Online Winter Workshop Programme launched

AS the Winter nights lengthen and the uncertainty around Covid restrictions continues, The Cultural Spring has launched a series of online arts workshops.

The project’s Online Winter Workshop Programme features creative writing, singing and crafts.

“We’d normally launch our seasonal programme of workshops about now, but because of the current Covid restrictions and uncertainty about what might lie ahead, we’ve decided our Winter programme will all be online,” explained Michael Barrass, Project Producer for The Cultural Spring.

“We’re working with some very talented local artists and practitioners who’ll be leading the workshops and places,” he added.

There are five workshop programmes:

·      Winter Writers – starts Monday, November 23, fortnightly until March 29, 2021, and led by writer and tutor Amanda Quinn. All materials provided and no experience is necessary;

·      Folking Around the World – led by experienced tutor Sinead Livingston. These singing-focused workshops will include stories about the different countries the songs come from and will start on Thursday, November 26 and will continue weekly until Thursday, February 11;

·      Christmas Street Gallery: Creating and Showing Work for Your Window – 40-minute sessions led by Eleanor Matthews, all on Tuesday, November 24. These sessions run four times during the day so participants can select a morning or evening slot;

·      Christmas Cards: Surreal Collage – also led by Eleanor Matthews, these 40-minute sessions will be on Tuesday, December 8, again with four sessions during the day;

·      Winter Lights: Installations for Your Home – Eleanor’s last workshops will be on Tuesday, January 12 (40 minutes) and will guide participants through recycling Christmas lights into new light installations. There are four different time slots from which to choose.

The workshops are aimed at people living in Sunderland and South Tyneside, and are run on a pay what you can basis.

“We don’t include a set charge to ensure that cost is not a factor that deters anyone from taking part. However, if you are in a position to make a donation to the running costs of the workshops at the end of the programme this will be greatly received. This enables us to offer future workshops and helps to secure the long-term future of The Cultural Spring,” explained Michael.

“If you wish to make a donation, you can decide the amount that is right for you. There is no pressure to make a donation. If you’re not in a position to make a donation you are still very welcome to attend.

“Ideally we’d like people signing up to be able to attend every session they’re booking for, but we appreciate things can come up at the last minute that mean you need to change your plans. However, if you anticipate that you will miss more than a couple of sessions, we ask you not to book a place in the workshops this time around as we know many of the workshops will be oversubscribed,” he added.

To book a place, go to

The Cultural Spring aims to increase arts participation in areas that don’t have a tradition of arts engagement. It is funded by Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places project and its four partners are the University of Sunderland; the Customs House, South Shields, Sunderland’s Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust and Sangini, a women’s health organisation.