COVID-19 was a difficult time for everyone and the isolation and loneliness that many individuals felt made a turbulent time even more worrying. With a heavy heart, like many local organisations, in March 2020 East Durham Creates had to make the difficult decision to postpone our programme of events and workshops. Although this was of course the best thing to do, it was a hard decision as we knew many in the community were struggling to cope with such a change in lifestyle and isolation from loved ones, and we knew that a creative output would benefit many individuals within our community.
However, our team are never one to be defeated and we adapted our programme of events and activities to a COVID secure way of doing things so that we could ensure local people still had the opportunity to access art and culture. You can find out more information about our Covid-19 response programme below, and via the links to various projects.
Our final major commission as part of our current phase see’s artist Jamie Holman working with young people aged 13-25 was delivered as a digital response alongside a large scale mural in Seaham by artist Cosmo Sarson.
Each week artists linked to East Durham Creates took over our Facebook and Instagram accounts to give our local community background information on their practices and share online workshops and activities for our community to create at home with minimal materials during lockdown.
Each month East Durham Creates produced a creative activity that can be done from home. We put packs together with all the materials you will need to create a piece of artwork and then deliver them to local people to help our community have access to artistic activities safely.
Our Dementia Friendly art group called Let’s Meet Up normally attended weekly sessions in Seaham. In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and to safeguard the group the sessions moved online. The group worked with artist Claire Ford and arts organisation Equal Arts, who post the materials and creative packs needed for each session to the group.
Our Cultural Hubs programme which normal sees seven local community centres organise creative performances and workshops in their venues adapted their way of doing things to allow their local communities to still access great art and culture. This ranged from creative packs created with artists being available to collect from their centres to workshops being delivered over the phone or through the post.
East Durham Creates commissioned three projects to be delivered by local artists in line with government regulations regarding social distancing. These include Rainbow Village with Amanda Jane Odgen, Fishes and Wishes with the Barn at Easington and Create Me Packs with Creative Pop.
East Durham Creates Go & See project would organise visits for our community to attend local and national cultural venues. As during lockdown this was no longer possible, we developed a new way of allowing local people to still have these experiences by virtually visiting exhibitions and watching theatre. After the virtual visit, local people were invited to join a Zoom Meeting to discuss the visit further.
From Summer 2021 East Durham Creates are gradually getting back to in-person events and activities, and we realise just how much we have missed this way of doing things when we re-unite with community members. However, many events continue to be streamed online, or offer video sessions, for those who feel more comfortable staying at home.
If you are interested in learning more about upcoming events and activities and our Covid secure precautions email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0191 518 5073.