Northern Heartlands is a charity based in County Durham bringing the creativity of artists together with individuals, community groups, schools and partner organisations. Together, we create performances, activities and events that change how people feel about themselves, the places where they live, and what happens there.
We work with people living in the deeply rural areas of Teesdale and Weardale, and with the post-industrial towns and villages of the former Durham coalfield.
Current projects include health and wellbeing activities to support people living with poor mental health (including social prescribing), a town-wide community heritage project, and a partnership project protecting endangered plants in Teesdale. Read about our current projects here.
“You brought what I think was a broken community back together - I have never felt so proud in my life” (Audience Member)
We recognise that wider change is needed, so we also play a strategic role facilitating better communication and networking between the arts and non-arts sectors, and helping partner organisations improve their engagement with people in communities.
Partners and stakeholders have included the Failte Ireland, Town & Country Planning Association, Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, Visit County Durham, Natural England and the North Pennines AONB Partnership.
“What sets Northern Heartlands apart is artists using non-traditional ways to engage with communities and help tease out information. The project supports our Conservation 21 aim of putting people and their values at the heart of environmental projects”
(Natural England Conservation 21 Case Study)
We believe strongly in ‘co-production’ – working with people and artists to develop the projects, activities, and events they want. This means we don’t always know what the end will be when we start.
We also believe that high quality arts, culture and heritage should be available to all. That's why we take our activities, performances and exhibitions out to where people are, whether that’s a village hall, town green, community centre, online or even someone’s front doorstep.