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Art Installation Explores the Fragility of Freedom

Press Release: 26/01/2024

HMD unveiling Thomas Ashton SchoolArt Installation Explores the Fragility of Freedom

FREEDOM in all its forms is at the heart of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Tameside – its fragility, what it means to us, how much we value it, and what it might be like to lose it.

Once again, the council’s cultural services team has worked with the borough’s six special educational needs and special educational needs and disabilities (SEN/SEND) schools to mark the annual event by creating an art installation.

The project comprised two parts: Thomas Ashton School, Hyde, pupils created a large sculpture of two shackled hands, holding and surrounded by hundreds of zines (leaflets), filled with art, collage and reflections about the things the students enjoy most and which they can access because they are free.

In the second part, groups worked with performer Adam Blake to compile a series of short stories based around themes of their characters being free, wishing to be free, and losing or gaining freedom, expressing them through live performance and storytelling.

These key themes have been woven together through the traditions of fairytales, folklore and nursery rhymes.

With Adam’s help, each school has created a unique story that illustrates what freedom means to the authors. Additionally, each participating pupil will receive an Arts Award DISCOVER from Trinity College, London.

Work began at the start of the year and will continue until the installation is unveiled at Thomas Ashton School on Friday, January 26.

Later, it will tour all the participating schools before eventually returning to Thomas Ashton which will be its permanent home.

Cllr Sangita Patel, Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for heritage, culture and digital inclusivity, said: “The liberty we all enjoy in Britain is much too easily taken for granted.

“I was happy to lend my support to this project which challenged young people to express their thoughts about freedom in all its forms and the need to value and cherish it.

“Even though the Holocaust took place in the 1930s and 1940s it is only right that we continue to make people aware of it. It was humanity’s darkest time and its size remains difficult to comprehend 80 years later.”

All the stories have been published on the InTameside website – – the various school websites and on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust site.

The participating schools are: Samuel Laycock and Safe Start, Ashton; Hawthorns, Audenshaw; Cromwell and Oakdale, Dukinfield, and Thomas Ashton, Hyde.

Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) commemorates the more than six million people – the overwhelming majority of which were Jewish – who were systematically killed by the Nazis as part of Hitler’s Final Solution extermination campaign.

The process began in the 1930s with a gradual erosion of the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Jews in Germany. During the Second World War it was extended across occupied Europe.

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