A template for cultural regeneration according to Arts Council Chair

Sir Nicholas Serota at National Glass Centre

Published on 11 October 2017

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, visited Sunderland this week to meet leading figures from the city's arts and creative industries sector.

He was impressed by Sunderland’s collaborative approach to embedding arts and culture into the city's ambitious regeneration plans – which includes the setting up of a new company to operate and develop cultural venues. 

During a tour of National Glass Centre Sir Nicholas met Vice-Chancellor Shirley Atkinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Graeme Thompson, Sunderland 2021 Director Rebecca Ball and National Glass Centre Director Keith Merrin, as well as the City Council’s Chief Executive Irene Lucas and MAC Trust Director Paul Callaghan. The Arts Council Chair also met Councillor John Kelly at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens and later attended an event hosted by Paul Callaghan to launch a new book ‘Culture in the City’ – a 350-page volume charting Sunderland's cultural impact on the world from Bede to bridges.

In an address at the launch, Sir ‘Nick’ Serota – wearing a t-shirt designed by people involved in the Young Urbanists programme – said: “I’ve had a really good day and seen how Sunderland is using its past to point to the future. The creation of partnerships and how these have worked is evident, and you have more than fulfilled promises made to funding bodies such as Arts Council and Heritage Lottery.

“What Sunderland is doing is remarkable and a template for using culture as a tool for regeneration - the path you have set on is not something I have encountered anywhere else. I’ll be back in the spring  whatever the result of the CIty of Culture bid. I wish you every success and look forward to working with you all.” 

Graeme Thompson, University of Sunderland’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and chairman of Sunderland Culture added: "We were delighted to welcome Sir Nicholas to the university. He was able to see the investments we have made in National Glass Centre and our plans for the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. We were able to introduce him to academic colleagues, artists and curators from the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries. He was also able to hear about the work of the university-led Cultural Spring project which works to engage communities with art and performance. 

“More importantly he was able to discover more about the university's unique partnership with the city council and local businesses to place investment in arts and culture at the centre of Sunderland's economic regeneration. His support and enthusiasm for what's happening in Sunderland is greatly appreciated."

Sunderland Culture is a partnership created to lead the city’s cultural strategy, programme, and venues, formed by the University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Music Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust.

In an address at the launch, Sir ‘Nick’ Serota – wearing a t-shirt designed by people involved in the Young Urbanists programme – said: “I’ve had a really good day and seen how Sunderland is using its past to point to the future. The creation of partnerships and how these have worked is evident, and you have more than fulfilled promises made to funding bodies such as Arts Council and Heritage Lottery.

“What Sunderland is doing is remarkable and a template for using culture as a tool for regeneration - the path you have set on is not something I have encountered anywhere else. I’ll be back in the spring  whatever the result of the CIty of Culture bid. I wish you every success and look forward to working with you all.” 

Graeme Thompson, University of Sunderland’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and chairman of Sunderland Culture added: "We were delighted to welcome Sir Nicholas to the university. He was able to see the investments we have made in National Glass Centre and our plans for the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. We were able to introduce him to academic colleagues, artists and curators from the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries. He was also able to hear about the work of the university-led Cultural Spring project which works to engage communities with art and performance. 

“More importantly he was able to discover more about the university's unique partnership with the city council and local businesses to place investment in arts and culture at the centre of Sunderland's economic regeneration. His support and enthusiasm for what's happening in Sunderland is greatly appreciated."

Sunderland Culture is a partnership created to lead the city’s cultural strategy, programme, and venues, formed by the University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Music Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust.