East Durham Creates

Former mining communities enjoying culture from the ground up
Billy Elliot the Musical Live at Easington Social Welfare Centre
Billy Elliot the Musical Live at Easington Social Welfare Centre
Photo: Colin Davison
Fl10s: False Lights Seaham by Ed Carter. Performance at Seaham Marina with Durham Miners Association Brass Band
Fl10s: False Lights Seaham by Ed Carter. Performance at Seaham Marina with Durham Miners Association Brass Band
Photo: Colin Davison
Artists talk with Ed Carter and Ros Rigby, ArtBlock Seaham
Artists talk with Ed Carter and Ros Rigby, ArtBlock Seaham
Photo: Colin Davison
Games for Places by Holly Gramazio Installation at Apollo Pavillion, Peterlee
Games for Places by Holly Gramazio Installation at Apollo Pavillion, Peterlee
Photo: Colin Davison
CinemaSports with KidsforKids UK
CinemaSports with KidsforKids UK
Photo: Helen Ward

Where: East Durham
With: Beamish Museum, Forma Arts, East Durham Trust, Supported by Durham County Council – via East Durham Area Action Partnership and Arts Team

“It was great to think that this [Ed Carter’s FI10s ‘False Lights’] happened in Seaham and it linked in with the town’s heritage.”
Volunteer

This exciting programme of creative and cultural activity has been developed with – and for – the people of East Durham and offers a wide range of activities to residents in Peterlee, Seaham and nearby former mining villages.

It’s an area facing challenges in areas like education, transport, health and employment, and although there’s been little coordinated arts activity, local community-based activity is flourishing. The East Durham Creates programme answers a growing interest in the arts and culture here, and it promotes grassroots local activity as well as attracting new artistic and cultural opportunities to the area.

In order to serve its area better, the project’s focus has switched from a seasonal programme to more regular activity. This new approach is expected to maximise the chance of it having an even more lasting and positive impact on as many lives as possible. This shift came in response to research carried out after the programme’s successful autumn 2014 launch festival.

The community is involved at every stage, from ideas gathering and shaping the programme right through to events designed to empower, engage and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds. Meanwhile, a wide range of project partners are involved with areas like infrastructure, venue commissioning, audience development initiatives and commissioning established national and international artists to make work specifically for the programme.

The project has seen a number of key successes already, from working alongside Kids for Kids to secure BAFTA mentoring for a young person, right through to an initiative that took Debt First Aid workers to see a performance of Broke by The Paper Birds. Other key highlights have included an Art Lending Library Parade through Thornley village and a live screening of Billy Elliot The Musical in the community where it was actually set – two projects with an accessible, grassroots feel typical of the wider East Durham Creates project.