Starting them young: first tastes of art and culture

A guest blog by Sheridan Lees.


Baby Ava Lees from Haswell, East Durham, experienced art and culture for the very first time as part of a series of group outings organised by East Durham Creates.


Ava, who was just five months old at the time, went with her mother Sheridan to the Great North Museum in Newcastle, the Tall Ships Regatta in Blyth and Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle.


Ava and Sheridan took part in three Go and See trips – organised group visits which encourage people in East Durham to experience art and culture they wouldn’t normally access.


We caught up with Sheridan to find out what she thought of the visits.


Sheridan explained: “I’d not been to any of these places before when I found out about the Go and See trips. It was nice to be able to set off from somewhere you know and not have to worry about parking or the stress of travelling somewhere new.


“We really enjoyed the Great North Museum. There were plenty of things to see and interact with – Ava really liked the animal exhibits. I would never have thought of going there before this trip but I’d definitely go again.


“We also went to the Tall Ships which was a lovely day and nice to experience as part of the group, and we went to Seven Stories as well. During the story time for children at Seven Stories I could tell Ava was really enjoying it as she was really excited and waving her arms around!


 “The visits were well organised and very friendly and it meant I could get to events I couldn’t otherwise access. It provides opportunities for people like me who might not feel comfortable going alone.


“Visiting these places opened me up to thinking about other places we could go to in the future – I definitely plan to get out and see what else is going on. In fact I’d never have thought of visiting these places before but now I’ve told my mum about the Great North Museum and recommended that she visits as well.


“I think this was the most cultural visits I’ve made with Ava in such a short period of time. With Ava being so young it got her out and about, interacting and it set up a good habit for us to continue – start them young and carry on going to new places and doing things instead of staying at home!”


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