This questionnaire was followed and completed by a symposium which took place in France from 6 to 12 December 2015. The objective of the symposium was to establish, through a dialogue between France and New Zealand, a document which defines the general terms of reference, in regards to aesthetics, design and remembrance purpose, and which sets out the general specifications for the memorial. This document is intended to guide the artists, designers and architects wishing to enter the public competition organised in New Zealand in the first half of 2016.
This symposium gathered together six prominent New Zealanders who spent a full week interacting with French organisations and specialists involved in the WW1 commemorations, including museums’ curators, historians, elected officials, veterans’ associations and more.
Three French participants - photographer Jean Richardot, visual artist Patrice Alexandre and historian Yves Le Maner - joined the New Zealand delegates to discuss how French and New Zealanders look together at this part of our shared history. The group was invited to visit some of the most significant places of remembrance for France, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries on the Western Front. Beyond the unmissable Carrière Wellington, Longueval and the Caterpillar Valley, the visit also took the delegates to the Invalides Army Musem, the Museum of the Great War in Meaux, the Verdun memorial, and the World Centre for Peace, Liberties and Human Rights, among others.
The brief produced on the conclusion of the symposium focuses on the “big ideas” that the memorial should represent, leaving plenty of creative flexibility to the architects and designers to best represent them.