The Cultural Spring, working in partnership with The Word South Tyneside and Sunderland City Council, is seeking to commission artists or creative practitioners to develop and deliver participatory projects that can engage local residents without the need to have access to technology. We are looking for projects that can take place over the phone, through letter writing / other means of correspondence or via the radio.

We are not looking for projects that solely focus on craft packs as we are already working with artists to create these.

These commissions will explore different ways of engaging participants who are not able to join online sessions. Any activity proposed must be delivered safely within Covid-19 pandemic public health guidance –


The Cultural Spring is the Creative People and Places project for South Tyneside and

Sunderland, funded by Arts Council England. We are a consortium of four partners, The Customs House Trust Ltd, Sunderland Music Arts & Culture (MAC) Trust, Sangini and led by the University of Sunderland.

Our mission is for arts and culture to be an expected and accepted part of everyone’s lives in Sunderland and South Tyneside. Since 2014, our programme of creative activities and events has engaged over 40,000 people.

Over the past nine months, The Cultural Spring has adapted its programme to ensure people living in South Tyneside and Sunderland have still been able to access arts and cultural activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to restrictions and limitations being placed on social gatherings, a popular element of our programme was our creative workshop programme. The workshops would typically take place in accessible and welcoming community venues. However in response to the restrictions, we are reimagining our programme and trialling different approaches to engaging people in our communities.

The Brief

We are seeking 4-8 artists or creative practitioners to develop and deliver participatory non-digital projects.  The proposed projects can be in any art form, but must be able to be delivered fully in a non-digital way.

We are looking for projects to run from February to April 2021.

The Cultural Spring will manage recruitment of participants through our partner organisations and will offer support to ensure appropriate measures are in place to safeguard artists/creative practitioners and participants when working together.

Artists and creative practitioners should have a Disclosure and Barring Service check and Public Liability Insurance (cover of up to £5 million) in place.

The commission is open to artists and creative practitioners of any art form and background. We are particularly keen to hear from South Tyneside and Sunderland based artists and creative practitioners, or those who have a track record of delivering arts projects in either or both of these geographical areas.

Who is this commission aimed at?

The projects created as part of this commission are aimed at residents in South Tyneside and Sunderland, specifically residents who are socially excluded due to the pandemic and digitally excluded for whatever reason.

Our mission is for everyone in these areas to have access to arts and cultural activities, but we are open to you designing your project around a particular theme or to appeal to a particular age range for example. We expect projects to be pitched at beginner/entry level.

We will still seek to accommodate access needs as much as possible to enable engagement in the commissioned projects and we have a separate access budget to facilitate this.


We have a total budget of £6000 and are looking to support 4-8 projects, projects that can engage people on a regular basis over a 6-12 week period. We expect a minimum of 12 participants will be supported to engage on each project. This fee is inclusive of all costs including preparation time, materials, etc.

We are looking for projects to focus on the following geographical areas:

South Tyneside – projects can be for residents living across South Tyneside, this includes: Hebburn, Primrose (Jarrow), Whitburn/Cleadon, Boldon, South Shields. We have funding to cover 3-6 projects in these areas.

Sunderland – projects should be aimed at residents living in Doxford and Silksworth, we have funding to cover 1-2 projects in these two areas.

You will be expected to support some marketing and evaluation/monitoring activities as part of this commission and we ask you to consider this when determining your artist/creative practitioner fee.

The fee will be paid in two instalments: 80% at the start and the final 20% upon completion of the workshop programme.

You’ll receive support from The Cultural Spring team in the form of marketing, administrative and producing support as required.

This project is being funded by Arts Council England, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council’s East Area Committee. 

Submit a Proposal

 Please either submit a written proposal (500 words max) or a video/audio proposal (5 mins max).

Please include in your proposal:

  • Your approach to the commission outlining:
    • What you plan to deliver
    • How many sessions / local residents you can work with
    • The geographical area/s you plan to focus on
    • How long each interaction will last
    • How materials will be supplied to participants (if required)
  • The budget required and how you plan to spend it.

You can also supply a CV if you wish, but we ask you to limit this to no more than two-sides of A4.

Please also complete this online monitoring form. The form is anonymised and therefore is not considered alongside your proposal and will not be seen by the selection panel. However it helps us understand who is applying to work with The Cultural Spring and identify any gaps in the reach of our recruitment.

Please email your proposal or video/audio file to Larger files can be submitted via a platform such as WeTransfer, Dropbox or Google Drive if required.

The deadline to submit your proposal is 10am on Monday 11 January 2021

We will notify everyone of the outcome of their application, but due to the number of proposals we expect to receive it may not be possible to provide individual feedback on unsuccessful applications.

Applications will be considered by a Community Panel and project partners (via a digital platform) during the w/c 18thJanuary 2021 . We may invite applicants to meet digitally with the panel if elements of your proposal require further discussion.

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact

Please note that The Cultural Spring will be closed from Tuesday 22 December 2020 – Monday 4 January 2021.