Building a new Case for Culture across the North East

26 November 2014

The Case for Culture - a key element of North East Culture Partnership’s (NECP) plans - is to begin. There will be a number of opportunities for all those involved in arts and heritage to get involved and help shape and inform the Case for Culture.

The Case for Culture will set out an ambitious vision for cultural development in the North East over the next 15 years. It is part of NECP’s drive to secure investment in culture in the North East and recognition for the sector’s significant potential for growth. It will demonstrate culture’s role in helping to define the distinctiveness of the region, as well as contributing to broader outcomes including jobs and growth, health and wellbeing, and attracting tourist visitors to the North East.

After an open call for expressions of interest the NECP steering group, which includes representatives from the Partnership’s board and key agencies such as Arts Council England and English Heritage has recruited Beamish Museum to coordinate the consultation process. They will be in touch with organisations representing over 20 arts and heritage specialisms in the region – including local cultural partnerships, established networks, universities and business networks – to start the process of gathering views and ideas.

Creative consultation sessions are also planned across the region in the New Year, bringing all parts of the sector together and ensuring smaller organisations and individual practitioners have the opportunity to contribute.

John Mowbray, Co-chair, NECP, said: “The Case for Culture will be an important tool in supporting the North East Culture Partnership to influence key decision-makers across a range of sectors. It will establish the credibility, expertise and significance of the cultural sector to the economic life, health and wellbeing of the whole of the North East.”

Jane Tarr, Director, Organisational Resilience and Environmental Sustainability, Arts Council England, said: “It’s vitally important that the Case for Culture is informed and shaped by the views, ideas and ambitions of individuals and organisations right across the North East with an interest in culture. This will enable the initiative to imagine what the region’s cultural infrastructure and programming might look like fifteen years from now, building on the region’s strengths and all that makes the North East so wonderfully distinctive.”

Bill Griffiths, Chair, North East Historic Environment Forum, said: “We are delighted to support the Case for Culture. People across the North East, whatever their age, or wherever they are from recognise the difference that vibrant and thriving cultural organisations and activity continues to make to all those who live, visit or do business here.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, North East, said: “The Case for Culture is key to ensuring that the sector continues to engage and inspire as well as to build upon its vital role in the development of the North East economy over the next 15 years. The North East’s cultural offer is distinctive and it’s great that heritage is playing such a key role, alongside other business partnerships, to help shape and inform the region, making it a great place to live and work.”

The North East Cultural Partnership is asking organisations to register their interest in the project by contacting

For further information contact:
Culture Partnership Manager: Jonathan Blackie on 07802 917014 or

Note for editors:

North East Culture Partnership: Background and achievements 
The North East Culture Partnership (NECP) enables the region’s cultural organisations to work strategically with local authorities, business and universities to develop the cultural agenda for the North East. Our partnership is ambitious about what culture can bring to communities and how it can create distinctiveness. In a time of change and economic challenge the NECP is campaigning for new funding and more regional influence over funding decisions as an important part of the region’s development.

Our Board of 24 includes elected members from each North East local authority as well as leaders from universities, arts and heritage organisations and business. NECP is supported within Association of North East Councils.

North East Culture Partnership is:
Developing 15 year vision for culture in the North East.

  • Providing advocacy for culture with LEPs and strategic brokerage around EU funding.
  • Working with NE business to develop 100 artists’ residencies.
  • Linking festival offer through a new festivals website.
  • Coordinating five universities support for creative SMEs.

NECP is working at a time of unprecedented local authority cuts which has seen a drastic reduction in the number of arts and heritage officers as well as challenging cuts to venues, events and libraries. Despite this the 12 local authorities, five universities and business sector continue to recognise the value of culture and the positive contribution it makes to the North East economy and communities.

North East Cultural Partnership Steering Group
The group leading the development of the Case for Culture comprise:

  • Ros Rigby (Chair, Sage Gateshead)
  • Jonathan Blackie, Culture North East
  • Matthew Jarratt, Culture North East
  • Keith Merrin, Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives
  • Annabel Turpin, ARC
  • Ruben Kench, Stockton Council
  • Anna Siddall, English Heritage

Funding partners
The development of the Case for Culture is being funded by ANEC, Arts Council England, and English Heritage.

North East Historic Environment Forum
The North East Historic Environment Forum (NEHEF) brings together organisations with experience in the various aspects of the heritage sector to provide a united voice for major heritage organisations and ensure a coordinated approach to sustaining and developing our heritage for the benefit of North East England.

Partners include: English Heritage; Heritage Lottery Fund; Arts Council England; North of England Civic Trust; Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums; Historic Houses Association; Institute for Historic Building Conservation; Northumberland National Park (representing protected landscapes); Natural England; Northern Architecture; The National Trust; Country Landowners Association, the Association of North East Councils and the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers.