Memory Box in Europe – TANDEM

Last week Flo welcomed two new members of staff to the team. It was our turn to host our European partner organisations who we are continuing to collaborate with on the Memory Box Tandem project.  Janine Weidanz, Project Manager, .lkj, Magdeburg, Germany and Doreen Hartman, Heritage Education Manager, Kunstbedrijf, Arnhem, Netherlands.

It was a busy week, part of the placement was about shadowing the work of Flo-culture, project development update as well as introducing both partners to the cultural scene of Gateshead / Newcastle.

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With only a week’s worth of time to fill, I was spoilt for choice. Where do you start? There is so much cultural richness and such a broad range here in the North East, but I was able to narrow it down by keeping examples of good practice within participation and engagement as focus.

We started the week meeting with Kate Parkin, Relationship Manager Engagement and Audiences. A constant theme during the week was hearing about Arts Council Creative People and Places programme. Our meeting with Kate provided us with a great opportunity to hear an in-depth introduction to CPP work already in development within the region.

The Creative People and Places fund focuses Arts Council investment in parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average, with the aim of increasing the likelihood of participation. The North East is currently running CPP programmes in Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.

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Other meetings included learning from and participating in New Bridge Street Studios ‘Working Culture Residency / participatory arts project.

Hosted by Alexia Mellor, a relative new comer to the region , Working Culture Residency (WCR) is a participatory exploring the current working climate of the UK culture sector. Based on the concept of the Artist Placement Group from the 1960s and 70s in which artists were placed as residents in government and business institutions, WCR has as its mission to bring members of the wider NorthEast culture sector and funders together through a hot-desking space in the heart of The NewBridge Project artist studios.

Alexia took the time to talk to us about the History of New Bridge Studios, as well as its future. We were also given a guided tour of the book shop and studio spaces, which enabled us to spend time with and talk to artists including Racheal Clewlow and Nick Kennedy. Our fellow hot deskers for the morphoto 5ning included artist Andrew Wilson and Dr. Karen Scott, researcher and professor within The Centre for Rural Economy within Newcastle University. This diverse range of participants made for a morning or engaging discussion around arts funding and participation.

The remainder of the meetings included –

Leila d’Aronville, Senior Manager for Bridge North East.

Helen Donley, Studio Printmaker, Northern Print.

Holli Keeble, Tyneside Cinema’s Projects manager

Tim Bailey, Partner Architect, Xsite Architecture

As well as a trip to Northern Stage –   to see Joseph Heller’s  ‘Catch 22’ and a Lindy Hop dance lesson at the Summerhill Pavilion.