In 2014 East Durham Creates was funded by Arts Council England as part of its Creative People and Places (CPP) programme – which is all about more people choosing, creating and taking part in brilliant art experiences in the places where they live. In 2021 Arts Council England added a new strand to it’s National Portfolio for Creative People and Places Programmes where EDC joined 38 other independent programmes. Each programme is completely unique to its place, created in collaboration with the local community.

The East Durham Creates team is based at East Durham Trust in Peterlee and managed by a group of partners – East Durham Trust, Beamish Museum, Believe Housing, East Durham Area Action Partnership and Culture, Sport and Tourism, Durham County Council.

What’s happened so far?

Over the years, we’ve tried lots of different things by experimenting, taking risks, listening, and making changes as we go – something which we couldn’t have done without the growing support and trust from local people.

It’s been interesting and rewarding for all of us involved. Here’s a quick look at some of the things you’ve helped us to do so far…

  • Over 130,000 people shaping, creating and experiencing art.
  • Local young people organised and staged events with professional artists and performers in local venues during the ‘No More Nowt Happens’ project, with almost 100 young people were involved in the project and some attendance numbers reaching over 120 people.
  • Commissioned If These Walls Could Talk an art exhibition inspired by everyday home life across East Durham, particularly older people at risk of isolation. The event achieved an estimated 5,900 visitors and over 109,659 digital engagements, with a total of 48 volunteers kindly donating 173 hours of time to the event.
  • Marked five decades of the Sunny Blunts Estate and the anniversary of the moon landing, with an installation by Steve Messam, Zine workshops led by Theresa Easton (over 474 participants took part in over 26 workshops) and celebrations within the community including a light installation and music by Barry Hyde from The Futureheads.
  • Developed a Covid-19 response that offered alternate activities to in-person events, still within the spirit of the project, as well as adapting our output to collaborate with East Durham Trust and Our Community Hub’s support and outreach programmes.
  • ‘Above Below Beyond’, co-produced by artist Jamie Holman and creative producer Alex Zawadzki, with the input of local people from East Durham, with 8 workshops taking place generating 124 learning experiences. The project focused on encouraging local pride in young people.
  • Revamped the Cultural Hubs programme to facilitate a wider range of arts events, including spoken word nights, bespoke theatre productions and outdoor theatre and dance performances.
  • ‘Neon and That’ in Dawdon Youth & Community Centre with artists Stuart Langley and Mick Stephenson. Over 80 young people from the centre created their own artwork and designed a special ‘Neon and That’ night.
  • Working with artists, testing how to develop new approaches in making art in communities including The Pan Hag by Gayle Chong Kwan, which featured on BBC’s Countryfile, From Out A Darker Sea by So Percussion, shortlisted for a Journal Culture Award and VoiceOver by Umbrellium.

What’s next?

In December 2021 we heard the fantastic news that East Durham Creates will be joining Art Council’s England’s Creative People and Places National Portfolio. This means we have secured £1 million of funding for the future and can continue to work with the many incredible communities across Durham.

This is not only great news for the communities in East Durham, as, going forward, we will be working with communities across County Durham, sharing with others what we have learnt in East Durham over the years and looking at how our projects can operate across County Durham.

Please contact us at or call 0191 5693511 to talk to us.