Cultural Spring’s £80,000 offer to artists to create new work

Tens of thousands of pounds are up for grabs to create new artwork in Sunderland, starting with three projects receiving up to £15,000 each.

The Cultural Spring is looking for three research and development projects for the initial commissions. The money will cover the costs of all production and engagement work with local people. The initiative is open to any art form and the engagement aspect is key.

Cultural Spring is particularly interested in work around one or more of the following: celebrating diversity, the environment, celebrating the outdoors, older people and ageing well, children, young people and families.

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At least one idea will be chosen for development into a large-scale project with a budget of between £50,000 and £80,000 to create major productions for the public. The work will be developed during 2023/24 and displayed during 2024.

Dance project Rush is among The Cultural Spring's past successes.

The deadline for proposals is 10am on Tuesday, November 1. Interviews with the Community Decision Making panel are on Monday, November 28.

The Cultural Spring has a successful track record in commissioning large-scale projects, including a sound and light spectacular which celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Customs House in South Shields.

There were also two large-scale, mass movement performances featuring dozens of local dancers. Summer Streets commissioned Ross Millard of The Futureheads to deliver a community based, free music festival showcasing local talent.

Summer Streets is still going strong and there have been other artistic successes beside.

Heart of the House, a sound and light spectacular celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Customs House, is among the Cultutal Spring's past successes. Picture by Rick Kenworthy.

Emma Horsman, project director of The Cultural Spring, said: “We’re delighted to offer these large-scale research and development pieces of work for Sunderland. What is crucial to them is that they will be co-created with local residents as genuine partners in the work.

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“We want to commission work that is ambitious, exciting and includes our communities in the creation, development and realisation of whatever is produced; be they artworks, events, performances or festivals.

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"The work must also have the potential to scale up at the end of the initial R&D period.

The Summer Streets parade.
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“We are looking for work that has the potential to engage residents in any and all of the five areas across Sunderland: East, West, North, Coalfields and Washington.”

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