Hot Contents coming to the Art Gallery in Darlington Library soon

‘‘Hot Contents’ is a visual arts exhibition exploring the relationships between the past and present industrial heritage of the North East and the climate emergency. This exhibition will be on display in the Art Gallery at Darlington Library from Thursday 20 June 2024 – Thursday 18 July 2024 during standard Darlington Library opening times (Monday to Saturday). Matt Denham is a visual artist based in Newcastle and his research-led practice explores shared experiences of our physical, virtual and psychological environments in a changing society. Starting with intimate stories of people and place, his video installation artworks reveal and connect global issues. ‘Hot Contents’ is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Creative Darlington.

Changing Relations Training on 27 June 2024, a small number of places left to book

Business Durham are kindly hosting Changing Relations’ next Demystifying Domestic Abuse Workplace Training taster day at Salvus House in Durham and they’d love to see you there.

WHEN – 9.30-4.30, Thursday 27th June


RECEIVE – lunch courtesy of Business Durham, as well as 2 of Changing Relations beautiful informational resource books to take away!


As business leaders and managers, there are always so many issues to prioritise.

If you have not received disclosures of staff affected by domestic abuse, it’s tempting to think it isn’t happening to those in your teams.

The likelihood, however, is that, as domestic abuse has been treated as a private matter for so long, until your business proactively brings domestic abuse into the open, your staff won’t feel confident enough to mention it.

But, if 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men are affected by domestic abuse in their lifetime, this issue will be impacting your workplace in a range of ways, from:

  • Days of work missed
  • Productivity affected
  • Stalking and surveillance of employees whilst they are at your workplace
  • Employees leaving the workplace altogether and all the costs of recruitment, induction, teams being short-staffed this incurs

Could you get more from your staff by creating a more open and supportive workplace environment?

Past training participants have said:

“Gave me more confidence to have those conversations.”

“Broadened the context in which I understand domestic abuse”

“Films were very powerful, backed up by quality resources”

“I found the interactive session very engaging. Can’t wait to share my experience and new knowledge.”

“Changing Relations training format is very different to what you might be used to – they use arts and media as a conduit for deep and meaningful reflections without invading anyone’s privacy.”

If you would prefer to receive an invoice rather than sign up via Eventbrite, just email and let them know how many places you would like to book.

Further information on Changing Relations Training is available on Linked In –

Darlington Orchestra Summer Concert 2024 on Saturday 6 July in the Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall, tickets available now

Darlington Orchestra’s next concert is on Saturday 6 July at 7.30pm in the Dolphin Centre’s Central Hall. This accessible concert is suitable for people of all ages – from regular concertgoers to anyone who is new to hearing live classical music. The orchestra will perform a selection of popular classics from across three centuries, including music by Handel, Brahms, Rimsky-Korsakov and a medley from the musical Les Misérables. In addition, special guests Rhapsody Community Choir will perform two 10-minute sets.

A printed programme is included in the ticket price, providing brief details about the music and composers. Plus, there’ll be a version available for children aged 5–11 years.

When: Saturday 6 July 2024 at 7.30pm (doors open 7pm)

Where: Central Hall at the Dolphin Centre, Horsemarket, Darlington DL1 5RP

Call: 01325 406000

Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions) from the venue

Please note: cash sales only at the concert for tickets (subject to availability)

For further updates, follow the orchestra on, and


TVCA Artists of the Year Event at The Link/ Globe Theatre. From left to right, Lisette Auton; Claire A Baker; Andy Berriman Amelia Coburn; Scott Turnbull
20/05/24 Picture by Dawn McNamara

The talented artists to receive unique support and funding from a major new initiative driving forward the arts in Tees Valley have been revealed.  Tees Valley Artists of the Year 2024 is a new scheme run by Tees Valley Combined Authority supporting five leading local artists, who will receive a career-changing £30,000 investment. 

The project is a bold new approach to develop the next generation of musicians, film-makers and writers and could provide a groundbreaking model for other areas. The successful artists were unveiled at The Globe Theatre, in Stockton, on Monday (20 May).    Each will receive a £30,000 package of support over a year, which includes a real-living wage bursary and a professional development budget.  All five will also receive industry mentoring and tailored business support to take their creative career to the next level.   Tees Valley Artists of the Year supports an ambition to develop the region as an engine room for creative artists and the successful artists were selected after competitive process involving panellists from the region’s leading cultural organisations, Arts Council England, and TVCA.  

The five artists showed outstanding strength and quality in their field with the selection panel judging they were each at right point in their careers where the programme could make a tangible and sustainable difference.  They are Darlington based author, Lisette Auton; Stockton-based visual artist Claire A Baker; Stockton based film-maker Andy Berriman: Middlesbrough based singer-songwriter Amelia Coburn and theatre-maker Scott Turnbull.

Lisette Auton 

Lisette Auton is a disabled, neurodivergent Tees Valley multidisciplinary artist working in literature as a novelist, dramatist, activist, filmmaker and performer.  

Based in Darlington, Lisette is the author of three novels published by Puffin/Penguin Random House The Secret of Haven Point, The Stickleback Catchers, and Lights Up which have been shortlisted for five major awards. 

Claire A Baker 

Claire A Baker is a Stockton-based visual artist working with textiles and mixed media. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, Ukraine, Russia, USA, Belgium, Germany and Portugal and she has been a finalist in several national visual arts awards and was Contextile Winner in 2012. 

Andy Berriman 

Andy Berriman is an experienced filmmaker, writer and director from Stockton. His film Mortal won the Northern Film prize in 2023 and has had award winning films commissioned by BFI and Creative England. He is also a well-established commercial filmmaker focusing on capturing the region’s festivals, events and cultural attractions. 

Ameila Coburn 

Ameila Coburn is a singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough who has just recorded and released her first debut album, produced by Bill Ryder-Jones (co-founder of The Coral). Her songs have garnered acclaim from broadcasters and publications including BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6Music. 

Scott Turnbull 

Scott Turnbull is a theatre-maker, actor and illustrator developing multi-platform work for theatre, television and online. His work has toured the UK and Europe. In 2023 has was awarded a bursary from BBC Comedy Creator Fund to develop his writing skills for TV. 

Click here to find out more about the Artists of the Year.

TVCA Artists of the Year Event at The Link/ Globe Theatre. From left to right, Andy Berriman, Lisette Auton; Amelia Coburn;  Claire A Baker; Scott Turnbull
20/05/24 Picture by Dawn McNamara

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

“We’ve got a great wealth of talent in our region, and we can all do more to shout it from the rooftops.  

“We’re putting the building blocks in place by working alongside the BBC, North East Screen and The Northern Studios, in Hartlepool – plus our investment in our Development Corporations in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.  

“We want to help our brightest talents thrive and build their careers here – and this award is one part of that plan.”  

Charlie Kemp, Head of Creative Place at the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said:

“We were utterly blown away the quality, mass and diversity of the applications we received – and it goes to show the incredible depth of creative talent we have in the Tees Valley.

“It’s great to be working alongside the North team at Arts Council England and leaders in the arts in bringing this project to life. The Combined Authority, Tees Valley Business Board and the wider Tees Valley culture sector have a shared ambition to establish our region as one of the country’s engine rooms for creative production, and we’re striving to make it a fantastic and well-supported place to work.  

“We hope this funding can provide these great artists with the help and expertise they need to thrive, secure their futures, and take their careers to the next level.” 

The funding provided through the Artist of the Year comes via the UK Government and its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). 

Alison Gwynn, Creative Economy Lead for the Tees Valley Business Board and North East Screen Chief Executive, said:

“A supported arts and culture scene is essential for nurturing local talent and creating vibrant careers. By investing in our creative industries, we ensure our region becomes a destination for talent, rivalling Manchester and London.” 

The award is part of a wider £20.5m programme of investment by the Combined Authority to grow the region’s creative and cultural industries and visitor economies. 

Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England, said

“We want the North to be a place where everyone can establish and sustain a creative career so it’s great to see the Tees Valley Combined Authority supporting artists at a key moment in their careers and helping with their business and professional development.  

“We were pleased to be involved in the panels for the five Artists of the Year and looking forward to seeing how the opportunity takes their creative journeys forward.”

Apply by Monday 3rd June 2024 to join the Tees Women Poets Spoken Word Boot Camp

Tees Women Poets are now accepting applications for the 2024 Spoken Word Boot Camp, a unique opportunity for women and gender non-conforming poets in Teesside to attend free masterclass training in performing their poetry. Poets must be 18+, but there’s no upper age limit.

“If you’re looking to start your spoken poetry journey – this course is incredible. Not only are the sessions incredibly fun and engaging but the network of women you will be surrounded with is incredible. I have made huge progress over the weeks and did my first open mic before the course ended- something that really terrified me previously. I’ve learned to believe in my words and just have fun with poetry!”

Graduates of their 2023 Boot Camp have gone on to take up multiple paid performance opportunities with the Tees Women Poets – you can read about their experiences here. The closing date for applications is Monday 3rd June 2024. To apply simply email Tees Women Poets three poems and a bit about yourself to

How do you like your photography? Elaine Vizor’s current exhibition in the Art Gallery at Darlington Library explores this question and is open Monday to Saturday until 13 June 2024, with a free artist’s talk on Saturday 18 May 2024 beginning 11am

Elaine Vizor’s current exhibition in the Art Gallery at Darlington Library shares cyanotypes, photographs of public artworks created by other artists and digital work. It’s on display until Thursday 13th June, with free entry to the Art Gallery during standard Darlington Library open hours Monday to Saturday, and has already drawn praise. Comments from visitors to date on this exhibition include:

  • Very varied and interesting show!
  • A lovely exhibition, with interesting variety in a beautiful light gallery.
  • Great exhibition, lots of variety, I love the Flying Dolphins.
  • A brilliant exhibition – all lovely to see and very interesting.  Could walk round forever. ‘Excellent’.

SPECIAL EVENT – Elaine Vizor will also be leading a free talk in the Art Gallery with booking required, on Saturday 18 May 2024 beginning at 11am and finishing at 12 noon. Click here for further information and to book a place. We hope you’ll come and explore this exhibition, and the event will offer you an opportunity to find out more about Elaine’s practice and ask questions about the exhibition if you’re able to attend.

Light Pollution, Elaine Vizor

Explore the Now, Then exhibition in the Art Gallery at Darlington Library on or before its final day – Thursday 2nd May 2024

As part of a Your Library Story creative programme, supported by Arts Council England Project Funding, at Darlington Library, Darlo born Poet, Performer and Picture-Maker Lizzie Lovejoy has encouraged people to explore their creativity and to engage in conversation around days gone by, lives today and adventures to come. These have informed the fantastic Now, Then exhibition that’s on display in the Art Gallery at Darlington Library until Thursday 2nd May 2024 during standard Darlington Library opening times, Monday to Saturday. Now, Then contains Lizzie’s pictures alongside individual images from five different artists who responded to Lizzie’s Darlo Draws call out. If you pop into the Art Gallery during Now, Then you can explore the sketches, one of which is shown above, that Lizzie made to inform this exhibition.

Lizzie led Darlo Draws drop in days, encouraging people of all ages visiting Darlington Library and in other locations within the town, to get involved and enjoy drawing as part of this project. A BIG THANKYOU to Lizzie and everyone who got involved, and took up a felt tip, pencil, pen or sticker and made their mark.

While cowboy movies aren’t to everybody’s taste, thanks for those who were quick on the draw.

We’d welcome your comments on Now, Then in the Visitor Comments book in the Art Gallery, a selection of comments to date is shown below:

  • Excellent – Heritage is important for us all and generations to come.
  • Love the variety of images and descriptions. Enjoyed looking through both the art booklets + brochures. 😊.
  • Very good, inspiring.
  • As somebody who was born in the North and now resides in the South, it is such a pleasure to see Darlington have its own ‘pretentiousness’.  Well curated exhibition pieces that reveal a story and a journey – brilliant.
  • Loved the Art and associated captions.  Striking!  It’s a really good exhibition. 
  • I like the Art because it’s nice and relaxing. 
  • I like the art because I feel they all have a backstory.
  • Wunderbar! Thank you so much for these impressions of your wonderful town! 
  • Darlington is a hidden gem of a town and this absolutely superb exhibition only serves to underline the statement.   Bravo Lizzie Lovejoy and all who helped put the artwork on the walls for the townsfolk and visitors alike to see & enjoy.
  • Thank you and I will treasure the exhibition brochure.  I am Darlington born and bred and still love it and the Library!
  • An excellent exhibition.  Quite uplifting.  I like the ‘Now, Then’ concept and how the artist draws on the past and links it to the present.
  • I’ve just moved here and wonderful to see the Library being used to showcase artists work.  Love it! Thankyou.

There are currently a small number of exhibition brochures (pictured above) containing Lizzie’s illustrations for Now, Then on the table in the Art Gallery. You’re welcome to take one of these home for free as a reminder of your visit if you get the chance to pop along before the exhibitions closes and if there are any left.

Positive Poetry writing towards wellbeing free sessions at Darlington Library from Friday 7th June to Friday 5th July 2024, booking required

Creative Darlington is delighted to announce forthcoming and free Positive Poetry writing towards wellbeing sessions for adults aged 16+ taking place at Darlington Library on five Friday mornings beginning Friday 7 June and ending Friday 5 July 2024. Book for events at Darlington Library here with further information on the programme below.

Book for Eithne’s ‘Happy Places’ session above by clicking here with details of other sessions below.

Free half day dance workshop offer to secondary schools and Colleges in Darlington and across Tees Valley from Tees Dance

£10,000 ‘Creative Catalyst’ Artist’s Commission – Northern Heartlands – apply by Monday 29th April 2024

Creative Catalyst is a £10,000 Northern Heartlands artist commission opportunity, working in the communities of Coundon and Witton Park County Durham. Northern Heartlands are looking for two artists to work alongside to explore practice that ignites curiosity and wonder.

To find out more about the commission, or about Northern Heartlands, visit: The closing date for proposals is Monday 29 April 2024.