Culture is the backbone of society, it defines who we are, where we live and connects each and every one of us in some way or another
Within the North East we have one of the best cultural offerings across the globe, with world class settings like the Sage and Baltic, numerous museums, theatres, the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, Lumiere in Durham, and various arts and music venues.
Over the past year having supported the work of Culture Bridge North East, an organisation established by Arts Council England and managed by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM), to connect cultural organisations and the education sector so that children and young people can have access to great arts and excellence cultural opportunities, I have come to realise how culturally uneducated I am. This is even though I have been a staunch supporter and Trustee of TWAM for a number of years and helped support a number of other cultural events and organisations too.
The last 12 months opened my eyes to some of the most innovative, interesting and incredible arts organisations and venues, real hidden gems that are located within our wonderful region. Culture Bridge have more recently supported some transformational initiatives through their Partnership Investment Fund which provides match funding for activities to improve access to culture for young people, alongside tackling real societal issues. The organisations and projects supported include better engagement with young people, tackling mental health issues, improving access to arts for more deprived and disadvantaged individuals, improving literacy, and ultimately improving people’s life chances and choices through arts and culture.
The last 12 months opened my eyes to some of the most innovative, interesting and incredible arts organisations and venues, real hidden gems that are located within our wonderful region.Ammar Mirza CBE
Over the coming months the North East will host the first ever Newcastle International Film Festival, shining a light on the Film and Creative Industry that collectively add over a £100Billion every year to the UK economy. The Great Exhibition of the North is taking place centred in and around Newcastle, the Tall Ships are coming to Sunderland and the list goes on. Thousands of young people visit our museums and theatres through a whole range of programmes offered by the Arts Council, all of which helps connect and develop them, in an open and inclusive manner. Art and culture is for everyone.
The importance of culture cannot be overstated and even though I come from an Asian Heritage I was born and brought up in the North East considering myself to be as Geordie as anyone else, and at times even more so. Something that as North Easterners’ we can all relate with, we are industrious, hospitable, friendly and above all resilient. Coupled with our rich arts and cultural offering, I think makes us the best region in the world and above all else clearly demonstrates that culture is the golden thread through the fabric of our society.
PS Please watch out for the BIG PIE Challenge- www.pieproject.org – on the 23rd March and encourage your local school to sign-up. This year we have included a creative element with the Newcastle International Film Festival.