Cultural Strategy Launched in South Tyneside

Posted by: Press team on 18 March 2022 16:31

Arts, heritage and creative partners came together this week to launch an exciting new shared vision for South Tyneside's cultural sector.

Making Waves 2022-2027, South Tyneside's new Cultural Strategy has been developed to drive forward culture by building on the area's unique and vibrant cultural offer, drawing on its vast creative talent and strengths and developing them to help reach more people.

It also focuses on the positive impact culture has on the health and wellbeing of people, on the wider local area and the significant contribution it makes to the local economy, jobs and tourism - helping to promote South Tyneside as an attractive place to live, invest and enjoy.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: "Whether people are attending a show, exploring the Borough's heritage attractions or taking part in community craft sessions, there's no doubt that culture plays a key role in enhancing and enriching people's lives.

"The Borough has so much to offer with its rich history, stunning coastline, vibrant events programme and strong sense of place.

"Making Waves sees these important heritage sites, beautiful natural assets, brilliant artists, creative organisations and diverse communities all working together to raise aspirations, strengthen the Borough's cultural offer and increase opportunities for all.

"Good quality cultural experiences can support us to deliver our vision for South Tyneside to thrive as a vibrant, happy and healthy place to be."

Making Wavesreflects the 'ripple effect' that the strategy aims to achieve across the Borough's cultural sector and wider community.

It looks at how partners can work more collaboratively, share experience and pool resources, to help generate more opportunities for creative groups, provide innovative new cultural experiences and deliver bigger and better events across the Borough.

The document has been developed in partnership with key cultural and heritage partners including Arts Council England, The Customs House, The Cultural Spring, Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives, Groundwork North and South Tyneside, Creative Seed CIC, the National Trust and many more.

The strategy was launched at The Customs House during one of a series of creative sessions supporting artists, creatives and small enterprises to build their networks, be inspired and make the most of South Tyneside's assets.

Among those in attendance was South Shields-born and world-renowned animator and artist, Sheila Graber, whose hand-drawn illustrations feature in the strategy document.

She said: "The strategy is great - it puts the heart into the arts. It brings together the makers, the planners and the do-ers.

"As I like to say, we did it 'all together like the folk of Shields', with everybody working to rejuvenate the arts and bring it into the community. It is also about engaging people to have something to pass the time and, as my Aunty Mabel would say, 'to make it meaningful and positive so they can celebrate it and not destroy it."

Hannah Mather, Collections and Engagement Coordinator at Jarrow Hall, said: "It's exciting to see how we can all work together and for Jarrow Hall to be involved.

"South Tyneside is a centre for learning and creativity. To build on this and bring all these partners together is really positive."

Fiona Martin, Deputy Director at The Customs House, said: "We were delighted to be able to host the Cultural Strategy. It is something that we are really excited to be part of. It's also wonderful to bring together our amazing arts, culture and heritage partners in the Borough."

Geoff Woodward, of Tyne & Wear Museums & Archives, said: "This gives us a chance to create something very special within the Borough."

Making Waves was developed following a Borough-wide public consultation, in which more than 500 residents, community groups and key stakeholders both large and small shared their views.

Councillor Atkinson added: "What's really important about Making Waves is that it has been shaped by, and will be led by, the Borough's cultural sector to be used by any local creative organisation operating in South Tyneside. It is something that the entire arts, culture and heritage sector can get behind and can benefit from, helping to nurture and grow creativity and culture for the future."

Last autumn, South Tyneside was named as one of 54 Arts Council England Priority Places. ACE works closely with Priority Places to develop new opportunities for investment. Moving forward, these areas will receive long term support from ACE, with arrangements remaining in place for a minimum period of three years. The new cultural strategy will enhance the impact of this work.

For further information about Making Waves, South Tyneside's New Cultural Strategy, visit  

Notes to Editors:

The South Tyneside Cultural Partnership Group are:

  • Arts Council England Creative People and Places Project (ACE CPP) The Cultural Spring
  • Citizens Assembly South Tyneside (CAST)
  • Creative Seed CIC
  • Groundwork South and North Tyneside, Jarrow Hall
  • National Trust - Souter Lighthouse
  • Sangini
  • South Tyneside Council Cultural Services
  • South Tyneside Music Hub
  • Sunderland University
  • The Customs House
  • Tyne Coast College
  • Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM) - Arbeia South Shields Roman Fort and South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.
Last modified: 18 March 2022 16:33