Creative North

Supporting Emerging Artists and Creative Practitioners


Bridging the gap between the creators and the buyers of artworks is an essential part of what we do. We place great emphasis on brokering relationships between artists and commissioners of creative work and, to this end, our programmes are often developed in collaboration with creative and cultural organisations across the region. These organisations are are constantly seeking to enrich their visitors’ experience, from enhancing the appeal of their attractions to providing a richer choice of things to buy in their shops. More than that, they are all very keen to support local businesses whenever they can. This all adds up to commercial opportunities for artists.

An example will help make the approach clear. During 2017 we designed and delivered an Arts Council England funded project on behalf of Newcastle City library which created opportunities for 20 emerging artists to participate in a professional development programme. This offered mentoring by highly successful professional artists, enterprise development workshops and networking opportunities. Bursaries were also available for artists to create work inspired by the library’s fifth size (outsize) book collection for a major exhibition. This was professionally curated within the library at the programme’s conclusion. The exhibition was very well attended and received, with many of the participants finding that the programme opened the door to further commissions. In fact, the event was so successful that the prospect of replicating it across the UK is currently being discussed with the British Library.

Over the past five years we have, though our Durham Creatives programme, similarly collaborated with Baltic, Sage Gateshead, Durham Cathedral and Beamish Museum to create opportunities for artists and craft makers to create work for dispaly and sale in these venues. Looking forward, we are currently delivering a professional development programme in conjunction with The Bowes Centre which has created 10 new commissions for artists, designers and makers to create site responsive work in any media, culminating in an Exhibition of Ideas at The Bowes Museum in winter 2018.

Other new initiatives we are working on include the development of new commissioning opportunities with the Creative Fuse team and the Science Outreach Unit at Durham University, and with Durham County Council Arts Team. We will post updates about these emerging opportunities on our Events and Workshops page – by signing up for our e-newsletter you’ll be kept up to date automatically.

Finally, if you represent an organisation and would like to find out more about how your work could create new opportunities for emerging artists and creative practitioners we would love to hear from you and discuss how our work might enhance yours!


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We are very excited to be delivering a 12 month professional development on behalf of Business Durham. This is for creative businesses based in County Durham who'd like to find new markets and opportunities. Full details on the Workshops & Events page. Hope to see you there!

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