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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

Creative UK's Challenge Fund - Confirmed Activity in Northumberland

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

In June 2022, we hosted the Big Culture Northumberland Co-working Day in partnership with Creative UK and North East Cultural Freelancers.


Over 60 cultural freelancers took part from home and across five cultural venue sites. The event was supported by Northumberland County Council with in-kind venue support from Alnwick Playhouse, Queens Hall Hexham, Berwick Maltings, November Club and Museums Northumberland.

At the Big Culture Northumberland Co-working Day, Creative UK launched a £40K challenge fund for cultural freelancers based North of the Tyne.


The grant focused on two areas

– Dynamism and Diversifying Income for Growth and finding tangible solutions for both.


During the event, Creative UK hosted a group session to encourage participants to road test their ideas and receive inputs from others. We are very pleased to announce the beneficiaries and project intentions of the challenge grant based in Northumberland:

Frances Arnold - Testing a model of temporary studio use https://www.francesarnold.co.uk/


Receiving this grant from Creative UK enables me to hire studio space on a daily basis from Northumberland-based creative freelancers in order to test a model of temporary studio-use. It also creates opportunities to network with peers in the county and share my learning online. I will be celebrating the unique Northumbrian landscape of each studio through a new collection of drawings and print. Trina Dalziel - Peer Led Research Workshop for Creative Practitioners in North Northumberland to discuss and share knowledge about Arts Funding Barriers and Opportunities

“Creative UK made the application process for the Freelance Challenge super easy and relatively quick to do which drew me to it. Without the ease of application I would not have applied.” Susannah Ronnie - New Networks!

“As a freelance creative based in rural Northumberland, the opportunity to receive support from Creative UK at this point in my writing career is invaluable. It will enable me to expand my network, move forward with the theatre writing aspect of my practice, enhance my workshop facilitation experience and support the development of my playwriting peers who have been similarly isolated as a result of the pandemic.” Beth Wardell and Jess Thomas Harrison - Creative directory for content creators

“Our project recognises the need for collaboration and a space for networking to happen in our niche. We are thrilled to be awarded this grant which is going to benefit those within the cultural sector as well as freelance marketeers. It helped enormously we had the opportunity to talk through ideas at the Big Northumberland Co-Working Day and the support from Creative UK during the process has been phenomenal.”

Sarah Tarbit & Harriet Ghost - Support for female working-class creatives

Twitter - @thunderclatter_ & @harrietghost

"Being recipients of this grant will allow us time to come together, collaborate in new ways and develop an idea for the screen. It’ll also allow us to reflect on our practice and support other female working-class creatives in the region who want to write for television.”


Maureen Lawrie - Research and Development of an Artists' Studios & Venues Directory


The purpose of the idea is to collate a list of venues across Northumberland/North Tyneside that could be rented/made available to artists on a hot-desking type basis.


This helps to address the problem of space/place/location for artists looking for spaces to produce their work, collaborate and be creative without all the overheads of setting up their own space and also creates the potential for additional income for those who have spaces to offer.


The opportunity has dynamism in that it can grow and expand whilst fulfilling a need and solving an identified problem for artists in the area. The grant will help my growth by diversifying my income and providing the opportunity to create ongoing income in the future.”


Claire Venus - New digital skills and engagement techniques https://creativelyconscious.co.uk/ “The grant will see me diversify my skillset and learn 360 video through working with a mentor and making short video clips. I will share this skill with artists and introduce the concept to Northumberland based cultural venues and their participants and audiences.”


Read more about The Big Culture Northumberland Co-working day on our blog here and find the full list of Challenge Grant recipients here.


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