Sunderland stands tall with a rich cultural heritage; home to the award-winning Museum and Winter Gardens recognised by Visit England, the iconic Edwardian Empire Theatre, and the recently revitalized landmarks like Mackie’s Corner and the stunning Fire Station.
The latter will take centre stage as the vibrant venue for the North East Culture Awards this year, solidifying its role as the city's newest hub for live music and performance.
Honouring its rich cultural history, Sunderland is simultaneously embracing an exciting future with ongoing building developments along the riverside.
Notably, the construction of Culture House Sunderland, The National Centre for Creative Smart Cities, is underway and set to open in summer 2025.
Speaking about the development, Leanne Littlewood, Culture House Director said: "As Culture House begins to rise from the ground, the next generation of entrepreneurs will be moving in to harness cutting-edge digital technology and to power the creative resurgence of our ambitious city."
The multi-million-pound visitor attraction will provide a hub and spokes approach for all ages and demographics across the community that is Sunderland, creating a host of local jobs along the way.
"Over its four floors of glass, concrete and steel, Culture House will be a cultural and community venue like no other, with residents playing a huge part in defining the spaces and activities," Leanne added.
"The building itself overlooks the ever-changing Keel Square, a place that has quickly become the beating heart of the city centre, as part of the wider Riverside Sunderland development."
This modern cultural venue will offer an immersive, dynamic, digitally powered visitor experience, aims to inspire and entertain people of all ages in a stimulating and engaging environment to surprise, delight, excite and enrich the lives of every citizen of Sunderland as well as visitors from across the region and beyond.
A relaxing, welcoming meeting place and new home to the city library, it truly strives to be 'a living room in the heart of the city'.
Culture House is just one of a number of dynamic transformations underway within Riverside Sunderland. Supported by substantial investments, this comprehensive strategy encompasses significant projects throughout the city centre.
Among these initiatives are Maker & Faber, featuring two Grade A office spaces, the leisure-focused Sheepfolds Stables development, and a housing scheme unfolding on the historic Vaux Brewery site.
The overarching vision aims to double the residential population in the area and elevate employment opportunities by 50 per cent.
This represents an exciting future for cultural advancement in Sunderland and, indeed, throughout the broader North East of England.
Sunderland City Council takes immense pride in being a headline partner and host city for the prestigious 16th North East Culture Awards ceremony, a demonstration of their commitment to the vibrant cultural landscape of the area.
The University of Sunderland prides itself on being a truly global university, with more than 27,500 students studying at our campuses in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong and through transnational and online education.
Our strategic plan is underpinned by our three ambitions to be student-focused, professions-facing and society-shaping.
We have demonstrated that we can combine the pursuit of academic excellence with championing social-inclusion and diversity. As a result, we offer transformative experiences to talented students from all backgrounds.
Professor Arabella Plouviez SFHEA, Dean, Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries, said: ‘It is really exciting for the University to be able to be a lead sponsor the North East Culture Awards. Embracing creativity and celebrating cultural diversity is very important and supporting these awards reflects our commitment to recognising the remarkable talents that enrich our vibrant region. The Culture Awards enable us to celebrate our artists, writers, performers and creatives and recognise the importance of the arts and culture to challenge, question and inspire. Through this partnership, we are helping to foster a thriving environment where innovation and expression flourish along with boundless imagination.’
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £467 million of public money from Government and an estimated £250 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.