Sunderland’s Lauren Laverne launches North East culture drive

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WEARSIDE’S own Lauren Laverne joined senior figures from the arts, business and local government to launch a new cultural partnership for the North East.

The partnership is led by the 12 authorities in the region and aims to promote the area’s cultural assets locally as well as nationally.

Lauren, who was born in Sunderland and now works as a TV presenter and cultural commentator for the BBC, said: “This is about the 12 local authorities and other bodies coming together to promote the rich cultural heritage and cultural life we have in the area.

“Culture is one of the ways we communicate, and it helps define who we are.

“I’m from the area and know that we also have economic and social difficulties.

“But this is not about cultural life or economic life, it is about trying to get the best of both.

“Oscar Wilde knew what he was talking about with his remark about some people knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

“Culture has enormous value both socially and economically.”

The launch took place in Durham Castle, a few yards from the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition.

Partnership joint chairman John Mowbray said: “The success of events and exhibitions such as the Lindisfarne Gospels has given us confidence to explore further opportunities.

“We aim to build on our cultural assets and enhance the image of the North East.

“Communication is important, we want people in Stockton to know what’s happening in Sunderland, and we also need to promote what we have nationally.”

Mr Mowbray’s joint chairman is Sunderland Council leader Paul Watson.

He said: “By working together we have more chance of achieving greater things.

“As a Sunderland councillor, I would love to see a World Heritage Site declared in the city.

“There is more chance of that happening with the backing of the Cultural Partnership.

“There are great things happening already which we need to promote more effectively.

“The Grayson Perry tapestry exhibition in the Winter Gardens has been covered well by the Sunderland Echo, but it also deserves wider regional and national attention.”