Projects and commissions
Our Community Arts Team develop bespoke projects and artist commissions, responding to relevant events, anniversaries or demand. This page showcases some of the current and most recent projects the team has been involved with.
Current commissions and residencies
Ed Carter digital installation at Hardwick Park
From Autumn 2020 until Spring 2021, artist Ed Carter will be creating a digital installation that explores the influence of architect James Paine (1717-1789) on the park, and how connections between historic themes can still be observed within the park's landscape.
The project will focus on the significance of Paine's iconic Temple of Minerva and its dedication to the Roman goddess of wisdom, arts, and warfare.
Using influences from the built structures, their surroundings, and the wider landscape, the project will bring together staff, volunteers, visitors, and local schools to discuss these themes and contribute their thoughts. There will be regular updates online via the Hardwick Park Facebook page asking people to share their experiences and memories of the park.
When finished, the project will be put on display for visitors to enjoy virtually, including through digital content accessible via the Love Exploring app.
Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens - Outdoor Windows
To celebrate the wealth of culture and heritage alongside the stunning grounds and gardens, Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens with support from Durham County Council has commissioned artist Stuart Langley to create a series of stained glass effect artworks to bring the inside outdoors.
The seven 'Outdoor Windows' take inspiration from iconic objects or architectural features unique to Ushaw.
'Outdoor Windows' follows on from the stand-out light installation 'Inside Out' which brought Ushaw's iconic facade to life as a seasonal spectacle of neon and projection during winter 2019.
For more information go to Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens
The Durham Hymns
The Durham Hymns was created to commemorate the centenary of World War One and this 40 minute recording was made at the first performance, in Durham Cathedral in 2016, however it was recently included in the Remembrance Day 2020 programme.
The performance features a 100-piece community choir, members of the semi-professional chamber choir Voices of Hope, and a 60-piece brass band made up from members of the Durham Miners' Association Brass Band, Bearpark and Esh Brass Band, and the Reg Vardy Band.
The lyrics and spoken word narration were written by former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who drew inspiration from the personal letters, diaries and memoirs of the people of County Durham who experienced the war first-hand. Orlando Gough and Jessica Curry each composed four of the hymns.
Library online activities
During lockdown the community arts team worked with libraries to provide online activities for families whilst libraries and venues were closed.
Online story time sessions for children and their families were delivered every week by local performers and artists. The stories are all available to view via the Libraries online youtube playlist on Durham County Council's YouTube channel. There are 21 stories to enjoy including children's classics, Aesop's fables and local legends.
Local artist, director and writer Ruth Mary Johnson and sound artist Nick John Williams collaborated on an interactive story making project Story Team. Families, children and young people were invited to contribute online to a story which unfolded over four weeks. Each stage of the story along with the final version can be viewed via the Libraries online youtube playlist on Durham County Council's YouTube channel.