Meet the Team

Jess Hunt – Project Lead

Hi! I’m Jess and I’m the Project Lead 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) 2023 but I hope the impact we’ll make on East Durham will be here forever.

Amy Mitchell – Project Manager 

Hi, I’m Amy the Project Manager for East Durham Creates. I’m new to East Durham Creates but not to Durham having been born and bred here. I’m thrilled to be working in my home county and to be involved with such a fantastic project. I’m passionate about arts and culture and the ‘extra’ it can bring to your life wherever you are from. Creative People and Places programme aims to reach the parts that other arts programmes can’t and I’m so pleased to be working with East Durham Trust as they do such fantastic work reaching out to people who might not normally go to arts venues.

I began my career as a drama teacher and have worked with lots of schools, colleges and young people across the North East. I started work as a Project Manager around 10 years ago after being introduced to Arts Award, a qualification that young people can gain from taking part in arts activity, and am a trained Advisor up to Gold level. I’ve worked as a project manager on programmes for families, young people and older people across all sorts of art forms – from dance and music to crafts and creative writing. This means that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in lots of exciting and different projects with organisations and venues from all across the North East. Most recently I was working on the Family Arts Campaign in Sunderland helping more families to access arts activity – even during Covid.

It’s been such a challenging time over the past year and there will be lots of things for communities to deal with, even after lockdown ends; but I believe that East Durham Creates and the arts projects we will develop with you over the next 3 years can help people to move forwards in a positive way. I look forward to meeting more of you in person at some point soon.

Faye Watson – Project Admin 

Hi I’m Faye and I am the administrator 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 2 awards including overall winner of the Festival of Learning award.

I studied Fine Art at uni 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.