Mackem Map among last ever exhibitions to be held at Sunderland library site

Artist Ian Potts with his giant Mackem Map.
Artist Ian Potts with his giant Mackem Map.
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A Mackem Map will be one of the last exhibitions to be held at Sunderland City Library before it closes on Fawcett Street.

The 15ft map, which features people’s memories and stories of the city, will be among the last cultural activity taking place at the site before the library relocates to the Museum and Winter Gardens on November 19.

Presenter Jeff Brown's addition to the map

Presenter Jeff Brown's addition to the map

The artwork is the brainchild of artist Ian Potts who has held workshops across the city to plot people’s memories, including one attended by Look North’s Jeff Brown who contributed his memories of attending Redby School in Roker.

It’s an ever-expanding map, which has been supported by the Cultural Spring, and from this weekend people will be able to add to it in the first of a series of five workshops.

During these workshops, people will have the chance to add their own stories. Ian also hopes to meet up with anyone who has already made a contribution during the last three decades.

He is particularly interested to hear from map makers who came to a work shop he ran with the late Pat Burn in Silksworth more than fifteen years ago.

A previous display of the Mackem Map

A previous display of the Mackem Map

Ian said: “The response to the map has been over whelming. Barry Curran, the former mayor of Sunderland, felt his own intense passion for the city was perfectly reflected by the maps. The reaction from Mackems has proved equally enthusiastic.”

Previous workshops have been held at the Stadium of Light with veterans from the Armed Forces working with the Forward Assist Charity. The map has also found a home at St Cuthbert’s Church Red House, Roker United Reform Church, the Seaburn Centre, Glenholme and Falstone care homes, Chillingham House, Northern Saints Primary School and Grace House.

It has also been seen at the Cultural Spring’s Summer Streets Festival in Thompson Park, shown to Young Asian Voices at one of their meetings and even been featured in a film promoting Sunderland in support of the Sunderland 2021 City of Culture Bid.

Ian will run five workshops, supported by the Abbeyfield Society, during October. These sessions are being held at the City Library and Arts Centre on

Artist Ian Potts with his giant Mackem Map.

Artist Ian Potts with his giant Mackem Map.

Saturday, October 22 from 1-3pm; on Monday, October 24 from 12.30pm to 2.30pm; on Thursday, October 27 from 11.30am to 1.30pm; Friday, October 28 from noon until 2pm and Saturday, October 29 from 10am to noon.

More information can be found on the map on Ian’s website http://eon-arts.co.uk/index2.html.

You can also email Ian your own personalised map at e-on-arts@hotmail.com.