“Warm” is a fresh creative initiative supported by Arts Council England, dedicated to exploring the role of the arts in providing warmth and support to displaced communities.

In collaboration with Create North, Newcastle Library is set to host three creative residencies in partnership with Ukrainian communities across the northeast. The goal is to explore different perspectives on experiencing ‘warmth’, including notions of being welcomed into a new community, feeling safe, friendship and empathy.

Each residency will concentrate on a distinct art form: Pottery, Dance, and Singing/Music. Nine Ukraine artists will design and lead the residencies tailored to three different groups within the Ukrainian community with the aim of allowing them to share their experiences and express themselves through creativity and arts activities. The culmination of each residency will feature an exhibition in the city library where the groups showcase their work, offering valuable insights into what warmth means for diverse cohorts.

To apply to be one of the Ukrainian artists, click here and complete the application form.

To further enhance the sense of warmth, Create North and three regional artists will work alongside the Ukrainian artists, offering insights on how newly settled practitioners can build their creative practise and integrate into the creative community in the region. This project is a bridge for the Ukrainian creatives to forge a fulfilling life in the region, contributing to the cultural landscape and connecting with their adopted community.

The nine lead Ukrainian artists will be at different stages in their careers, encompassing both experienced and emerging practitioners. Leveraging their creative skills, they may have interests in a wide variety of forms, such as photography, film-making, visual arts, crafts, fashion, and costume, that complement the main focus of each residency.

At the end of the project, everyone involved – the Ukrainian leads artists, the regionally based artists, the participating groups, Create North and Newcastle Library staff will come together to reflect on what’s been learnt so that we might share our understanding of how a sense of warmth can be manifested across communities.

We hope in doing so that our learning will inspire other organisations to consider how taking a collaborative approach to a creative line of enquiry can be used to connect disparate communities through artistic expression.

How will it work?

The project will take place between February and June 2024

Create North will host an event at the start of March in Newcastle City Library to raise awareness of the programme and invite the creative community of Tyneside to get involved. Participating artists and creative organisations will find out how they might benefit from the project and how they could contribute to its delivery.

Meanwhile, Create North will implement an engagement strategy designed to recruit 9 Ukrainian artists and 3 regionally based creative practitioners to the programme. Ukrainian artists will be appointed for their commitment to develop their practice and become integrated members of the Northeast creative community. Regional based artist will be appointed for their experience of participatory arts, and their desire to support newly arrived artists to become active members of the regional creative community.  Both groups of artists will receive a commission to deliver the project.

In early March, the 9 Ukrainian artists will work with the 3 regionally based creative practitioners over two days to design three residencies for three distinct groups from the Ukrainian community. This activity will take place in Newcastle City library. Whist designing the residencies, practitioners will also consider how they might learn from the initiative and apply the leaning to the development of their own creative commercial practise. Create North will provide professional development support through training, mentoring and network building ensure that practitioners are well placed to make the very most of this opportunity.

The shape and timing of each of the residencies will be agreed with those involved, including the community groups taking part.

The residencies will take place in Newcastle City Library and will take place over March, April and May. Each residency will be designed to engage approximately 15 community participants. The creative line of enquiry for each residency will be Warm, including notions of being welcomed into a new community, feeling safe, friendship and empathy. Each residency will focus on a different artform: pottery, dance and music, and will culminate in the creation of a work that amplifies the notion of warmth from the participants perspective. This new work will be exhibited, performed or showcased in City Library at the end of the project.

To conclude the project, in addition to showcasing work created, everyone involved will be invited to share their experiences of participating in the project and reflect on their journey from their own perspective. Together, each partner and group will be encouraged to consider how the project has supported them to achieve their aims, which may include:

Library: To improve understanding of the library’s role in using the arts to welcome displaced people, being a positive contributor to the support available for the city’s newly arrived communities.

Create North: To develop experience of working with displaced communities, adding to and developing the diversity of the existing network of creative practitioners in North East, and testing and evaluating new ways of working.

Ukrainian Artists: To become better connected to the local creative sector, facilitating greater access to creative opportunities, forging new connections with commissioners & funders, and routes to using their creative skill sets to support themselves.

Community Groups: To become more comfortable in new spaces, empowering them to express themselves freely without fear of judgment or exclusion, and connect & engage with other individuals & organisations, encouraging social interactions & the formation of new networks.

Regional Artists: To develop mentoring skills and a new network of creative practitioners.

The outcomes of these reflections will be shared with other arts organisations and artists in the region, and cascaded through networks of Libraries across England.

We hope to complete all activity, including the final sharing / dissemination event, by the middle of June 2024.


The Project Team

Creative Producers: Create North
The Team at Create North provides entrepreneurial support for cultural and heritage practitioners and organisations. Launched 22 years ago, Create North is now one of the North East’s longest established companies working to animate and support people to start and grow businesses.

All members of our core team have extensive experience of working with practitioners and cultural organisations and have a deep understanding of the issues faced by cultural, creative and heritage practitioners and organisations, which we have acquired through direct engagement with them over the last decade. We have delivered multiple enterprise projects at various scales to the creative sector from the Tweed to the Tees, and over the last 5 years alone have supported c.2000 creative practitioners and creative organisations to establish themselves and grow.


Host: Newcastle Libraries
City Library is located at the heart of the city centre on the corner of John Dobson Street and New Bridge Street West. The main entrance, known as the ‘blue box’, has level access and automatic doors leading to Level 1. City Library has six floors with both stair and lift access. A second entrance from Princess Square, again has level access and automatic doors leading to Level 2. The building houses a number of important services, including the Business and Intellectual Property Centre, Citizens Advice Newcastle, Skills Hub and UK Visa and Immigration Service.


Newcastle City Council Arts Development
Newcastle City Council’s Arts Development programme is designed to encourage, support and facilitate participation in high-quality creative activities by people who, for a variety of reasons, might not otherwise have that opportunity. Projects and programmes are concentrated in those areas of the city where there is least provision or where the provision that does exist is unsuitable for, or does not meet the needs of, a significant proportion of the resident population – children and young people, for example, or vulnerable older people, or disabled people. Projects are developed with potential participants and key community-based partners to ensure that activities reflect their creative skills and ambitions and the rich cultural heritage of the city’s many communities.