Check out our latest opportunities for Jobs, Artist Commissions and Volunteering below.

  • Unlock Creative Industries Support Programme

    At Sunderland Culture, we are proud to be one of many cultural organizations, practitioners and businesses working in Sunderland and recognise the incredible impact that artists and creatives have on the city. We also know that support is needed to support the cultural sector to sustain and grow, and that the last few years have been a particularly difficult. We are committed to supporting artists and creative organisations in the city to thrive.

    As part of this work, Sunderland Culture is launching the Unlock Support Programme, an open call to independent creative practitioners, businesses and organisations based in Sunderland to apply for a range of support interventions to help develop your creative business or your creative practice.

    Unlock is funded by the UK Government through the Shared Prosperity Fund. It is a part of the Sunderland Innovate and Grow enterprise programme, led by University of Sunderland.

    There are three different types of support that you can apply for:

    (1) Unlock Creative Development Grant: a grant of £1000 to support the development of your creative business

    (2) Unlock Mentoring Programme: a programme which offers bespoke mentoring support to advance your creative practice or develop your creative business.

    (3) Unlock Backstage Programme: a specialist programme aimed at practitioners already working in the arts/entertainment sector who want to develop skills in lighting and sound for performance

    Each creative business can only receive support from one strand of the programme.

    Each strand is described in detail below, however to be eligible for any part of the programme you must fulfill all of the following eligibility criteria:

    • You must be at least 18 years of age.

    • You must have a home or business address registered in Sunderland. You can check whether your postcode is eligible here: https://gbr01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/GetUrlReputation

    • The fund applies to sole-traders, freelancers, CIC, LTDs, registered charities and other registered businesses. You or your business must be registered with HMRC at the point of application and have been trading for at least 12 months.

    • Creative industries are defined broadly as a business with creativity at its heart – for example design, music, publishing, architecture, film and video, crafts, visual arts, fashion, TV and radio, advertising, literature, computer games and the performing arts.

    • You must have a UK bank account in the exact name you are applying in

    • You must be able to demonstrate a professional track record of working as a creative business in the city

    • You must be able to evidence how the support would enable you to develop your creative business

    • You must be committed to completing relevant paperwork and meetings associated with the support

    • You must be able to complete grant activity by February 2025. The grant cannot support the costs of activity that has already taken place.

    We will work with you to support any access needs. Access costs can be applied for in addition to the support received.


    The Unlock Creative Development Grant will offer independent creative practitioners, businesses and organisations based in Sunderland a grant of £1000 to help develop their creative business or creative practice. We are particularly interested in applications which focus on:

    · Improving your business performance

    · Accessing a new market or income stream to support your business to be more sustainable.

    Examples of the type of activity your application could cover could include:

    • You may want to take time to attend a conference or event to build your businesses networks to access future work

    • You may want to access consultancy to open different income streams. An example of this could be a musician wanting to improve production skills to be able to offer this as a service in the future. The cost of training consultancy would be eligible.

    • You may want to access advice and support on developing your creative business or organisation (for example, fundraising, marketing, governance, or business planning consultancy)

    • You may help with the costs of equipment or technology to enable your creative enterprise to access new markets

    This is not an exhaustive list and we will consider any application which can demonstrate that this will help your enterprise to develop and build a more sustainable business.

    Please note that this grant is NOT paid upfront, and you will need to submit a copy of invoices paid and a copy of your bank statement to show funds have left the account before receiving payment. This can be paid in one payment or in instalments- this will be agreed with the Programme Manager in advance.

    This is a competitive programme and we anticipate receiving more applications than we are able to fund.


    The Unlock Mentoring Programme will offer 8 independent creative practitioners, businesses and organisations based in Sunderland the chance to apply for a bespoke mentoring package, worth £750.

    Examples of the type of activity your application could cover could include:

    • Working another creative practitioner to develop your practice and widen networks

    • Working with a business mentor to address a business challenge (i.e. governance/ fundraising/ income generation etc.)

    • Working with a mentor to develop leadership skills

    This is not an exhaustive list and we will consider any application which can demonstrate that this will help your enterprise to develop and build a more sustainable business. We anticipate the mentoring to take place over 6 months. Activity must be completed by February 2025.

    We are happy for applicants to identify a mentor themselves or we can help to “match” businesses with a suitable mentor.

    This is a competitive programme and we anticipate receiving more applications than we are able to fund.


    Unlock Backstage has been developed to support the personal career development of those already working in the arts/entertainment sector, specifically those keen to move into or develop further skills working in performance lighting and sound.

    The programme will cover theatre, dance, music, circus and outdoor performance and will offer a range of methods to enhance the participants overall development including:

    · Participation in training courses (where available)

    · Master classes

    · Mentoring

    · Visits to venues (local, regional, national) for backstage tours to experience different scales and levels of resources

    · Visits to performances across a range of different performance genres to experience lighting and sound designs by some of the top designers in the country

    · Introduction to venues and producers and signposting for employment opportunities


    To apply for any part of the Unlock Creative Development Programme, please complete this Expression of Interest form, online. If you are eligible, we will be in touch with a link to the full application form.

    You can access the questions on the online Expression of Interest form, here: https://forms.office.com/e/xf27VLr5Dt

    The questions from the full application form can be viewed here: APPLICATION GUIDELINES


    Applicants with access needs are encouraged to apply for additional budget to towards the higher costs that they might face in carrying out fellowship activities. These may include access to an interpreter, additional technology, additional travel costs etc.

    Please include any access costs in your budget, specifying the budget line as an access cost, for example: BSL Interpreter (access cost): £500.


    We will be holding in person and online briefing sessions for anyone who has questions about the Unlock Support Programme on the dates below:

    · Co-working and Unlock Support Programme Briefing at Seventeen Nineteen: Thursday 23 May, 11am-2pm (group briefing at 11.30am and 1.30pm)

    · Co-working and Unlock Support Programme Briefing at Pop Recs Ltd: Thursday 30 May, 11am-2pm (group briefing at 11.30am and 1.30pm)

    · Zoom Briefing Session: Tuesday 4th June, 6pm

    More information about information sessions can be found here: LINK TO WEBSITE

    To sign up for an information session, please complete this form: https://forms.office.com/e/8Dqhnm3Bk2

    If these dates are not accessible, please email [email protected] to arrange an alternate time for a meeting.


    The deadline for submitting the full application is Friday 14 June, 5pm

    If you are unable to access the online form, please contact [email protected] to arrange an alternative means of submission.


    We aim to contact applicants with a decision by Monday 8 July. This may be delayed depending on the volume of applications.


    If your application is successful, we will be in touch by email to confirm, which will include paperwork to be completed. We will need returned:

    · A signed and dated Registration Form

    · A signed and dated Offer Letter

    · Proof of your eligible address

    · Proof of enterprise registration

    · A completed Supplier Form

    When this is completed your business will be able to proceed with grant activities, as stated in your application.

    To receive payment, you will need to submit a copy of invoices paid and a copy of your bank statement to show funds have left the account. Before payment of the final installment, you will also be asked to complete an online Outcome Form. When we have this, we will pay your final invoice.


    We know that these opportunities are likely to be oversubscribed. We also know that these support interventions won’t be suitable or accessible to all creative practitioners. To keep up to date with further opportunities, we suggest:

    · Signing up for the Sunderland Culture Creative Opportunities Newsletter, which will come out monthly and will round up creative support in Sunderland and the region. You can sign up here: https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/newsletter-signup/ (choose Opportunities for Creatives)

    · Save the date for the next Sunderland Creatives Forum, which will be on 25 June 2024.




    Sunderland Culture was set up in 2016 to bring together the cultural programmes of Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust into a single, independent, delivery model.

    Sunderland Culture delivers the programme in National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and Arts Centre Washington, as well as cultural engagement and events in communities across the city. It works to ensure the power of great art, culture and creativity is harnessed for the benefit of Sunderland, its residents and visitors. Sunderland Culture is a registered charity and an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Its mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture.

    ABOUT SUNDERLAND INNOVATE AND GROW Sunderland Innovate and Grow is a partnership project between the University of Sunderland and Sunderland City Council and consists of four main strands with activites that support all steps of the innovation cycle through:

    · Identifying and promoting new technologies to stimulate innovation in process, product and business model via subject innovation specialists (Arrow);

    · Addressing gaps in business capacity and capability to innovate through active engagement and grant support, and student and graduate placements (Arrow and Innovation Placements);

    · Spotting innovative ideas and bringing them to market through engagement with commercial partners (Northern Accelerator);

    · Addressing innovation needs in the creative sector by engaging sector specialises, Sunderland Culture

    Sunderland Innovate and Grow is funded by the UK Government through the Shared Prosperity Fund. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit UK Shared Prosperity Fund: prospectus – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

  • Exhibition Manager - Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

    Sunderland City Council in partnership with Sunderland Culture Limited wish to appoint an experienced Exhibition Manager to lead and manage delivery of Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens Exhibition Programme.

    This is an exciting opportunity to join our creative team to secure ambitious and thought provoking programmes to spotlight and showcase the museum collection and delight our many visitors.  This is a pivotal role as we work towards undertaking a major redevelopment scheme for the museum.  The Exhibition Manager will work proactively with the wider team as these plans are developed, building and nurturing partnerships with some of the country’s leading national museums, alongside local and regional stakeholders to embed our reputation as a leading museum in the North East.

    You will be an exceptional team player, creative and highly experienced in planning and delivering projects and programmes that meet the highest of standards.   You will also be proficient in managing budgets and have experience caring for museum collections.  Candidates will also be required to work across a range of cultural venues and be able to write and submit funding bids to support delivery.

    For further information on this exciting opportunity, please contact Trina Murphy via email at [email protected]

    Deadline for application is Sunday 30 June 2024.

    To apply for this role please visit North East Jobs.

  • Work Experience at Sunderland Culture
    • Are you passionate about pursuing a career in the arts?
    • Do you believe in the power of arts and culture to transform lives?
    • Are you curious and committed to learn more?

    At Sunderland Culture, we are passionate about providing opportunities for young people with ambitions to pursue a career in the arts and cultural sector. Our new Creative Work Experience programme provides an innovative insight into the world of the arts and gives young people the opportunity to engage with professionals working directly in creative industries.

    Over four days, you will experience what it’s like to be in a creative and cultural workplace and learn about working in the creative sector as a freelance or employed professional. You will learn more about employability skills applicable to creative workplaces.


    Who we’re looking for:

    • We’re looking for four enthusiastic participants. Our selected young people will be- above all passionate, positive and looking to potentially develop a career in the creative industries.
    • You must be aged 15-18 to apply and you must live in Sunderland or attend a Sunderland school to join our 2024 Work Experience Programme.
    • Young people that can commit to being available for the full four-day programme on 15-18 July 2024.


    What will we offer?

    You will join us for a four-day placement where we will involve you fully in the work that we do. We’re a friendly bunch and we’ll do our very best to fully support you during your time with us!  We will schedule a full programme of activities that will enable you to develop your skills, build your confidence, and learn more about the variety of career opportunities available in the arts and cultural sector. We’re here to listen too – about your ideas, your insights and your aspirations for the future. Your voice matters to us. Throughout your placement we’ll be encouraging you to give your opinion to us freely and provide feedback to ensure you get the most out of your time with us and to help us develop our programme.

    Find out more about Work Experience at Sunderland Culture.

    To apply please complete our Work Experience Application Form by 31 March 2024 for April dates or by 14 June 2024 for July dates.

    Our work experience insight is unique and it’s always very popular. To mirror the real-life world of work, this opportunity is competitive and participants are shortlisted using the information provided on the application form. Shortlisted candidates are then invited to an informal, online interview/chat with a member of Sunderland Culture’s Learning team to find out more about you and to assess whether the opportunity is right for you.


    We run our Work Insight opportunity three times in the year; in April, July and October. Our October work experience is focussed on supporting  neurodivergent students and students with a disability. Please check our opportunities page for future dates.

  • Volunteering with Sunderland Culture

    We recognise the wealth of life experience, skills, ideas and knowledge that exists in our local communities, and the valuable contribution that volunteers can make to Sunderland Culture. Sunderland Culture is committed to providing meaningful, enjoyable and safe volunteer assignments of real value within clear and appropriate programmes of activities.  

    Applications to volunteer with Sunderland Culture are currently closed while we work through our waiting list. We regularly recruit new volunteers across our venues, so please check back regularly for updates.

    If you are aged 13-25, you can become part of Sunderland Culture’s Young Leadership group, Celebrate Different Collective. Get in touch with [email protected] to find out more.

    Read Sunderland Culture’s Volunteer Policy here.



  • Speak Up Artists Recruitment

    Over the next three years, we will be looking to connect with artists from a range of art forms to work alongside teachers and students in our Speak Up schools. We want to meet artists of all art forms from beatboxers, dancers, poets, illustrators, theatre makers, composers, singers, circus artists, designers and the list goes on! We are looking to expand our pool of artists working on this project.

    Speak Up is a secondary school programme with a difference. Young people, teachers and artists are equal partners, and work collaboratively with local arts organisations and the National Theatre to create artworks and creative work that respond to issues that are important to them.

    Developed for young people whose voices are not always heard, bespoke activity is co-created with each school and its students.

    We are looking for artists who:

    • Are North East based artists
    • Have Experience working with young people
    • Hold a current DBS and PLI
    • Are flexible and responsive while responding to a creative brief with deadlines
    • Thoughtful, reflective, and responsive to information/experiences shared by young people
    • Have knowledge, understanding and experience of co creation processes and methodology or do you think you have the skills to develop co-creation as part of your process?
    • Have availability during school hours
    • Are passionate about working with young people

    To register you interest please fill out the form linked here. Any questions please email [email protected].

    Speak Up in Sunderland is delivered by Sunderland Culture and Sunderland Empire’s Creative Learning Team. Find out more about Speak Up on the National Theatre website here.

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