The Big Culture Northumberland Co-working Day – Challenge Grant Announcements

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In June 2022, the Creative UK’s North of Tyne team hosted the Big Culture Northumberland Co-working Day in partnership with Culture Northumberland 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 and Museums Northumberland.

At the Big Culture Northumberland Co-working Day, Creative UK launched a £40K challenge fund for cultural freelancers 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 of the challenge grant:

Frances Arnold

My experience working with Creative UK has been very positive. The team have made it easy to understand the grant application process and guidelines, offered opportunities to promote the activity and made the next steps clear and easy to follow. I found it particularly helpful to hear from, and ask questions of, the Creative UK team at Culture Northumberland’s co-working day via video call.”


Trina Dalziel

“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.  Everyone I’ve met or had contact with at Creative UK has been very approachable which I greatly appreciate.”


Claire Venus

“I’ve had a positive experience working with Creative UK who have been very supportive at a challenging time for our industry. 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.”


Susannah Ronnie

“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.”


Moving Art Management

“We are delighted to be able to expand the capacity of our producer team to be able to deliver more arts and cultural projects across the North East and beyond. This investment allows us to unlock potential in our business and expand our impact within the dance sector, benefitting other small businesses and independent artists. This not only strengthens the sector, but also provides employment opportunities, more creative products for local theatres and venues to programme for their audiences, as well as benefiting the local economy. We want to play our part in making this region the go-to place to make new dance work and where careers in the performing arts can flourish.”


Girl About Northumberland

“Finding out our application for the Creative UK Challenge Grant was successful, was the best news not only for Jess and I, but also for freelancers working across Northumberland. It recognises the need for collaboration and a space for networking to happen. 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: they are really fighting our corner which has been amazing to have that support.”


Print in Place

We are four artists who are interested in print in the public realm. The grant will enable Print in Place to make and share new work as a mechanism for increasing our visibility with public audiences, funders and the local business community. It’s great to have the support to help us kick-start this creative challenge! Attending the co-working day hosted by Culture Northumberland was really valuable. Hearing first-hand the experiences of facilitators and other creative freelancers, businesses and artists, helped us shape our ideas for collaboration and informed our approach”


Sarah Tarbit

Creative UK & their associates have been incredibly supportive in this process. The Northumberland Co-Working Day offered opportunities to network and we were not only encouraged to apply for the Challenge Fund but were signposted to lots of other opportunities, too. 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.”



Adinda van’t Klooster

“This grant will help our companies (Noizechoir and Adinda van ‘t Klooster) grow by exploring together the potential of expanding the AudioVirtualizer, a VR audiovisual art experience that generates graphics in response to precomposed soundscapes and microphone input, to be a performance and therapy tool, again responding with graphics to sound input. It will also allow us to reach out to other companies and professionals and hopefully line up future funding.”


Maureen Lawrie

“The grant will help my growth by diversifying my income and providing the opportunity to create ongoing income in the future. This is the first time I have worked with Creative UK.  I like that they seem to understand how freelancers work.  The grant application process was very easy and smooth.”


Read more about The Big Culture Northumberland Co-working day on Culture Northumberland’s blog here.

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