Young people in Sunderland plan own event celebrating difference

A group of young people in Sunderland have been given the chance to plan, curate and deliver their own event at Arts Centre Washington.

Recruited by Sunderland Culture earlier this year as young ambassadors to help shape the cultural future of the area, the event will be the first significant project for the team, who are all aged between 13 and 25.

Taking place on Friday 1 November (6.30pm-9pm), Celebrate Different is a FREE  event exploring themes impacting many young people today, including body positivity, identity, gender, race, and culture through specially commissioned artworks made by professional artists.

Taking over the entire Centre, the event is aimed at young people and will be full of things to experience, do and see, including performances, music and visual art. 

Over the summer, Sunderland Culture’s Young Ambassadors have been working with North East arts organisation, Helix Arts, through its Make it Happen programme to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to plan, fund and co-produce events, exhibitions, festivals and projects in their own communities.

Cheryl Gavin, Senior Project Manager at Helix Arts, said:

 “Our Make it Happen programme is about giving people the skills to deliver ambitious and exciting arts events where they live.

“The Sunderland Young Cultural Ambassadors are a creative and talented group, who are keen to explore issues that affect many young people by working with artists and performers.

“Through Make it Happen, we were able to equip them with everything they need to deliver their own arts event; everything from looking after budgets, fundraising, commissioning to appointing artists and event planning.”

Rebecca Ball, Creative Director, Sunderland Culture, said:

“It’s hugely important to empower young people in Sunderland and to give them a voice on what kind of events or culture they want to see and experience in their area.

“The team have been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks and we encourage everyone to come along to Arts Centre Washington on the 1 November to join the celebration!” 

Julia, aged 14 from High Barnes, a Sunderland Culture Young Ambassador Team member, said:

“These projects are great for young people, as it gives them a set of life skills that are so, so important if you want to go into the Arts. By young people getting involved in this sort of thing, it’s helping to give us a really powerful voice and way of a way of expressing our ideas.

“It’s not every day that a group of young people run and organise an event of this scale, so we’d love everyone to come along, celebrate with us, and have a good time!”

The event has been made possible thanks to funding from Culture Bridge North East and Hays Travel.

Tickets for the event are free but can be pre-booked from www.sunderlandculture.org.uk/celebrate-different or by calling Arts Centre Washington’s box office on 0191 561 3455.

WORK STARTS ON CITY’S NEW £11m VENUE

CURTAIN UP at Sunderland’s new £11m venue for music, dance, theatre and comedy is a step closer after work began on its city centre site.

The auditorium is being built adjacent to the newly-restored and repurposed Fire Station on the corner of Garden Place and Dun Cow Street and will be the centrepiece of the city’s Music Arts and Cultural Quarter.

The £7m Fire Station project was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year and the new auditorium will be open in the spring of 2021.

The Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust is behind the development and secured a £6.25m award from Arts Council England‘s Capital: Large Grants  programme, funded by the National lottery.

The Arts Council’s capital programme supports organisations to develop resilience and to become more sustainable businesses and the grant will help to make the vision of a new, mid-scale venue for
the city a reality.

Together the new auditorium and the renovated Fire Station will provide an integrated centre for the performing arts that will sit next to, and very much complement, the hugely successful Sunderland Empire. While on a smaller scale than the Empire, it will present an exciting programme of music, dance, drama and comedy.

Sunderland construction company Brims has been chosen to build the new venue and has already started on the development. Recent Brims projects include the Tombola HQ building on the Sunderland Riverside and the refurbishment of Gilbridge House on Keel Square as headquarters for Hays Travel.

The new auditorium will have retractable seating for 450 and will be able to host 800 people standing. The glazed foyer at the front of the new building will be clad in terracotta, matching the colour and tone of the red-brick fire station.

The award-winning architect behind the design of the auditorium is Jason Flanagan, who was project director for the iconic Sage building in Gateshead. His other designs include the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and LiveWorks in Newcastle.

Following completion of the auditorium, the MAC Trust will pass programming, operation and management of the auditorium to Sunderland Culture, of which MAC Trust was a founding partner.

Paul Callaghan CBE, Chair of the MAC Trust, said:

“We’re delighted that work on the auditorium has started and are excited by the transformational effect we’re sure it will have on the city’s arts and culture sector. It will be a game-changer in terms of
the cultural offer the city will be able to deliver.

“We’re extremely grateful to Arts Council England for their generous capital grant, and I would also like to thank Sunderland Council who have offered tremendous support during the development stage for this superb new cultural asset for the city.”

Rebecca Ball, Creative Director of Sunderland Culture, added:

“The auditorium will be a landmark venue of which the city can be proud, presenting local, regional,
national and international artists to local audiences and giving new and emerging artistic talent a platform on which to shine. We’re sure it will attract new audiences into the city – from across the region and beyond.”

Sunderland musician, Ross Millard, of the Futureheads and Frankie and the Heartstrings, and a MAC Trustee, was delighted by the news:

“The music scene has always been really healthy in this city and a brand new venue of this size will be a great way to support our local musicians and performers. It will also allow Sunderland to regularly attract top touring musicians, too, which is a massive boost.”

Nicholas Baumfield, Senior Relationship Manager at Arts Council England, added:

“We are delighted to be supporting Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust with National Lottery investment from our capital programme, which helps organisations build dynamic spaces for great work and develop their sustainability. The new cultural quarter will firmly establish Sunderland’s identity in the North and we are very excited about the creative opportunities that it will bring for artists and
audiences. Along with the Fire Station, the new auditorium will attract more people to the city and will raise the profile of Sunderland’s contribution to arts and culture in the UK.”

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. Arts Council supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Between 2015 and 2018, Arts Council plans to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700
million from the National Lottery to help create experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Councillor John Kelly, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support this latest stage of the development, bringing the City Council’s total grant funding in the project to £690,000. The auditorium will be a very welcome addition to the city’s cultural offer, complementing Sunderland Empire and the adjacent Fire Station. It is one of a number of significant projects in this part of the city which started with the council’s
development of Keel Square, which are part of a wider £1.5bn programme of investment underway in Sunderland and include £0.5bn billion for the city centre.”

The new auditorium is the third phase of the MAC Trust’s transformation of the area. The first phase was the award-winning renovation of the historic Dun Cow and Peacock pubs, and the second stage was the transformation of the old Fire Station into a restaurant, heritage centre and dance and drama studios.

SUNDERLAND CULTURE ANNOUNCES FIRST CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT FELLOWSHIPS

Sunderland Culture have announced the recipients of their inaugural Sunderland Creative Development Fellowships. 

Launched in June 2019, the Sunderland Creative Development Fellowships aim to support artistic development within Sunderland and over sixty applications were submitted from creative practitioners from across the borough.

Fourteen Fellowships were awarded in total, including eight to graduates from the University of Sunderland.

Recipients range from a broad selection of creative disciplines and also represent practitioners at varying stages of their careers – from emerging to established. These include writing (Iain Rowan, Alan Parkinson), performance (Rosie Vleugels), music (Rhys Patterson), curatorship (Rory Williams), photography (Jo Howell), illustration and design (Kathryn Robertson), glass art (Jeffery Sarmiento, Rachel Welford, Anna Selway), visual art ( Susan Loughlin, Rachel Groves), participatory art (Steph Robson), and Sunderland Maritime Heritage.

The Creative Development Fellowships will enable each individual to develop their creative practice in a range of diverse ways – from funding practical tools and equipment, mentorship, business support and courses, to completing a music album or exhibiting work around the country. 

Laura Brewis, Producer for Artist Development and Creative Economy at Sunderland Culture, said:

 

“Many funding applications ask applicants to do a “project”, but we wanted to launch a programme that offered support to creative practitioners and organisations in Sunderland to develop themselves and think about what might make them more resilient as practitioners or move them to the next stage of their career.”

“We were thrilled by the amount of fantastic applications, particularly the number of graduates from the University of Sunderland who have been successful and are choosing to stay and work in the city. We hope that programmes such as the Sunderland Creative Development Bursary will make the cultural and heritage sectors in the city stronger and more sustainable.”

Rachel Welford, who specialises in making glass artworks for architectural settings and is in the final stage of a PhD at the University of Sunderland, said:

“Although the creative aspects of my art are going well, the business and financial side of what I do needs improving! So I’ll be using the Creative Development Bursary for mentoring and business support to improve profitability and growth.”

Many of the Fellowship recipients intend to use this opportunity to develop their practice to share with the community. These include Susan Loughlin, who aims to design and test a model for a range of participatory art opportunities for local people, and aerial circus artist Rosie Vleugals who will be attending a professional course and purchasing safety equipment to use for performing, teaching and training.

Rosie said:

I have been training in aerial circus arts for the past six years. Once I started, it quickly became a passion, a painful one but a passion nonetheless! This help from Sunderland Culture will assist me in taking the next step – bringing new skills home to the North East to help other aerialists and budding performers.”

Over the next year, Sunderland Culture will also be offering a range of internships at Sunderland Culture itself and at other partnering organisations in order to create pathways into the creative industries.

The internships span a range of different areas, offering a wide variety of career experience opportunities.

Three graduates of Sunderland University are currently undertaking internships across different creative industries: Eddie Scott as Marketing and Social Media intern with Sunderland Music, Michael Davidson as Programme and Exhibitions intern at NEPN, and  Eve Campbell and Jenny McNamara are undertaking a joint Curatorial Internship at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

For more internship opportunities, available throughout the year, visit Sunderland Culture’s opportunity page at sunderlandculture.org.uk

The Sunderland Creative Development Fellowships are supported through the Unlock strand of Sunderland Culture’s Great Place programme, supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund, and funded by Coastal Communities Fund, a partnership with Sunderland City Council.

Rebel Women celebrated as part of England’s largest festival of History and Culture

As part of Heritage Open Days’ 25th birthday, Sunderland Culture will be celebrating the lives of Rebel Women of Sunderland with specially commissioned artworks and stories.

Inspired by the popular children’s book Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls which has shone a light on the achievements of women around the world, nominations for Rebel Women of Sunderland were crowd-sourced through social media with over 100 nominations of inspirational women of the city. 

Ten women were selected from past and present to represent the diversity of the achievements of the women of Sunderland. 

Two creatives from Sunderland were commissioned to collaborate on the project and tell the stories of the women: illustrator  Kathryn Robertson, a recent graduate of University of Sunderland, and writer Jessica Andrews, whose debut novel Saltwater was published by Sceptre in June this year. 

The Rebel Women of Sunderland selected are:

  • Dr Marion Philips, first female MP in Sunderland 
  • Margaret Dryburgh, teacher and missionary
  • Ida and Lousie Cook, activists who smuggled Jews out of Nazi Germany
  • Elizabeth Donnison, founder of the Donnison School
  • Hope Winch, first head of the University’s pharmacy department 
  • Kenickie (Lauren Laverne, Marie Nixon and Emma Jackson), one of the most famous female-led bands to come from Sunderland 
  • Steph Houghton and Jill Scott, England footballers
  • Abbie Robinson, Team GB paraclimber
  • Kate Adie, journalist and broadcaster
  • Emeli Sande, musician and University of Sunderland Chancellor

Laura Brewis, Creative Producer at Sunderland Culture said:

“The theme of Heritage Open Day is ‘People Power’ and we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women from the city from a historical perspective, but also in the present. Many of these stories are unknown and we were very keen to highlight them. 

“We were thrilled to get so many nominations and we know that this is just the start of the Rebel Women of Sunderland project – we hope to tell more stories in the future and encourage people to keep nominating!

“That we were able to do this by commissioning young female creatives from the city is also really important, as we hope that hearing these stories will inspire the next generation of Rebel Women in the city!”

The first chance to see the Rebel Women of Sunderland illustrations and stories will be at Sunderland Culture’s Mini Manifesto family event Saturday 14 September (11am-3pm) at Pop Recs Ltd on 170 High Street West.

Part of Heritage Open Days, the family event invites children to have a go at badge and placard-making whilst nominating their own inspirational women. There will also be an opportunity to hear the stories of Rebel Women of Sunderland, written by Jessica Andrews, read by a storyteller from Theatre Space North East. 

Following the event on 14 September, the project will remain at Pop Recs for the duration 

This project is produced as part of Sunderland Culture’s Great Place programme, funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund, and in partnership with Sunderland’s Heritage Action Zone and Open Heritage.

Hundreds of Durham primary school pupils work with glass to achieve national art accreditation  

 

Students from a primary school in County Durham have successfully completed a year-long arts project in collaboration with National Glass Centre, earning 280 pupils their Arts Award Discover.

Since 2018, every pupil at Catchgate Primary School has been taking part in National Glass Centre’s Around the World project, with each of them creating an artwork inspired by worldwide cultures.

Using traditional art and design styles from eight different countries for inspiration, older pupils designed and made their own fused panels, which were on display at the National Glass Centre this summer.

Working alongside artist Zoe Garner, the students have learned about glass fusing techniques, and have captured the culture of the countries through imaginative use of pattern and colour while making references to geographical points of interest.

Younger pupils took part in glass painting workshops creating artwork inspired by international literature, which are on display at the school for parents to go and see.

Participation in the project has earned nearly every pupil at the school their Arts Award Discover – the first of five levels of a nationally accredited qualification in art.

Around the World was coordinated by Year 6 teacher Christine Falconer, and Rachel Groves, Learning Officer at National Glass Centre who said:

“It’s been an absolute delight working with all the fantastic pupils at Catchgate Primary School. They’ve created some wonderful pieces of glass work over the past year and we encourage everyone to come along to enjoy them at National Glass Centre over the next few months!”

Joanne Shaw, Head Teacher at Catchgate Primary School, said:

“The idea behind the Around the World project was to broaden the children’s horizons and understanding of other cultures as it can be quite insular where our children live. It’s important to show students that not all learning has to be academic, and to explore multiple cultures in an engaging and stimulating way.

“We already work with Sunderland University and National Glass Centre and this project seemed like the perfect way to continue that relationship. We are really proud of all of our students and the exhibition they have produced, and we’re also excited to have something that we can take back to the school and put on display for parents and families to come and enjoy.”

Maureen Nair, Chair of Governors at Catchgate Primary School, added:

“This project has also given the children the ability to see how many different careers are available in the arts, especially in glass, which they might not otherwise have been aware of. Many thanks to National Glass Centre and congratulations to the school for providing this opportunity.”

National Glass Centre and Sunderland Culture are committed to providing arts education to ensure young people push themselves and really engage with the arts. National Glass Centre can support all levels of Arts Award, working in collaboration to develop and deliver a project that is relevant and inspiring. For more information: https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/education/arts-award/

For more information on the Around the World project visit: https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/events/around-the-world/

SUNDERLAND ON THE HUNT FOR YOUNG CULTURAL AMBASSADORS

Young people across Sunderland are being given the exciting opportunity to co-produce and run their own events thanks to the launch of Sunderland Culture’s brand-new Young Ambassador Team project.

The project will give young people, ages 13-25, the chance to attend and organise cultural events, work with artists, and learn a host of new practical skills.

Applicants are welcome from all backgrounds, circumstances and levels of experience, and will work alongside Sunderland Culture to represent and champion young people’s voices in Sunderland.

Rebecca Ball, Creative Director of Sunderland Culture, said:

“Our new Young Ambassador project will empower young people in Sunderland by putting them at the heart of cultural programming in the city.

“We saw how powerful this was during the Sunderland City of Culture Bid with the inspiring contribution of young people through Team 21 Youth Group.

“Following on from that success, we were keen to develop this new opportunity for young people in Sunderland to be part of a creative project that enables them to gain new skills and have their say on what they want to see and do in the city!”

For the Young Ambassador Team’s first big project, Sunderland Culture have teamed up with Helix Arts to curate and organise a creative takeover event at Arts Centre Washington on 1 November 2019.

As part of the project, the young people will have access to Helix Art’s Make It Happen scheme which will equip and train the team with the skills to design, manage and deliver their own even including fundraising and budget handling.

Sessions will start over the summer, with events taking place every Wednesday at Arts Centre Washington from 4.30 – 6.30pm.

To find out more information about the project, Sunderland Culture are holding an open day on 29 June, 10.30am – 12.30pm, at Arts Centre Washington.

This project has been developed thanks to the support of Hays Travel Foundation and Culture Bridge North East Partnership Investment Fund.

Young people interested in signing up or to find out more information, please contact [email protected]sunderlandculture.org.uk