Original urban music

Northumberland based sound artist and composer Michael Freeman ran workshops in the Newcastle City Futures exhibition, offering participants the opportunity to investigate Newcastle’s soundscape and make downloadable recordings using a range of instruments made by Michael from recycled materials.

The recordings were taken by Michael back to his studio and he has composed a piece of city sound art, available at  https://soundcloud.com/michael-freeman/in-quay-a-city-soundscape.

You can find out more about Michael and listen to more of his compositions at


Exhibition comes to a close

19 days, 17 partners, 24 free public events, and 2300 visitors later and the Newcastle City Futures exhibition has come to an end. Leader of the Council Nick Forbes officially closed the exhibition at a reception on Tuesday 10 June.

We have been overwhelmed by the public’s response to the question ‘What would you do?’  The exhibition and events series became an innovative public engagement process as well as an excellent exhibition and rumination on the city’s heritage and future.

Huge thanks go to all of our partners, who have taken a leap of faith in entrusting us with archive material and agreeing to contribute to public debates, and our volunteers, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to open the doors!

We are currently in discussion with the city council and its partners about the future for the physical exhibition and have many ideas for what’s next.  Watch this space….!

Nick ForbesLeader of the Council Nick Forbes officially closing the Newcastle City Futures exhibition.


Do you have a story to tell us?

We received this lovely email from Shona Thomas, Curatorial Assistant at Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums this morning. Thank you Shona! We’re so glad you enjoyed the exhibition (and the pinboard) and could tell us more about the city… Lots of people have been telling us what is special about the city – and what needs protecting. It has been a really eye opening few days…
“I really enjoyed my visit this morning and have told everyone else how good your exhibition is!
I just thought I’d tell you where I stuck my pin: the medieval gatehouse of St Bartholomew’s Nunnery, now better known to folk who never look above the shopfronts as Yummies kebab shop. Back in the day, when Newgate Street was lined with the gable ends of thatched houses, the lane from the gatehouse led into the nuns’ orchard, with views across the fields to the Greyfriars’ monastery near Pilgrim Street…
Anyway, well done you and the team!”


So, we’re about halfway through the exhibition and have had around 1,300 people through the doors which is not bad for a ‘pop up’ exhibition!  But it’s not all about numbers and fortunately feedback on the exhibition has been overwhelmingly positive.

Comments from the visitor book and on twitter include:

“Thought-provoking exhibition”…”Highly recommended”…”Fascinating”…”excellent exhibition”…”well worth a visit!”

As the Pro Vice Chancellor for Humanities and Social Sciences Charles Harvey (a supporter of the exhibition) said “The exhibition and events seem to have fired the imagination for many. What an outstanding success!”

And this is what one visitor had to say about it 🙂



Sharing the Love…

One of the best things about working on Newcastle City Futures has been meeting and working with our vast network of partners.  The exhibition couldn’t have happened without the generosity of our partners, who have given us images, objects and models as well as good will!

Shona Thomas, Curatorial Assistant at the Discovery Museum, has been especially helpful and has written this lovely blog post ‘Sharing the Love’ about the experience…www.twmuseums.org.uk/engage/blog/sharing-the-love/

Crushing Strength


Our Project Manager Anne Fry received a call from local film-maker James Newrick about a short film he was putting the finishing touches to.  The final edit ‘Crushing Strength’ is a beautifully shot 5 minute abstract documentation of reinforced concrete /mid century architecture and tiled mosaic work in Newcastle.  The film will be screened as part of the Newcastle City Futures exhibition daily in The Guildhall.

You can contact James at newrick6@hotmail.com and view Crushing Strength at James’ Vimeo Channel http://vimeo.com/user5701748.

Archaeologist Adam

In full explorer gear drama faciliator and workshop leader Adam Carruthers (Fulcrum Arts and Research) bought a wonderful array of materials into The Guildhall on Saturday morning to help inspire young people to build their own city.  A variety of smells, building materials and images of unusual buildings helped young visitors to make their own designs for a new city.  Amongst other things we saw designs today for a cat hospital and a stink-bomb factory called Camfi!

Adam will be running workshops in The Guildhall for the next two Saturdays from 11am-1pm.

Newcastle: City of Sanctuary

Despite it being a very wet and windy evening on the Quayside, an audience gathered on the evening of 23rd May to listen to presentations organised by Newcastle City of Sanctuary.   Professor Mark Shucksmith, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal (NIRES), welcomed people to the event and introductions were done by Sarah Smart of Newcastle City of Sanctuary, who also reported that Newcastle had been conferred official City of Sanctuary status.

Presentations were heard from Simon Underwood (International Newcastle), Helen White (Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums), who introduced the new Destination Tyneside exhibition at the Discovery Museum, and Peter Sagar (A Living Tradition).  Lyndsay Cross (West End Refugee Service) introduced a screening of one of a number of films produced by WERS with support from NIRES which capture the stories of asylum seekers/ refugees and their experience of finding ‘a sense of belonging’ as they have made homes for themselves in the North East.  These films can also be found at the WERS youtube channel.  If you haven’t yet seen them please do visit their youtube channel, they are well worth a watch.

Opening reception

We were delighted to welcome Professor Sir Peter Hall to officially open the exhibition on Friday 23 May.  After an introduction from Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Sir Peter told how Newcastle has a strong tradition of innovation in planning and architecture.  Come down to the exhibition and see for yourself…

opening2 opening1