I am proud to be one of the artists associated with The Cultural Spring, which has improved access to the arts in Sunderland and South Tyneside over the last six years.
I have been running calligraphy workshops in the communities the project has empowered for the last five years and I hope to run more in the future.
Funding has been secured from Arts Council England for the third phase of the project, taking it into more communities that wouldn’t traditionally access the arts and culture.
Consultation with residents is now underway, although the methods have been adapted to take into account the restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19.
Here’s the appeal from the Cultural Spring team in full:
For the past six years The Cultural Spring has been working to increase participation in arts and culture in Sunderland and South Tyneside.
During these unsettling times caused by the Covid-19 virus, we remain committed to do just that – and to support the communities of both boroughs.
Although we don’t have any activities arranged for the immediate future, we were planning to undertake community consultation sessions from the start of April in our new Cultural Spring wards.
These new areas are:
• South Tyneside: Hebburn North, Hebburn South and Primrose
• Sunderland: Ryhope, Doxford and Silksworth
However, if there is a clear demand for activities in other areas we’ve already worked in, or in places we’ve not yet been, we’ll look into what might be possible in those communities.
Our consultation sessions were to help us understand what arts activities people living in our communities would like delivered in their neighbourhoods. With that knowledge, we would then develop new workshops and other activities.
Because of the measures introduced to combat the spread of Covid-19, we need to work in different ways to consult with you, but we still want your ideas about what we could offer.
For example, there is a wealth of online activity becoming available from artists/ arts organisations, museums and libraries. We can and will share these, but what happens if you don’t have access to the internet, a computer or a mobile phone?
Should we be encouraging people to talk to us over the phone? Are there activities we could do over the phone? Perhaps linking you with a singer and singing a duet?
One arts organisation has been encouraging people to write letters to those living in care homes – what a lovely idea!
Would people like a ‘telephone’ friend during this difficult time? This friend could be someone in the community or an artist. Then when it’s all over perhaps you could meet up with your new friend in one of our cultural venues across Sunderland and South Tyneside?
What else can we do? Please let us know your thoughts – we don’t have an endless pot of money but we DO want to help and we WILL make things happen.
We’re still working through the details of our plan, but we wanted to share our intentions and get some conversations going. We’ll be ready to start delivering our activity by the end of April.
You can contact us via:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Mobile: 07469 030 256 (10am-5pm Monday – Thursday)
Thank you for your time, and please stay safe.