Inspired By: Our Friends in the North

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We asked the lovely Bob, who heads up our Inspired By programme, to tell us all about the events that are taking place right across the North this summer as part of Inspired By which will also celebrate Northern art, design and innovation.

Newcastle and Gateshead is the stage for Great Exhibition of the North this summer, showcasing the outstanding and extraordinary art, culture, design and innovation from throughout the North of England. The 80-day programme is packed with inspiring activity across 30 venues, but we don’t want you to stop there!

We have also brought together an expansive programme Inspired By the themes of Great Exhibition of the North. These additional events and exhibitions reach into their hundreds and not only take place on both sides of the River Tyne, but also beyond our city canvas – from Sheffield to the Scottish borders. Great Exhibition of the North’s Inspired By programme shines a spotlight on some of the best northern festivals, exhibitions, organisations, museums, artists, businesses, breweries, performers, community groups, restaurants, academics & designers who have put forward their events as part of the Exhibition.

There’s so much happening across the North this summer, so Get Inspired and be sure to check out the complete listing! Here are my top picks you shouldn’t miss, whether you’re visiting Great Exhibition of the North in Newcastle and Gateshead or you’re looking for something in your own town, city or region.

5 of the Best: ‘Inspired by’ in Newcastle and Gateshead

Future Engineers: Aardman Exhibition at Boiler Shop

Dates: 26 July – 2 September, Free (drop in)
Calling all Future Engineers! This summer, the ultimate tinkerer, Wallace and long-suffering Gromit are coming to Toon. Experience the brilliant Aardman Exhibition at Boiler Shop which features sets, displays and props associated with Wallace & Gromit, including Wallace’s Corner from Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention and a Model-maker’s Desk, showing the equipment used by Aardman model-makers. This is a brilliant collaboration between Aardman and Jesmond Heritage. Ey up Gromit!

InSight at Cafe from Crisis

Dates: 22 June – 9 September, Mon–Thu 8.30am-3.30pm, Friday 8am-3pm Free (drop in)
Café from Crisis will be hosting a free exhibition including art that was created by Crisis Skylight Newcastle clients. The paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures celebrate Crisis members’ creativity, demonstrate their unique perspectives of homelessness and draw on the rich culture of the city.

Greenpower Goblin Electric Car Build at Sage Gateshead

Dates: 3 July, 9am – 3pm Free (drop in)
Five schools will attend Sage in Gateshead on July 3 and each will build a Greenpower Electric powered car with bodywork. This is ahead of a race day as part of the Great Exhibition on Spillers Wharf on July 5. The event will be open to the public.

Geordie Scran Cookery Class at Blackfriars Restaurant

Dates: 4 July, 6-9pm £35 per head, prebook tickets
As part of Great Exhibition of the North’s  Inspired By programme, Blackfriars Restaurant are hosting a special Wednesday Cookery class dedicated to local home comfort food, good old Geordie Scran! Don’t know your stotties from your hinnies? Never heard of a floddie or ever wondered what a pan haggerty really is? Well submerge yourself in the culinary wonders of Newcastle and learn to create some canny scran.

The Great North Engineering Experience at Mining Institute

Dates: 22 June – 9 September Tue – Sun 10am-6pm, Free (drop in)
Meet your everyday, invisible superheroes! Discover how engineers have transformed the world we live in and learn about the modern engineering industry that exists in the North of England in 2018 through The Great North Engineering Experience. A fantastic opportunity for all ages to explore engineering, and test your own creative skills.

5 of the Best ‘Inspired By’ across the wider North

Wylam Brewery Collaboration: The Northern Powerhouse Brew Series

The breweries of Buxton, Cloudwater (Manchester), Black Lodge (Liverpool), Magic Rock (Huddersfield), Northern Monk (Leeds), Hawkshead (Kendal), Thornbridge (Sheffield), Box Social (Newcastle) have joined forces with Wylam Brewery in Newcastle to develop eight new beers that celebrate the North. Only 6,600 cases of the beers will be produced, with each one containing eight limited edition 440ml cans. The cases will be available to purchase from the start of Great Exhibition of the North (22 June 2018). Find out where you can buy the beers. 

Bradford Literature Festival

Dates: 29 June – 8 July, Bradford City Centre (ticketed)
Bradford Literature Festival is a distinctive, innovative, genre-spanning festival which combines literatures from around the world and across all literary genres to reconnect audiences with classic and contemporary literature. BLF creates an atmospheric blend of voices, combining the work of leading writers, performers and poets with emerging talent and crossing all cultures with the seamless integration of diverse artists, audiences and issues.

Great Northumberland

Dates: 7 July – 1 September, A range of free and paid for events at venues across Northumberland.
Great Northumberland is 56 days of family-friendly arts, culture, heritage and adventure at venues across Northumberland. From castles to coastline, galleries to gardens, stately homes to summer parties and picnics, it’s all happening in Northumberland from 7July to 1 September 2018.

Queens of the Coal Age at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Dates: 28 June – 28 July, Manchester (visit the website to book tickets)
“WE ARE WOMEN AGAINST PIT CLOSURES AND WE’RE OCCUPYING THIS PIT” Anne, Elaine, Dot and Lesley. Four ordinary women, facing the closure of their community. It’s 1993 and the Parkside Colliery pit may be winding down, but they’re not giving up. This powerful play, full of Northern wit is associate artist Maxine Peake’s first play for the Royal Exchange following the critically acclaimed, Beryl. Queens of the Coal Age is the true story of four women taking a stand in the face of a changing world.

Vintage by the Sea, Morecombe

Dates: 1 – 2 September, Daytime events 11am – 6pm. Free (drop in)
Vintage By The Sea Festival is a free family festival celebrating the brilliance of timeless design, fashion, art, vehicles, entertainment and culture. Inspired by the wealth of creativity from the 20th century, Vintage By The Sea is Hemingway Design’s tribute to the cultural movements of the 1920s to 1990s

There are also hundreds of events, exhibitions, performances & festivals from across the whole of the North including, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, The Spirit of The North photography exhibition from Historic England, Northumberland Cheese Company’s ‘Great North Gift Box’, Sheffield Creative Guild’s Second Birthday Party, Killingworth Billy at Stephenson’s Railway Museum, Touch Exhibition at Hexham General Hospital, Mister Finch at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Eat North festival in Leeds, Northern Supper Club at Ouseburn Farm, Live Mural Painting of George Stephenson at the Biscuit Rooms, Northern Sustainability Innovations event at the RVI, The Arts Society talks at Tyneside Cinema, Kynren, South Tyneside Festival, Cyclone Festival of Cycling, Ouseburn Festival and Open Studios, The Creative Fuse Conference, 2018 Bio Conference, NARC Fest, Make My Day Community Festival in Morecombe, Just So Festival, Glitch Gaming Festival and so much more.

Browse the full Inspired By programme and search for events near you on our heat map of the North

Submissions are still welcome from events and performances across the North.


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