What’s on for schools at Sunderland Culture

Welcome to the May issue of our schools newsletter where we share a round-up of our latest news, tools and teacher resources, as well as upcoming workshops and events across our venues.

It’s been a busy few months here at Sunderland Culture! Just some of the highlights include the launch of our brand new work experience programme, our Glass is Class Primary CPD, and celebrating the talent and creativity of local young people at the Bright Lights festival.

And we’ve got even more lined up! From art, culture and local history workshops, FREE teacher resources and assemblies, to inspiring and magical shows – check out just some of the things we’ve got coming up for schools over the coming months below. 

We hope you find it useful.

All the best,

the Sunderland Culture team

National Glass Centre

Architecture: Building and Materials – full day workshop

We’ve had a busy last few months with lots of schools coming to visit the National Glass Centre!

In April, we welcomed Usworth Colliery Primary for one of our architecture workshops and the children had a great time exploring stained-glass and the materials and structures of buildings – using local buildings as inspiration.

For £8 per pupil, come and join us as we learn more about the beauty and the skill of glass and architecture!

Or, visit our website linked here to learn about other available workshops.

Discover more

Sensory backpacks

National Glass Centre launched their new Sensory Backpacks in March, in support of #WorldAutismAcceptanceWeek. The backpacks provide visitors with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) an alternative way to access and enjoy the Centre. 

Simply pick up a backpack at the Visitor Service desk and select what resources you would like so they can explore the venue in their own way. 

After hearing about the backpacks, Jax, and his mam Sarah, came straight from school in Newbottle on the day they launched to be the first to try them out.

Here’s a very happy Jax (who said he wants to be famous after this is shared!)

Sarah said:

‘He has loved the experience and wants to come back straight away! Thanks for making him feel so welcome.’

Learn more about inclusive creative practice, SEND arts practitioners/organisations and how Sunderland Culture can support your work with pupils with disabilities and additional needs.

Find out more

Join our Nursery Exchange!

FREE opportunity for Sunderland schools & nurseries 
*July spaces available*

Each term, we’re hosting a local nursery/school group (every Monday afternoon) here in our Learning Space.

Our staff pre-prepare arts resources, activities and trails on themes of your choice so that your pupils can take their learning out of the classroom and into the glassroom.

For more info, please complete our booking form.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

Sculpture Safari

Art & Local Study workshop/ KS1, KS2/ 60 mins/ £50 for a class of up to 35 pupils. Half price for groups of 15 or less

Local legends, lion’s heads, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland…join us for an interactive tour of Mowbray Park!  We’ll use storytelling, art and drama to help pupils explore and understand the shape, form and texture of the sculptures.

Can be adapted for SEND pupils.
Find out more

Beside The Seaside: Seaside Holidays in the Past

History & Local Study workshop/ KS1, KS2/ Available as a 60min (£50) or 90min (£75) session per class of up to 35 pupils. Half price for groups of 15 or less

Learn all about the history of seaside holidays and how Seaburn and Roker became popular holiday destinations. Explore objects and photos from our collections and write your own holiday postcard!
Find out more

River Wear Story – A local Study

History & Local Study workshop/ KS2/ 60 mins/ £75 for a class of up to 35 pupils. Half price for groups of 15 or less.

Explore how the River Wear has impacted on people’s lives over the past 300 years – from ship building and coal mining to nature, sport and leisure.

Handle artefacts and examine archive evidence to uncover the facts! This session can be adapted to include local history from across the River Wear catchment to suit your pupils’ needs.
Find out more

Reay, John; Dr William Reid Clanny (1776-1850); Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

Coal, Glass & Ships

Local history workshop/ KS1, KS2/ Available as a 60min (£50) or 90min (£75) session per class of up to 35 pupils. Half price for groups of 15 or less.

Investigate Sunderland’s industrial heritage from the 19th to the early 20th Centuries in this interactive workshop. Pupils will explore photographs, artefacts and archive material. This workshop can be adapted to focus more on certain local areas, or a particular industry.

Can also be adapted for SEND pupils.
Find out more

Washington F Pit 

Mon 4 Sept– Fri 29 Sept/ 10.00 – 11.30/ History & Local Study workshop/ KS2/ Available as a 60min (£50) or 90min (£75) session per class of up to 35 pupils. Half price for groups of 15 or less.

Explore Washington ‘F’ Pit and bring your local history study to life!

See the engine which brought men and coal up from the mine and discover how it worked. Learn about the dangers of life in a mine from the 18th to 20th Centuries and the unusual and interesting solutions to solve these challenges using photographs, artefacts and archive materials.

This workshop can be adapted to link to your topic work.
Find out more

Sunderlandscapes – a changing city

Local history workshop/ KS2/
£75 per class of up to 35 pupils. Half price for groups of 15 or less.

Find out how the city has changed over time. Using maps, photographs and objects, pupils will find out how and why the city has changed over time and consider how it might change in the future.
Find out more

Arts Centre Washington

Creative You: groups for young people

Bright Lights: Youth Arts Festival 2023 took place at Arts Centre Washington over February half-term and was a huge success!

Celebrating the talent and creativity of young people in Sunderland, the festival featured something for everyone including free workshops, screenings and performances. 

We’re currently planning a summer event so if any of your students would like to join one of our regular Creative You groups, be sure to follow our Creative You page for updates.

Follow us here

The Fire Station

The Snail & The Whale

6 June, 13:30 & 16:00; 7 June, 10:30
Suitable for all ages /Tickets from £7.70

Join an adventurous young girl and her seafaring father as they tell the story of a tiny snail’s incredible trip around the world in this heart-warming production inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved picture book.

Book here

The Amazing Bubble Man

30 July 2023/ 19:30
Suitable for all ages / Tickets from £14

Prepare to be spellbound as the Amazing Bubble Man conjures shrieks of laughter and gasps of amazement from all ages in this thrilling show exploring the art, magic, science, and fun of bubbles!

Book here

Sunderland Culture 

Work experience

In April we were thrilled to welcome three successful students, Anya, Ozzy and Styx, who all made it through application and interview to take part in our Sunderland Culture creative work experience.

From backstage tours of the Fire Station, cultural city tours, hands-on experiences at National Glass Centre, challenges and creative facilitation at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, and creative insight interviews and workshops at Art Centre Washington, we are proud to offer such a unique opportunity.

You can learn more about what the young people got up on their work experience in their blogs here.

If you would like to share this unique opportunity with your students, our next work experience runs from 18-21 July 2023. The deadline for applications is 2 June.

Find out more


Have you discovered our FREE learning platform for teachers, parents and young people yet?

Artsfix is filled to the brim with ideas, tools and exercises to help you to navigate the creative and cultural offer in our vibrant city. 

All designed in partnership with local schools, teachers, and creative learning practitioners. 

Discover Artsfix

Teacher Art Pass

One of our network organisations, Art Fund, have just launched a new #TeacherArtPass – offering all the benefits of a #NationalArtPass from just £25 a year for teachers.

If you’re a teacher, you can recharge your mind and find inspiration with:

✅ Free or reduced-price entry to 250+ museums, galleries, and historic houses

✅ 50% off exhibitions

✅ Art Quarterly magazine + Art Map

✅ Email updates to see what’s on across the UK.

Find out more

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