6 Million Buttons

from: http://www.6millionplus.org/

“In 2005, Kirklees Council initiated a project to collect over 6 million buttons to illustrate the industrial scale of the Holocaust and other genocides.

The public collection began in West Yorkshire, but word soon spread and many of the buttons were collected regionally, nationally and even internationally. Leeds based artist Antonia Stowe was commissioned to design the installation for Huddersfield Art Gallery. 6 million+ had a huge impact on visitors and toured nationally for the next five years to places including Ripon Cathedral and Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London.

The project has involved thousands of young people, community groups and individuals in the process of collecting buttons and thinking about genocide and discrimination. The installation included a film featuring conversations between Holocaust survivors and asylum seekers and poetry written in response to their experiences.

6 million+ has been perceived as:

  • a stunning artwork
  • a memorial to those who died in the Holocaust and more recent genocides
  • a stimulus for discussion about identity and difference
  • an educational tool for students of history, citizenship, art and RE
  • a context in which to think, reflect and make promises to take positive action

The Education Programme

The memorial sculpture will be the focal point for three years of educational activities and community events on the university campus and further afield, the start of what we plan to be a continuing programme, drawing on the expertise our team has gained over the past nine years. School and college groups will have access to archive material and engage in a series of visits and creative arts projects exploring their feelings about the Holocaust and other genocides, encouraging positive action to address prejudice and discrimination.

A programme co-ordinator will initiate a series of indoor and outdoor events related to the sculpture. The site will be available for remembrance, memorial and celebratory events, organised in collaboration with the University, Kirklees Council, and local and regional cultural groups.”

Hudds-2011

Children-with-white-bttns-Ripon1-1024x681

The above photo is only a temporary exhibit of the buttons, representing just one placement of their journey around the North as part of the 6 Million Buttons project. The participatory workshops programmed to accompany the 6 Millions Buttons Project, including these temporary displays of the buttons are the really successful part of the project. There is a permanent public sculpture to be commissioned by artist Antonia Stowe outside the main entrance to The University of Huddersfield. The design for this has emerged from workshops and consultation with the local community of Kirklees.

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