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Community arts projects and commissions

We develop bespoke projects and artist commissions, responding to relevant events, anniversaries or demand. This page showcases some of the current and most recent projects we have been involved with.

Current commissions and residencies

Newton Aycliffe at 75

Celebrations are taking place in Newton Aycliffe to mark the 75 years since it was created on 19 April 1947, under the New Towns Act 1946.

To mark the occasion, a special song has been written and recorded to celebrate the town's past, present and future, with culture and community arts a key aspect of the county's bid to be named UK City of Culture 2025.

Organised by Durham County Council in partnership with Greenfield Arts, the We Are All Together project includes members of the adult choir Harmony and students from Greenfield Community College, alongside north east musician Martin Longstaff.

Also known as The Lake Poets, Martin's song Shipyards has been played over 30 million times on worldwide streaming platforms.

Durham County Council · We Are All Together

Icon for pdf We Are All Together audio transcript (PDF, 80.0kb)

Ed Carter digital installation at Hardwick Park - The Festival of Minerva Saturday 19 March 2022

For the last 18 months, we have been working with composer and interdisciplinary artist Ed Carter to produce a free, awe-inspiring art and sound installation spanning across Hardwick Park in Sedgefield.

Drawing inspiration from work by 18th Century architect James Paine when it was formerly the private gardens of John Burdon, Ed has used the park's history and cultural themes to create pop-up installations of visual and sound artworks as well as live performances, which will be situated around the park.

On the evening of Saturday 19 March, visitors will be able to attend the Festival of Minerva, named after the ancient Roman festival which took place on this date, and follow the trail to experience Ed's work.

Following the circuit walk around the park's lake, the Festival of Minerva will feature installations such as music playing from the tower of the Gothic Ruin - created in collaboration with the Sedgefield Handbell Ringers.

Event start: 5.00pm. Please arrive no later than 5.30pm. Visitors should make their way around the park's main lake in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from the visitor centre and walking firstly to the Tower, visiting the site of the banqueting house, gothic seat, site of the bath house, and Bono Retiro ruin, before making their way to the Temple of Minerva for the final performance of the night at 6.40pm. 

Event finish: 7.15pm

Car park closes: 8.30pm

Free: normal car parking charges apply

Café: open 10.00am-6.00pm

Toilets: open 10.00am-7.45pm

Clothing: This is an outdoor event. Please wear comfortable shoes and wrap up warm in layers. Please consider bringing hats, gloves, scarves as appropriate, also consider bringing a torch. 

Recent projects

Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens - Outdoor Windows

To celebrate the wealth of culture and heritage alongside the stunning grounds and gardens, Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens with support from Durham County Council has commissioned artist Stuart Langley to create a series of stained glass effect artworks to bring the inside outdoors. 

The seven 'Outdoor Windows' take inspiration from iconic objects or architectural features unique to Ushaw. 

'Outdoor Windows' follows on from the stand-out light installation 'Inside Out' which brought Ushaw's iconic facade to life as a seasonal spectacle of neon and projection during winter 2019.

For more information go to Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens

The Durham Hymns

The Durham Hymns was created to commemorate the centenary of World War One and this 40 minute recording was made at the first performance, in Durham Cathedral in 2016, however it was recently included in the Remembrance Day 2020 programme.

The performance features a 100-piece community choir, members of the semi-professional chamber choir Voices of Hope, and a 60-piece brass band made up from members of the Durham Miners' Association Brass Band, Bearpark and Esh Brass Band, and the Reg Vardy Band.

The lyrics and spoken word narration were written by former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who drew inspiration from the personal letters, diaries and memoirs of the people of County Durham who experienced the war first-hand. Orlando Gough and Jessica Curry each composed four of the hymns.

Icon for pdf The Durham Hymns video transcript (PDF, 132.3kb)

Library online activities

During lockdown the community arts team worked with libraries to provide online activities for families whilst libraries and venues were closed.

Story Time

Online story time sessions for children and their families were delivered every week by local performers and artists. The stories are all available to view via the Libraries online YouTube playlist on Durham County Council's YouTube channel. There are 21 stories to enjoy including children's classics, Aesop's fables and local legends. 

Story Team

Local artist, director and writer Ruth Mary Johnson and sound artist Nick John Williams collaborated on an interactive story making project Story Team. Families, children and young people were invited to contribute online to a story which unfolded over four weeks. Each stage of the story along with the final version can be viewed via the Libraries online YouTube playlist on Durham County Council's YouTube channel. 

Contact us
Community Arts Team (East)
0792 029 5261

Community Arts Team (West)
0778 602 7469
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