Together Again gave people space to explore their connection with their towns North Shields and Wallsend. Residents shared their hopes and vision for the high streets and town centres. Artists Jay Sykes, Alizon Bennet and Sofia Barton ran a wide range of exciting creative experiences.
Celebrating Positive Changes
Together Again had a positive impact on those who took part and the wider community. The artist led experiences increased people’s confidence talking about issues that mattered to them. One family at North Shields Customer First Centre shared their positive thoughts about the redevelopment taking place in Northumberland Square and the wider heritage action zone cultural activity.
In addition, creative experiences gave people time to connect reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness that had been exacerbated by the pandemic. For example, one new mam with her ‘lockdown baby’ attended a workshop. She shared she was so happy things were opening up and allowing her to get out again and wanted to know more about our other projects.
Reaching Diverse People in Our Communities
Furthermore, we reached people who may have fewer opportunities to take part in creative activities. This included carers, families, refugees and asylum seekers. One asylum seeker told us he had been sent to North Shields by the home office. He talked about our beautiful green and blue spaces giving him peace. most people new to the area were thankful for the welcome they had received by the community.
Gaining Insights Following Covid-19
Throughout ‘Together Again’ the wider community was included taking part in conversations through social media and the exhibition of artwork. Listening to the community Helix Arts staff gathered insights about residents’ hopes for both towns.
Creative Producer Elizabeth Kane said: “Together Again happened at a crucial moment for communities. With talk of ‘the new normal’ fading and pandemic restrictions lift, Together Again gave people the chance to visualise a fairer, greener and more creative future. What should the high street could become? What should our town look, feel and work like.”