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Sunderland Culture

Sunderland Culture brings together some of Sunderland’s most important cultural assets and activities to realise the ambition of a city brimming with creative potential.

A collaboration between University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council, and Music, Arts and Culture Trust, we became an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in 2018.

This exciting partnership provides opportunities for our students and graduates, across its entire range of activities and venues, including National Glass Centre, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington and The Fire Station, as well as cross-city programmes including Sunderland Stages and our Great Place programme.


New Sunderland Culture logo

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name creatives from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events, get involved in the programme and gain valuable work experience.

It's an exciting time to be in Sunderland as the city drives forward the Twenty Four Seven programme, an ambitious £60m project running to 2024, which will see new venues, pop-up galleries and creative workspaces opening in the city centre, alongside a city-wide programme of events. Students will benefit from a lively and varied programme of arts and cultural activities throughout their time at the University.

Our venues:

Get involved

So how does Sunderland Culture benefit University of Sunderland students? There are regular opportunities for students to get first-hand experience linked to the programme delivered in venues or across the city.

During 2018/19, students and graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at University of Sunderland were involved in a number of exceptional career-enhancing opportunities through Sunderland Culture, including:

  • Our Art and Design students were given the opportunity to present their thoughts on an exhibition of drawings from the Italian master Leonardo da Vinci, as part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Sunderland was one of only 12 UK venues chosen to host the exhibition, 'A Life in Drawing', which featured a total of 144 of Leonardo's drawings from the Royal Collection Trust
  • BA and MA degree shows for glass and ceramics held at National Glass Centre, one of the UK's leading galleries for glass and ceramics
  • BA degree shows for Graphic Design, Illustration and Design, Animation and Games Art and Fashion Design and Promotion were held at Sunderland's historic Museum and Winter Gardens in the heart of Sunderland's city centre. Two University of Sunderland glass and ceramics graduates received prestigious commissions to be part of the National Glass Centre's 21st Birthday Exhibition 'NGC21'
  • University of Sunderland art students and graduates took part in a variety of pop up exhibitions at Sunderland's city centre space 'Mackie's Corner'
  • Six University of Sunderland graduates received Creative Development Bursaries to support the development of their professional practice through Sunderland Culture's 'Unlock' programme
  • Four University of Sunderland graduates received paid career development internships through Sunderland Culture's 'Unlock' programme


In 2019/20, students and graduates will be able to take part in a range of exciting professional development opportunities including:

  • The city is hosting artwork from the acclaimed Arts Council Collection. Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens will be one of only three galleries nationwide to present work from the Arts Council Collection, which will exhibit work by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego, and Gillian Wearing over a three-year period. Some of our students will be involved in exhibiting works alongside these shows
  • BA and MA degrees shows at National Glass Centre, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
  • A series of paid internships through the University of Sunderland’s Robson Creative Internship scheme
  • Work shadowing and placements in curation, learning, marketing and event management
  • Exhibition and commission opportunities
  • Graduate creative training programmes in digital and business development


These are just some of the ways our students can tap into and benefit from the range of Sunderland Culture activities. View the full programme of events and activities.

Learn more

Learn more about Sunderland Culture on the official website.

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