A writer and a translator are needed for a poignant arts project at a holocaust museum in Huddersfield.

Holocaust Centre North is based at the University of Huddersfield and a project called Memorial Gestures was set up in 2022 to give leading and emerging artists the opportunity to create new artwork inspired by its archives and in response to its themes and collections around Holocaust remembrance and history.

It now needs a writer and a translator to join its four current artists as part of this unique project by creatively responding to and translating the centre’s memories, artefacts and accounts which cover themes of discrimination, displacement, trauma, migration, loss, memory and hope.

Holocaust Centre North tells the global story of the Holocaust through over 120 local stories and materials from survivors who subsequently created new lives in the north of England.

Holocaust Centre North director Alessandro Bucci said: “Holocaust Centre North is a museum focused on telling the stories of survivors. These are stories of forced displacement, migration, persecution and loss, but they are also the stories of those who rebuilt their lives in a new country, in new contexts and using a new language.

“Our archives contain a substantial number of poems, stories, memoirs, letters and other textual artefacts from the personal collections of survivors and their families – much of it not written in English and almost none of it published in any form.

“By inviting writers and translators to engage creatively with these historic and significant documents, our residencies will offer creative practitioners a rare opportunity to explore the way survivors told their stories and reflected on their experiences through the written word.”

The writer-in-residence can work in any form such as poetry, prose or drama while the translator-in-residence needs to work across any two or more languages with a preference for languages represented in its archives such as French, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Lithuanian, Yiddish, Italian, German, Ukrainian and other languages of particular relevance to the European history of the Holocaust.

The translator may also work in Urdu, Panjabi, Gujarati, or Arabic, community languages with a significant number of speakers in the north of England.

The translator-in-residence is dedicated to the memory of Ernest Hecht, British publisher, producer and philanthropist, described by The Bookseller as ‘one of a number of émigrés who changed the face of British publishing after the Second World War.’ Born in 1929 in Czechoslovakia, Ernest Hecht arrived in Britain as a Kindertransport child in 1939.

Both the writer-in-residence and the Ernest Hecht translator-in-residence are open to established and emerging writers and translators based in the UK.

The residencies will be primarily remote but will also offer the writer and translator the chance to spend time in the Holocaust Centre North archive, accessing original material relating to the lives of survivors before and after their experience of persecution.

The residents will have time to consider themes reflected in the archive, including intergenerational trauma, forced migration, persecution, loss, memory and building a new life in a new country.

The writer-in-residence will be supported to produce a new literary work engaging with material and themes in the museum. The translator will be encouraged to produce work reflecting on the experience of living across multiple languages in the context of traumatic histories.

Memorial Gestures 2024 is already currently working with artists Maud Haya-Baviera, Irina Razumovskaya, Ariane Schick and Matt Smith who work in a variety of different mediums including ceramics, video, installations, writing and sound. They will each create a new piece of artwork based on the centre’s archive collections.

The new writer and translator residencies will run in tandem with these artists for the next six months, culminating in a final presentation and exhibition of all the new individual work created by all six residency holders at Holocaust Centre North in September.

To apply, submit an expression of interest (no more than two sides of A4), a writing sample (of up to 1,500 words), a CV, and details of a reference to memorial.gestures@hud.ac.uk by 5pm on Friday, March 29. More details of the residency are on the Holocaust Centre North website https://hcn.org.uk