Emma is the Project Director at The Cultural Spring, the Creative People and Places programme across South Tyneside and Sunderland. The Cultural Spring is led by the University of Sunderland in partnership with three other local organisations. Creative People and Places is funded by Arts Council England, to increase arts engagement in communities that have previously had little investment from the arts. There are currently 21 projects across the country, with £37 million invested into the first phase of the project and £21 million invested in phase two. During her time with The Cultural Spring, Emma has worked with local people, artists and arts organisations, community groups, businesses and team members to create large scale projects, devise a community engagement programme across 20 local authority wards in a range of venues, primarily non-arts venues and developed a range of access points for people to engage in arts and culture in their local area. Some of this work has led to new arts leaders emerging, some new art groups becoming self-sustained and local people being involved in making decisions about the work that is commissioned in their local area.
Prior to The Cultural Spring, Emma was the Cultural Development Manager at The Customs House, a combined arts venue and Arts Council NPO, based next to the River Tyne in South Shields, North East England. Emma specifically led on participatory work with children and young people, and was actively involved in Arts Award as a trainer and adviser (an arts qualification for young people aged under 25). Emma spent three years at Arts Council England, North East in the performing arts team. This included assessing grant applications from artists and organisations, acting as the key point of contact for some venue based organisations and supporting capital projects for new and refurbished venues.
Emma’s first key role in the arts was as an Events Organiser at Event International a company that specialises in the conceptualisation, creation and delivery of festivals and site specific work. Whilst at Event International Emma worked on SIRF (Stockton International Riverside Festival), the Mouth of Tyne Festival and Newcastle Gateshead’s Eve of Sail of Parade event for the Tall Ships as well as European funded partnerships with other European outdoor arts festivals – Eunetstar and Meridians.
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