Launching the City of Dreams

Published: 10 September 2018

Next week, NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues launches City of Dreams, a 10-year strategy for engaging all children and young people under the age of 25 in arts and culture.

With the involvement of all the major cultural venues in the city—The Baltic, Centre for Life, Dance City, Live Theatre, Northern Stage, The Sage, Seven Stories, the Theatre Royal, Tyne and Wear Museums and the Tyneside Cinema—along with Alphabetti Theatre and companies such as Unfolding Theatre and Curious Monkey, City of Dreams will help under-25s to enjoy the things available to see and do in the city and to get the most out of being creative.

The strategy and a plan for making it work were written during in 2018 with the aid of nearly 1,000 children and young people and over 200 staff from more than 40 organisations in Newcastle and Gateshead.

The strategy has three main points of focus:

  • Taking Part
    Making it possible for everyone aged 25 and under to take part in creative and cultural activity.

  • The Voice of Children and Young People
    Working with children and young people so they have a strong voice in what cultural organisations do and a powerful say in what happens in the city.

  • Confidence and Skills
    Supporting children and young people to grow their confidence, skills and talents in creative activities.

And because City of Dreams is for all children and young people, whatever their background and wherever they live, their voices will be heard through the Big Culture Conversation in which, every twelve months from November to February, children and young people across the city will be asked to tell what the powers-that-be need to know.

The results of the 2018 Big Culture Conversation showed that creative activity grows children and young people’s confidence, helps them find new talents and to share their voice in powerful ways. All under-25s should be able to get the most out of engaging with culture, heritage art and science.

The initiative will be launched on Tuesday 18 September by special guest Kirsty Lang, presenter on Radio 4’s Front Row, who has made numerous appearances on Newsnight, the Today programme, The World Tonight and Channel 4 News. She has also been chair of the Orange Prize for Fiction, a trustee of the British Council and a visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York. In April this year, she became Chair of Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

The launch will be held at Northern Stage and there will be two events: in the morning there will be a special seminar for arts, culture, heritage and science organisations, highlighting the key insights informing the City of Dreams strategy and allowing time for discussion and the afternoon event will be for leaders in civil society, business, education, culture, the arts, funding organisations and the voluntary and community sector. There will be presentations, announcements, performances and opportunities for networking.

Peter Lathan