Bring the Happy was The Cultural Spring’s Winter Tales project that began in winter 2014. The project aimed to spread some happiness on the streets of our wards, working in collaboration with Leeds based Invisible Flock. Invisible Flock had previously run the project across Europe and further afield, asking people to place their happy memories on giant maps of the cities and towns they live in.

Using installations at an empty shoe shop in South Shields, the Roker Pods which toured our wards, and National Glass Centre residents of South Shields and Sunderland were asked for a happy memory, where it took place and how happy it made them feel on a scale of 1 – 10. These memories were then placed on to an interactive digital map of the area forming part of a digital archive with memories from around the world. What emerged from the project wasn’t just personal happy memories, but a glimpse into the stories that make a town or city. Memories included first loves, regrets, births, weddings, chance encounters and life changing moments.

The project culminated in three live shows hosted at the University of Sunderland’s North Shore in late February. The musical performance retold the collected stories from hilarious to heart-breaking, uplifting to upsetting.