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Who Holds The Torch?

On Monday 25, Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 January at 12.30pm listeners were invited to tune in to Who Holds the Torch? three days of live 30 minute radio broadcasts shared via Newcastle based Skimstone Arts’ internet Skimstone Radio to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2021.

This was a chance for people to join presenters Kema Sikazwe and Claire Webster Saaremets and hear specially created songs and stories made with Skimstone musicians, Newcastle residents, refugee families, young people and artists from around the world which celebrated being a light in the darkness, the theme for this year’s memorial day as chosen by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

As Claire Webster Saaremets, Artistic Director of Skimstone Arts explains:

“In these continuing challenging times, our radio broadcasts share hope, resilience, humour and humanness that celebrate the amazing inspiration we can get from each other’s positive actions, especially in times of hardship.

“We have an amazing breadth of work to broadcast. Listeners can hear an original song about our Bosnian friend Smajo Beso’s Auntie who kept everyone going during the conflict until she was tragically killed, spoken word pieces inspired by Professor of German Studies & Cultural History at Newcastle University Professor Beate Muller’s research about people opening their doors to strangers, putting themselves and their families at risk as well as thoughts and interviews about being a ‘torch bearer’ and what we can all do to shed some light in the world now. Our own Young Artist Collective, Echo Artists and our professional band of musicians have all worked together to respond to these amazing stories by making original songs and audio works. You might even find yourself singing one when making a cup of tea!”

The Who Holds the Torch? radio shows can be listened to as podcasts here.

Who Holds the Torch? Feedback

"Working with other artists always inspires new ideas for myself. I made choices I wouldn't have thought about or made if I was working alone. This allowed me to explore different styles and different ways of approaching tasks creatively.Associate Artist

"I can't stop writing, I'm a 50-year-old woman who's finding a voice. I can’t stop." Participant

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. For more information about Holocaust Memorial Day visit Find out about Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 events in Newcastle upon Tyne visit

Who Holds the Torch? was presented by Skimstone Arts working with communities across Newcastle and funded by Newcastle City Council. Special thanks to Professor Beate Muller, Professor of German Studies & Cultural History at Newcastle University, for her research which inspired some of the songs featured in Who Holds the Torch? Smajo Beso, Bosnian survivor and Marta Josephs, daughter of Auschwitz survivor.

Skimstone Arts is supported using public funding from Newcastle City Council, Arts Council England, Youth Music, Well Newcastle Gateshead, Quaker Legacy Fund, Big Lottery Community Fund, Community Foundation Tyne and Wear.

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