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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus

What did we learn? The Big Culture Northumberland Co-working day follow up


In June, we hosted our very first 'co-working' day in partnership with North East Cultural Freelancers and Creative UK.


The event was supported by Northumberland County Council with in-kind venue support from Alnwick Playhouse, Queens Hall Hexham, Berwick Maltings and Museums Northumberland.


Over 60 cultural freelancers took part from home and across five cultural venue sites.


We covered two current topics in the cultural sector;

  • Profile Raising

  • Diversifying income

We then hosted follow up 'self development' workshops with coach and mentor Sarah Raad which 18 people took part in.


We tried to cater to the diverse range of brilliant freelance people in our sector and address their post pandemic struggles. We were thrilled with the event and have lots of learning and fuel to take forward into the future.



Visual Scribe 'on the day' Artwork - Daniel Weatheritt


Feedback from the day


Feedback from the day was very positive overall and we are working on a film to share more.

  • 100% said they would attend a cultural co-working day in the future

  • Folks would have appreciated free tea, coffee and water during the day

  • People would have liked to more space to work if they wanted to opt out of the talks.

  • A suggestion was made to have the day advertised as accessible and encourage a more diverse range of freelancers to attend including those from the deaf community. NB - we always ask for access requirements and would support any one to access our events and work in the way they needed.


"We are really happy to work with Northumberland Culture on supporting and empowering freelance creatives in the region. The whole process of the event was great - although I had some personal planning for the day, I always know I am in safe hands with Claire. Her communication to the team was brilliant and she had everything in hand. The day itself was a lovely and generous day with lots of space to reconnect with each other - something so many of us need at the moment. We shouldn't underestimate how people are feeling with in person events right now, and this one felt like the perfect number of people in the room with the right level of space to find your pace. In hindsight the online aspects of the day would be slightly separate from in the room - but this is all good learning for the future."

Leila d'Aronville - North East Cultural Freelancers


Participant feedback





"It was great to connect from home and feel able to participate, network and learn as well as access funding and have the opportunity to develop new ideas."


"It was a good day and I felt it was useful to share experiences with other freelance workers in the cultural sector."


"It was really well put together and fantastic that it was both hybrid and in-person. The venue was good and the speakers really interesting and I left feeling inspired about creating connections with creatives in Northumberland in the future."


"Super useful - good to learn more about Creative UK, also connect with Daniel illustrator, refreshing to hear Penny speak about their approach to Old School Gallery

I found it made me feel more connected to those working in my region."


"I enjoyed joining the live session online with Challenge Fund. Great to hear what other creatives are doing in the county and meet new people, as well as a good way to understand the fund better before applying.

Inspired to develop ideas, build connections, explore opportunities, a good networking opportunity."





"The profile raising was the most interesting/inspiring part of the day because that is where I am at the moment. The talk from Penny and Elliott were particularly useful. It was great to hear the different ways Claire diversified her income and I chatted with someone at the end who said they had found that really interesting."


"Very well, and really interesting to listen to different business strategies. It's a comforting reminder that there are lots of ways to promote and grow your business, and to keep experimenting and trying/testing new marketing ideas."


What's happening now?

  • We have a monthly co-working session in The White Room at Alnwick Playhouse. Please contact Claire Venus to book.

  • Leila D'aronville is co-ordinating a Newcastle based co-working space

  • We are planning another big co-working event next year.

  • We are working with the recipients of the Creative UK challenge fund to share their practise and mentor them in their challenges.


Watch this space for updates from Culture Northumberland this Autumn.

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