Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021
2020 has been a challenging year for us all. The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted how we all live our day-to-day lives and sadly meant the loss of many.
The work of the HSFA has had to change and adjust this year. Our survivor speakers and volunteers have been shielding, and work to support them has been dramatically adapted to keep them safe. Whilst in lockdown we have all taken the opportunity to learn new skills to keep busy, as well as taking the time to indulge in the things we most enjoy. The Centre staff have done a lot of work (including learning new skills) to reach existing and new audiences online, with the Centre being largely closed to the public this year. We have launched a brand new series of online events which will continue into 2021, with guest speakers reaching audiences across the globe. Working from home has been a new experience for all our staff, but we have risen to the challenge and become experts on Zoom.
As for us all, 2020 has seen change for the HSFA, and this Autumn the Centre has undergone some changes within our management. We sadly lost our wonderful Chair, Lilian Black OBE, in October. Lilian devoted her life to Holocaust education and sharing the stories of Holocaust survivors, including her father Eugene. Our Board appointed Ben Barkow as Chair in October. Ben is an accomplished writer and former director of the Wiener Holocaust Library in London (1998 to 2019) and brings with him considerable management expertise. Ben’s appointment was also supported by our new interim Co-Directors, Dr Chelsea Sambells and Dr Alessandro Bucci following Centre Director Emma King leaving in the summer. Dr Chelsea Sambells is a Research Fellow in History at the University of Huddersfield with expertise in the Second World War, the Holocaust and children. Dr Alessandro Bucci, an art historian, is the Centre’s current Learning and Audience Development Manager, and will continue to develop the Centre’s education programme and exhibitions with various new audiences and partnerships.
Despite the future still looking uncertain we are looking forward to an exciting new year at the Centre. We hope to reopen the Exhibition to the public as soon as it is safe to do so, and we are looking forward to our school visits resuming. We are hoping to both welcome schools to the Exhibition physically but also digitally as we take our Learning Programme online. Our successful online events programme will also continue and we have lots of exciting speakers coming up, starting with Leisel Carter and Nurin Mushahar in the latest of our In Conversation… survivor talk series. Our partnership work is continuing with the Imperial War Museum and we are recruiting for a Digital Intern to join the team in the new year.