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Sunderland Culture keeps the city creative during half-term

ByRob Lawson

May 7, 2020

SUNDERLAND Culture has produced a range of arts activity to help bring generations together during next week’s half-term holiday.

An online memory scavenger hunt, family portraits, Sunderland’s Rebel Women and intergenerational singing form part of a varied programme for the younger and older generations to work together on during Whit Week.

The fun starts on Monday, May 25 and the programme is designed to bring families who currently can’t see each other closer together through art and creativity.

One project aimed at getting the older generation talking to the younger generation is a Memory Scavenger Hunt, inspired by the 20th Century Sunderland Gallery within Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, explained: “Our Museum is full of collections that tell stories about Sunderland’s history and the people who lived here. While we are closed we’d love to see younger Wearsiders talking to older people by Zoom, Facetime, phone-call or text.

“These older people could include parents, grandparents, other family members or carers and we’d encourage younger people to ask them about their lives in the past. The Museum’s Memory Scavenger Hunt is about collecting family memories and getting people to think about what memories they’re making now.”

There will be a worksheet available on Sunderland Culture’s website (www.sunderlandculture.org.uk) for people to record their memories.

The intergenerational theme will continue with family, home-based workshops inspired by the No Strings exhibition at National Glass Centre.

Sunderland Culture Creative Director Rebecca Ball explained: “Our programming team has come up with a series of workshops inspired by each of the seven international artists in our new online exhibition, No Strings. We’ll be highlighting one of the artists alongside a family activity, so keep an eye out on our social media channels or Sunderland Culture’s website.”

Another project led by artist Andrew Holder, Sound and Vision, will also be launched during half-term week and will coincide with the national Age of Creativity Festival. The idea is for parents, grandparents or care givers to share a significant song with their children or grandchildren.

“It may be the first record you purchased as a teenager or the song you chose to dance to at your wedding, we all have special songs which come to be the soundtrack of our lives. Sound and Vision will encourage older people to share that song and then explore it visually, drawing something in response to hearing the song,” said Rebecca.

“The activity can be done together even if you don’t live in the same house, either via a video call, or over the phone. More information about Sound and Vision is available on our website,” she added.

Another opportunity for children to get involved in some great online activity, is a project inspired by Sunderland Culture’s Rebel Women of Sunderland initiative. Rebel Women celebrates women from Sunderland who have achieved amazing things from the pharmacist Hope Winch to the singer Emeli Sande.

“We’ve produced portraits of the women which are available as downloadable colour-in sheets and we’re also doing some filmed “story-time” sessions (similar to CBeebies bedtime stories), where Corinne Kilvington, from Theatre Space North East, will read some of the stories,” explained Rebecca.

“We hope the activity will get mothers and daughters or grandmother and granddaughters talking about the inspiring women in their lives,” she added.

Again, the activity sheets will be available on the Sunderland Culture website.

One half-term project has been inspired by artist Andrew Tift’s One Day You’ll Be Older Too exhibition, which formed an important part of the Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition hosted at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens last year.

Coun Kelly explained: “This project is inspired by Andrew’s stunning drawings of residents at Washington care homes. The drawings should have been on display at Arts Centre Washington now, but the exhibition had to be cancelled because of COVID-19.

“So we are inviting families to take part in an intergenerational drawing activity. We want children to select a photo of their grandparents or someone older than them they look up to and use it to make a pencil drawing. The activity is accompanied by a worksheet with some information about Andrew’s work and key facts about realistic drawings, together with simple guidelines around shading.

“Children and young people from Arts Centre Washington’s Saturday Art Class have been invited to complete their drawings in advance, a selection of which will be featured in the worksheet. The children are also encouraged to post their artwork out to their grandparents and challenge them to do the activity in reverse, showing them how close they are despite the social distancing measures!”

For more information see the Sunderland Culture website and to see Andrew’s stunning portraits visit www.artscentrewashington.co.uk

Also during the week Sunderland Culture will be launching an opportunity for children and young people to gain a new qualification.

Rebecca explained: “Our Discover Arts Award is a fun way for children and their families to explore the arts world, finding out about artists and sharing their learning.

“Over six weeks, there will be different challenges uploaded on to our website and shared across social media. They include activities based around our exhibitions and projects, challenges inspired by our venues, and the projects will showcase some of the artists we work with.

“At the end of the six weeks young people submit their work and will get a certificate. We hope to invite all those who take part to a celebration event at one of our venues when it’s safe to do so.”

The six-week programme is free to take part in and Sunderland Culture is covering the moderation costs of the first 150 participants. More details are available at www.sunderlandculture.org.uk and if you have any questions, send them to artsaward@sunderlandculture.org.uk.