Corners was an internationally-acclaimed arts project culminated in three days of events and activities across three East Durham villages.

The project aimed to draw threads between European communities through arts projects with a difference! The stories shared, and what is created, are passed on and told in another town or city. These stories are not only meaningful, but also have the power to connect countries as well as people. Corners shows that we all share similar hopes, challenges and dreams; from politics to social welfare, financial concerns to getting the chance to be creative.

Corners of Europe involved nine European artists working with communities in Horden, Shotton and Blackhall and was delivered by ISIS Arts in partnership with East Durham Creates

Sharon Bailey, Executive Co-Director of ISIS Arts, explained: “Each of our three villages were busy completing their specific projects.

“In Horden our artists Simon Farid, Riccardo Spagnulo and Gianfranco Mirizzi completed a Playground project, which looked at games old and new, and involved playing and sharing games in tournaments. We had our inflatable play venue in Welfare Park, while indoor games – some of which were created as part of the project – were being played in Horden Youth and Community Centre and Horden Hub House.

“Meanwhile in Shotton on Saturday we hosted a ‘Treasures of Shotton Family Day’ with our artists Maria Anastassiou, Isabella Mongelli and Milos Tomic. The family day came after our Shotton safaris which were a gentle walking tour through the village in which we revealed hidden treasures and magical stories.

“Our last project, Mobile Radio: Stories of Blackhall, finished with a live radio broadcast and a Eurovision song night last Saturday in Blackhall Community Centre. Croatian artist Bojan Mucko hosted the live broadcast, with the help of fellow artists Julie Myers and Lucyna Kolendo.”

Nikki Locke, previous Head of East Durham Creates, added: “There were more than 60 people there for the hour-long live broadcast, and during the hour Bojan took the microphone round the tables and asked for stories from past, present and hopes for the future. This included people’s experiences of what it was like during mining times, conversations around the opportunities available for young people now and the work over many years of the local drama group.







“It was wonderful to hear so many memories, seeing people connect and have fun with each other – something which ran through all three Corners projects. I think the artists spending time in the areas and presenting events which showed places people are so used to in a different light has been both interesting and inspiring. A lot of firm friendships have been made and hopefully this project has acted as a catalyst to further creative activity (with a difference) in these wonderful villages.”

Blackhall Community Centre Manager Alison Paterson said the artists had been a pleasure to work with and the project one which had left a real legacy: “We had a tremendous night last Saturday, and Bojan and Lucyna did an amazing job. The radio broadcast was great fun and then the party was amazing, with all the artists from the three different project coming together and mingling with everyone here.

“The Corners project was proof that people who live countries in like Italy, Croatia, Poland and Serbia have the same sort of concerns, experiences and problems that we share here.

“I think the project will be a springboard for us here to be more creative and we can see what can be achieved. So the legacy is an artistic one – they’ve shown us what is possible and what we can aspire to. I feel bereft now they’re all gone – it was like being on holiday and then coming home.”

CORNERS East Durham was produced by ISIS Arts in partnership with East Durham Creates, alongside the continued support and involvement of our local partners: Blackhall Community Centre, Horden Youth and Community Centre, Horden Hub House, Horden Parish Council, Shotton Partnership, and Shotton Community Centre.

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Here’s just some of the great feedback we received from people who took part in Corners East Durham…

“Playground was great for the local community. It was nice to see our local talent involved. Everyone was friendly and genuinely interested in us.”

“I think people learn from events like this, that they can do things in their own village. It will be nice to see the inspiration grow.”

“It brought people together in the community, from surrounding communities and [other] towns, cities [and] countries.”

“I think it showed people that the arts can be good for them… inspire them to take part in creative activities.”

“Seeing people being creative… it gives us ideas.”

“I think it has got people thinking… it certainly got us thinking!”

“A brilliant tour by the artists – a good positive outlook for Shotton and hope for future.”

“Swapping stories about Blackhall and realising how similar communities are in Zagreb and Gdansk – very enjoyable.”

“We think it’s great that someone is interested in our Heritage.”

“Enjoyed hearing the history of Blackhall. Although I’ve lived here for 6 years, I found out things tonight I didn’t know previously.”

Press coverage

Villages to tell their stories for major European arts project – Hartlepool Mail

Free art events brings together tales from all corners of Europe – Sunderland Echo

Major European arts and culture project coming to Horden, Shotton and Blackhall – The Northern Echo

Your chance to come together in celebration of art project – Hartlepool Mail

Successful East Durham arts projects comes to an end – East Durham News

Arts project maps out past and future with trio of events – Hartlepool Mail

Free art events brings together tales from all corners of Europe – Mackem Bible