The Cultural Spring

Putting an artistic spring in the step of the North East
A Great Night Out
A Great Night Out
Photo: Dan Prince
Rush
Rush
Photo: Dan Prince
Our First Three Years Exhibition
Our First Three Years Exhibition
Photo: Jo Howell
Mr Drayton's Human Jukebox, Hylton Castle WMC
Mr Drayton's Human Jukebox, Hylton Castle WMC
Photo: Dan Prince
WordPlay
WordPlay
Photo: Dan Prince
Participants in a screen printing workshop
Participants in a screen printing workshop
Photo: Craig Leng
Inventors project
Inventors project
Photo: Colin Davison

Where: Wards include Millfield, St Anne's, Pallion, Hendon and Sandhill in Sunderland; and Monkton, Horsley Hill, Bede, Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke in South Tyneside. 
With: The Customs House, The University of Sunderland, The Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and Sangini

“Fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and make loads of new friends. I thought I was taking up guitar too late in life to achieve anything. I’ve progressed and learned much more than I imagined was possible.” – John, Guitar, Ukulele and Bass Club

“All the workshops have been very enjoyable and informative. Everyone is friendly and the tutors are very good.” – Kathleen, Craft Workshop

The Cultural Spring is an exciting, ambitious project to get more people in Sunderland and South Tyneside to experience and be inspired by the arts.

The project is now into its second three-year phase of delivery with funding from Arts Council England for the next three years, but our aim is to leave a lasting legacy of communities with a genuine and abiding interest in the arts.

Our main goal is to work with local residents and find out what kind of events and activities they’d like to experience and take part in. We’ve been working with the best local, regional, national and international artists to ensure our programme really engages, enthuses, entertains and educates the 100,000 people living in our wards.

The project works across the two metropolitan boroughs of Sunderland and South Tyneside and is the only Creative People and Places project led by a University. To broaden its appeal and inclusivity, The Cultural Spring embraces all art forms and genres, both traditional and contemporary as well as amateur and professional. On top of that, through an active social media presence and by creating a network of Community Champions, the project also involves local people right at the heart of the decision and commissioning process. An example of this is through the initiative called Your Art which invests in new ideas for community-led activity.

Highlights of the programme so far include the hugely successful annual Summer Streets festival, which has hosted a wide range of musical organisations and performances in a little-used park. WordPlay and Rush, which were spectacular outdoor dance events led by Southpaw Dance Company with hundreds of local dancers. Inventors! which saw over 500 young people work with local inventor Dominic Wilcox and create their own creative inventions which were then made and displayed in an exhibition. A Great Night Out with internationally renowned theatre company WildWorks saw local residents take to the stage and perform live to a Sunderland crowd. The Cultural Spring’s involvement in the Great North Passion has been another success story, with more than 1 million viewers watching the event on BBC TV. 

Watch this short film celebrating the first three years of The Cultural Spring.

The Cultural Spring - Our First Three Years from The Cultural Spring on Vimeo.