoes and to exhibit artwork inspired by their survivor testimony.
Each of the Echo Eternal participating schools benefits from a series of training events led by the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education. Each school is further supported by CORE Education Trust to develop counter prejudice narratives in response to survivor testimony and to develop pupils’ critical thinking. Schools access information and guidance from the Aegis Trust and Ishami Foundation when considering genocide survivor testimony.
Each school is encouraged to consider applying to become a UCL Beacon School and to secure accreditation as a Refugee Welcome School from the NASUWT.
Each participating school works with a film maker to produce a permanent record of their artistic responses and to capture their civic pledges. This involves making a three minute film beginning and ending with the words of the survivor. The schools use social media to share their project experiences with other participating schools and stakeholders.
During their artistic residency, each school contemplates a range of civic pledges, with the goal of impacting positive societal change. These pledges are inspired by the testimony from the survivors. Each school forms a civic alliance with one of the other Echo Eternal schools, inspired by the Great Get Together event in memory of Jo Cox. This element of the project focuses more on countering prejudice and hate crime.