Meet the Team

Jess Hunt – Programme Director

Hi! I’m Jess and I’m the Programme Director for East Durham Creates. Lots of you might have met me over the years because I’ve worked on the project since 2015 – the only difference is that I’m now leading it! I am really passionate about making sure that everybody has access to arts and culture, no matter who they are or where they come from – that’s why I love Creative People and Places projects like ours. We get to do amazing art in places that for too long time had limited access to it.

I started my career as an artist and illustrator, then I delivered sessions and events all over the North East but I have always had a real love of engaging with the community. When I started with East Durham Creates I got to take loads of local people all over the place to experience galleries and theatre and arts events – this photo of this young man entering the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art for the first time has always inspired me to push the project, who gets involved and what we do.

I’ve been really privileged to spend my time on the project getting really involved with the work that our lead organisation East Durham Trust does and know that the more we can work together the better we’ll reach the people who need art in their lives the most.

It’s been a difficult time for everyone – Covid-19 is a challenge that none of us expected to face and it’s impact will last for years to come but I hope that East Durham Creates can make the next few years that bit brighter. We’re here until (at least) 2025 but I hope the impact we’ll make on East Durham will be here forever.

Ellen Ranson – Programme Co-ordinator

Hi, I’m Ellen the Programme Co-ordinator for East Durham Creates. I’m new to East Durham Creates, starting in June 2022.

I am looking forward to getting to know what people want as part of an arts and culture programme in their local area, and what you would like to travel to see out of the area.
I am from a visual arts background, finishing my BA in Fine Art at Northumbria in 2018 and my MA from MIMA School of Art this year (2022), I’m also a painter and have exhibited around the North East.
I am really passionate about broadening access to arts, workshops, events and exhibitions.
I previously ran Conny Art Fest. An art festival that spread across Consett town centre for a 2 week period placing art into businesses, community centres and other public spaces. We programmed lots of exhibitions and workshops for the local community.
Faye Watson – Project Admin 

Hi I’m Faye and I am the Project Admin for East Durham Creates. I have been at the Trust since 2018 where I started in East Durham Creates, where I worked on various projects and took part in helping out in the major commissions.

When Phase 2 ended I was kept on by the Trust where I worked on the Adult Learning project during the coronavirus pandemic, where we supported families across East Durham meals along with an art activity for the whole family to get involved with. East Durham Trust was recognised for its dedication to supporting learners on the course we won two awards including overall winner of the Festival of Learning award.

I studied Fine Art at university and then went into retail as a visual merchandiser where I could still be creative, I then got the job in East Durham Creates where I could use my office based skills as well as being involved in the arts.

The past year has been hard on everyone and creative outputs have been put on hold, but hopefully over the next few years, East Durham Creates can help bring opportunities back to the people of East Durham.