Tale of city’s culture proves a page turner with new book

Culture In The City book launch
Editor Paul Callaghan and Chairman of the Arts Council England Sir Nicholas Serota (R)
Culture In The City book launch Editor Paul Callaghan and Chairman of the Arts Council England Sir Nicholas Serota (R)

The story of how Sunderland’s culture can be a catalyst for change has been put into print.

The book charts and celebrates the recent renaissance in the city’s cultural sector and touches on the city’s music scene, its venues and the role of the city’s university.

Paul Callaghan, who has edited the new book, Culture in the City.

Paul Callaghan, who has edited the new book, Culture in the City.

It also takes in the Cultural Spring project, the upcoming Culture Quarter, Wearside’s women and the National Glass Centre.

It has been written by 23 people who work in the city’s arts and culture sector, from Helen Green, the director of new venue The Fire Station, which will welcome audiences from November 23, and leaders from Sunderland University, to Ross Millard, Futureheads guitarist Ross Millard, who has headed up the Summer Streets festival in recent years.

Rebecca Ball, project director for the Sunderland’s City of Culture bid, is another of the authors, as is Keith Merrin, chief executive of Sunderland Culture, the newly-created body that will manage most of the city’s cultural assets.

The 320-page, hard-back book is edited by Paul Callaghan, chairman of the MAC Trust, and is a result of a conversation between Paul and Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England.

The city has become somewhere that creative people want to produce great art and culture for a population who increasingly wish to enjoy it.

Paul Callaghan

Paul added: “Darren was impressed by how the city was using culture in economic and social regeneration and suggested a book could showcase the ‘thought leadership’ coming out of Sunderland’s cultural sector.

“The result, Culture in the City, is a celebration of the transformation that Sunderland is currently experiencing in both its cultural confidence and capacity.

“The city has become somewhere that creative people want to produce great art and culture for a population who increasingly wish to enjoy it.

“The book makes it clear that culture, in all of its diverse forms, makes Sunderland a better place by enriching people’s lives and providing greater opportunities for its children and young people and enhancing its image and reputation.

The front cover of the book, which brings together words from 23 authors.

The front cover of the book, which brings together words from 23 authors.

“Being shortlisted for the City of Culture 2021 is evidence of how far we’ve come and how we’re now viewed at Westminster and across the UK.”

The book will be available at Waterstones, other bookshops and online for £25 from the end of this month.