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  • Our Mission | Northern Heartlands

    Our Mission... ... is to engage and support local people and communities by using creativity to develop agency, build social capital and foster individual potential. Communities and the artists we work with are at the heart of what we do. We know that people are the real experts in where they live, the issues they face and what needs to change, so we always start by listening. We trust in the skills and knowledge of creative practitioners because we have seen the incredible results, both artistically and for the lives of people who take part. We are committed to supporting the careers of artists in our region. The principles that guide us are set out below, with creativity at the heart of what we do. Our process is a circle because we know that change takes time and trust is hard to earn – so we are in it for the long term with the people, places and artists we work with. We are experimental, we are always trying to learn from successes and failures, and we share that learning. We want to extend understanding between people and across sectors. Our Vision OUR VISION is for strong, connected, and healthy communities, where people are actively involved in shaping their lives and their environment. We strive to achieve our Vision and Mission by: ​ Recognising that each place we work in, and each community we work with, is unique ​ Working with creative practitioners in everything we do ​ Ensuring we always work collaboratively with communities ​ Always reviewing, learning from, and adapting our approach and sharing our learning with others ​ Supporting artists and creative practitioners to reach their full potential ​ Working in partnership Our Way of Working Our Values WE WILL BE: ​ COMMITTED to what we do, to each other and to those we work with ​ TRUSTED by each other and by those we work with ​​ DIGNIFIED in our own actions and by respecting the dignity of everyone we work with ​ AMBITIOUS for ourselves, for our organisation and the places, the communities, and the individuals we work with ​ AUTHENTIC in all of our actions ​ HUMBLE in respecting and valuing the opinions and beliefs of others We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • 404 | Northern Heartlands

    There’s Nothing Here... We can’t find the page you’re looking for. Check the URL, or head back home. Go Home

  • 404 | Northern Heartlands

    There’s Nothing Here... We can’t find the page you’re looking for. Check the URL, or head back home. Go Home

  • Stories and Memories from Ukraine | Northern Heartlands

    stories and memories from ukraine Back to projects We’re delighted to be hosting ‘Stories and Memories from Ukraine’ on our website. ​ OLEK DEV, based in Kyiv when war broke out back in February 2022, has spent his time recording memories and traditional stories from some of the older generation who have remained in the city throughout the Russian invasion. ​ The project provides a way for Ukrainians here in UK and across the globe to listen to some lovely authentic Ukrainian voices – and for those surviving the turbulence in their own country to share stories from happier times. ​ Here's the link to hear the authentic voices: Memories of Ukraine ​ Here are the verbatim tranlations by Olek: ​ Lyudmila Hryhorivna ​ Galena ​ Fairy Tale Ivasyk Telesyk ​ Elena Vladimirovna ​ Zinaida Pavlovna ​ We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • 404 | Northern Heartlands

    There’s Nothing Here... We can’t find the page you’re looking for. Check the URL, or head back home. Go Home

  • Events | Northern Heartlands

    Events Find out what is going on in and around County Durham to get involved with! No upcoming events at the moment We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • Bishop Auckland Heritage | Northern Heartlands

    Bishop Auckland heritage Back to projects Bishop Auckland Heritage Trail "On the Map" co-created by textile artist Gillian Arnold with local schools and members of the community BISHOP AUCKLAND HERITAGE TRAIL.pdf CLICK IMAGE FOR BISHOP AUCKLAND HERITAGE TRAIL AUDIO Scan this QR code to find out more about Bishop Auckland history and heritage We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • Projects | Northern Heartlands

    Here you can find out all about our current projects. Social Prescribing Hidden Heritage Stories from Ukraine Turning the Hourglass Plants on the Edge Bishop Auckland Heritage Projects Past Projects We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • Great Place Scheme 2017 - 2020 | Northern Heartlands

    Great Place Scheme 2017 - 2020 Back to projects Northern Heartlands was originally one of 16 Great Place Schemes – funded jointly by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund – which came out of the landmark 2016 Culture White Paper. Our Great Place Scheme in Co Durham focussed on the more rural areas of the county as well as some of the towns and villages of the former Durham coalfield area. We worked with hundreds of local people - listening to their stories, building confidence, valuing their hopes and dreams, increasing their sense of pride in their place and its heritage - and providing some innovative and exciting events and creative activities along the way. We also worked with a range of different partners at a strategic level, with an overall aim of building confidence and enabling the voices of our communities to be heard by those who make decisions on their behalf. ​ The work included a series of Speaker & Discussion Events: creative conference sessions involving community representatives, decision-makers, artists, thinkers and the business community who were all invited to come together to share ideas on issues ranging from Neighbourhood Planning to Hill Farming and from Tourism to Placemaking. ​ Our external evaluator described our Great Place Scheme as 'unique and ambitious'. Read the report here Project Gallery 1/29 Thank you to our generous Funders: We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • Our History | Northern Heartlands

    Our History We began life back in 2017 as one of England’s 16 ‘Great Place Schemes’. Jointly funded by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scheme was designed to pilot new approaches to local investment in arts, culture and heritage. ​ Northern Heartlands’ ‘great place’ was the south-west corner of County Durham; an area comprising the Area Action Partnership districts of Teesdale and Weardale (rural, isolated villages and hill farms), Bishop Auckland & Shildon, and the ‘Three Towns Partnership’ of Tow Law, Crook and Willington (small towns and surrounding settlements of the former Durham coalfield). Over the three years, projects ranged from small one-off workshops to a major new community opera created with local communities in partnership with Opera North. A small grants scheme supported by County Durham Community Foundation saw 47 projects developed by community groups. Approaches ranged from an innovative 18-month project commissioning an artist/researcher to work with hill-farmers to harness their views and voices, to ethnographic engagement with a cluster of small, neglected settlements in the Dene Valley Parish – once destined for demolition under the infamous Category D scheme when the pits closed – and supporting a major outdoor arts event in the former coal-mining town of Willington where, prior to Northern Heartlands’ engagement and as one young person succinctly put it, “nothing ever happens”. At the end of the Great Place Scheme, it was clear to us that this work had only just begun. Our evaluation revealed that our work had a profound impact on our communities, including: ​ increased pride in the area increased confidence in themselves greater connection to the heritage and culture of the area as well as having a positive impact on health and wellbeing At the end of 2019 we made the decision to establish Northern Heartlands as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in its own right. Going forwards we will continue our work primarily in the south-west corner of County Durham, building on existing relationships with communities as well as striving to forge new ones in order to continue the work we have begun. We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • Opportunities | Northern Heartlands

    Opportunities Volunteer with us We are always on the look out for willing volunteers to help support our work. ​ If you'd be interested in volunteering for us, send an email to and we will be in touch! ​ Call outs are often shared via our mailing list so make you subscribe using the form at the bottom of this page. Work with us We’re not currently recruiting any staff, but do keep an eye on this page if you’re interested in working with us As a Registered Charity, we currently have a small but very effective team of Trustees, but we’re on the lookout for more! We would be very interested in hearing from you if you share our values, believe in our vision and mission, and you have expertise in finance and fundraising, and/or if you’re from one of the communities in our area of benefit in County Durham. Click on the button below for our Trustee Recruitment Pack. If you are an Artist, click below to go to our current opportunities. Go to Artist Call Outs Trustee Recruitment Pack We Need Your Support Today! Donate

  • Hidden Heritage Evaluator | Northern Heartlands

    External Evaluator Hidden Heritage and Wellbeing We are delighted to have been awarded funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund for a new project, “Hidden Heritage & Wellbeing”, and we are now seeking an independent evaluator for this project. ​ The project will run from January 2022 to July 2023 and a final monitoring and evaluation report will need to be submitted by August 2023. The project will take place in Willington, County Durham. Key requirements of the role are: An understanding of community heritage and experience of evaluating heritage projects some evidence of understanding health and wellbeing outcomes The fee available for this work is £9,300 (inclusive of VAT and expenses) ​ Deadline for applications is 12.00pm, Monday 14th February 2022 ​ Full details are available here including background information and how to apply. More information We Need Your Support Today! Donate

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