Two artists have been chosen for an exciting community project, designed to tap into the creative energies of the people of Scotswood.

Aaron Guy, from Newcastle and Robert Parkinson, from Manchester, have been selected for the residency, which is focussed on looking to the future as the landscape and community in Scotswood continues to evolve.

Named ‘Scotswood – Connect, Explore, Create’, the project is one of several that Newcastle City Council is supporting across the city.  It will provide local people with the opportunity to connect – through creative interventions – explore – by developing ideas together – and create – by producing artwork that celebrates the unique characteristics of the people and the place.

Aaron said: “We want to use creative ideas as the catalyst for bringing whole community together. By exploring different artistic ideas, we can start a conversation that challenge opinions and perceptions in a positive environment.

“We are aware that The Rise has brought a lot of new people into the community and that the developers have worked very closely with the existing residents over a number of years. Our aim is to foster and forge relationships between people who may be new to the area and those who have lived here all of their lives.”

The pair recently worked together on part of an exhibition called ‘Common Ground’, working with members of the Guidepost Social Club, exploring how art could help to articulate their desire for new members to take notice of their club.  Although this new project offers very different opportunities and challenges, Robert and Aaron will hope to employ similar methods to reach out to Scotswood residents and spark their creativity.

Robert added “We didn’t want this residency to be about creating a single piece of art to act as a snap shot of this particular moment in Scotswood’s history.

“We want to use the time we have here to trigger something that will endure long after we have gone. We will be attempting to establish a structure or foundation, upon which new ideas and stronger bonds between people can be forged, leaving a lasting legacy.”

The project is to be jointly funded by Newcastle City Council and The New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC) – a partnership which comprises the council and developers Barratt Homes and Keepmoat – that is building the new homes at The Rise.

It is to be delivered in partnerships between the council, NTWDC, The Scotswood Centre and Healthworks – a local charity which provides support for people wanting to make positive changes to maintain or improve their health.

Cllr. Kim McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Culture and Community at Newcastle City Council, said: “It is hoped that this residency will encourage local people to explore their attachment to the Scotswood area, past and present. This is a major regeneration area for the City and through this residency we are keen to celebrate its past and look forward to the future with young and old – and existing and new – members of the community.”

Lee McGray, Development Director with NTWDC, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this exciting initiative. We hope that everyone has the opportunity to and will engage with the activities to reflect on the progress of the development so far and the changing community.”