A New Cultural Vision for Sunderland

Ballet Lorent performing at National Glass Centre, in front of Magdalene’s Odundo’s Transition II – Image: Toni Ross

A new vision for the future of culture in Sunderland was launched at the National Glass Centre on 17 October.

Sunderland Cultural Partnership, which formed in 2013 led by University of Sunderland and Sunderland City Council with support from Arts Council England, has been working with partners and audiences in the city to form an ambitious new vision for Sunderland’s arts and culture.  

The new vision was launched at a special event at National Glass Centre, which was attended by key stakeholders including local artists and musicians, museums and galleries from Sunderland and the region and local businesses and featured performances by balletLORENT and The Lake Poets.

The vision will focus on three key themes: Celebrating Sunderland, Building audiences and Nurturing creativity. As well as a number of plans that are currently in development such as the development of the old Fire Station in the city centre by the MAC Trust, to form a hub for a new cultural quarter next to the Empire, the launch also announced a number of new initiatives focussed around a new vision for Sunderland Museums and Heritage Service, a major cultural project to commemorate the Battle of the Somme in 2016, the International Glass Biennial GLASSTRESS coming to Sunderland in 2016, forming the core of an International Glass Festival, and a raft of measures planned to support emerging and established creative talent in Sunderland.

Graeme Thompson, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at the University of Sunderland said

“The economic regeneration of any city has culture at its heart and Sunderland is no exception.  Over the last year we have held extensive consultations with the cultural sector, funders and stakeholders to discover what they imagine Sunderland could look like if we spent more time and resource nurturing the cultural lifeblood of our City.

These discussions have resulted in the creation of our new vision for culture.  We recognise that we need stronger leadership, clear vision and improved infrastructure to support and promote culture in our City.  There’s an appetite for a clearer and stronger arts offer and the desire to create a critical mass of artists and arts activity, nurturing talent, whilst improving connectivity and communications within the sector and with audiences.

Today we have announced a raft of projects which will provide a springboard for Sunderland to take-off as a place for artists, producers, musicians and cultural entrepreneurs.”

This will be achieved through strong partnership working including Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland, founding partners, venues and arts professionals. The partnership will form into three strands; a strategic leadership strand, a delivery strand and project development strands. Working together the vision will make Sunderland a more culturally vibrant place to work and live.

Find out more about the Sunderland Cultural Partnership.

Follow the Sunderland Cultural Partnership on Twitter.

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Mowbray Park in Sunderland city centre is one of the oldest parks in the North East. Restored to its former Victorian splendour, it has an intriguing array of art works.


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