Luke McTaggart, local artist from Amble, compiled his research paper "The Arts Ecology of Amble and the Surrounding Area" during his final year at Northumbria University. Luke has been shortlisted for the North East Emerging Artist award which you can read more about in our previous blog post.
In this blog post, Luke has kindly shared a few extracts from his report which he thought the Culture Northumberland audience, may enjoy reading or find insightful.
"The last five years in Amble have been defined by an ever-hastening process of regeneration and development. the increasing dominance of the tourism industry over traditional sectors like, coal mining, fishing and manufacturing has significantly changed the character of the locale. Whilst Amble stands out as a particularly strong example of regeneration, the changes that have occurred in the town are indicative of a wider pattern across Northumberland.
This previous half-decade has been one of steady growth for the area's creative industry and arts scene. Amble has seen the opening of the Dry Water Arts Centre, the local Development Trust winning a little under £400,000 in funding for a Bird-themed Sculpture Trail and the repurposing of a nearby former Broomhill Colliery building into a collective of Artist Studios.
Beyond Amble and Broomhill, The Old School Gallery in Alnmouth has developed an exhibition of programme drawing in increasingly high-profile artists to the area. Whilst the Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery in Alnwick has an upcoming exhibition programme consisting of contemporary artists from the area." Luke reports.
Taking the term "ecology" and applying it to the arts, Luke says that the term used in the 'arts scene' is being: the different organisations and individuals working in an area and to what extent these organisations and individuals are interlinked and interdependent.
Throughout the report, Luke talks about the six organisations in the area who engaged with through the project through interviews with key individuals.
Luke worked with The Amble Developmental Trust, Alnmouth Arts Festival, Bailiffgate Museum and Gallery, Dry Water Arts Centre, The Old Bath House and The Old School Gallery - Alnmouth. He says: "All of the organisations and individuals in the report are in my opinion the key players in the arts ecology of the area. The past five years have proved crucial in fostering the right conditions for the emergence of an art scene. I believe that this dynamic and the strengthening of the arts sector provides the opportunity for the area to become an arts destination. A location that draws visitors in, on the basis of its arts provision.
To conclude, there has never been a more exciting time for the arts in and around Amble. There are never before seen levels of investment, interest and engagement with the arts, that if seized upon could establish the area as an arts destination within the region."
Do you agree with Luke's findings? It would be great to hear feedback.