Phase one: 2014 – 2017

East Durham Creates (EDC) made a significant amount of progress in the first phase of activity from 2014 – 2017. The consortium, our partners, residents and commissioned artists have worked hard to achieve genuine change in a locality that was identified as being the fifth lowest nationally in terms of its arts engagement levels. We have tested a whole host of ways of involving people in a programme of high quality arts and creative activities that otherwise would have been inaccessible to many people in East Durham.

We think the key to our success has been in our action research approach, and ability to flex and shift direction as and when required. We carried out a major strategic review in 2015, following which we placed a greater emphasis on local delivery, and boosted East Durham Trust’s role in the project. Since then, voluntary and community sector organisation East Durham Trust has played an increasingly prominent role in programme management and delivery, and plans to step up and take the lead in this next phase – a key component of our strategy to sustain provision in East Durham, and a great outcome for EDC.

We are proud of the work that we’ve done to develop the capacity and expertise of the arts sector including the project team, partner organisations and artists. Phase one saw us establishing the structures, partnerships and approaches through which local people can shape arts and cultural activities in East Durham – we will now embed these in phase two, with a focus on working towards long term sustainability.

Key achievements 

  • Over 27,500 people experiencing the arts with 71% people being the least engaged
  •  Six ambitious new commissions with national and internationally renowned artists across visual arts, music, crafts and digital that have tested new approaches in engagement.
  • Around 1,500 hours of events and activities and 400 volunteers involved.
  • ·Artistic highlights include the presentation of the SO Percussion commission in August 2016, a culmination of a two year long residency, resulting in a piece of music created for and inspired by the people of East Durham.
  • 776 people enjoying 26 Go and See visits in places including Seven Stories, Bowes Museum, the Baltic, the Tall Ships at Blyth and the Festival of Thrift;
  • The Pan Hag project, our longest artist residency with Gayle Chong Kwan, a BBC BAME Expert in Fine Art, has featured on BBC Radio 3 and secured an upcoming feature on the BBC’s Countryfile programme.
  • 2,500 people attending The Pirates of Crimdon Dene, testing how our beautiful coast can become a unique arts venue.
  • World-class architects Umbrellium created VoiceOver in Horden, which has since been the focus of a Ted-X talk, exploring participatory cultural infrastructure.
  • 5371 people attending over 999.5 hours of new arts activity through our 22 Let’s Create projects – led by and for local people. .
  • Shortlisted for two Journal Culture Awards; Fl10s: False Lights Seaham, Ed Carter (2014) and From Out A Darker Sea, So Percussion (2016).
  • Supported six community centres to programme theatre performances attended by more than 1,300 people as part of the Cultural Hubs programme delivered in partnership with ARC Stockton.
  • Partnership with Working Title Productions and Universal Pictures to secure ‘Billy Elliot the musical live’ shown in Easington as part of a global, live screening event.
  • ·‘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.
  • Stories of Easington which celebrated the cultural heritage of East Durham, bringing the community together to showcase positive local stories from the past and present;
  • Creative Socials – a new and enjoyable way of taking part in arts through events showing local artistic talent and involving food with 1369 people 16 events led by and for local people.
  • Supporting Horden’s ‘Hole in the Wall’ craft group to sell their clippy mats at Institute of Modern Art (mima) in Middlesbrough

For further information on our projects from phase one, please visit our ‘Story so far’ section of our website.



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©2016 East Durham Creates - Built by DIGITIA

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