It was the Imagine North East Exhibition Launch on Saturday 27 June 2015. Held at St James’ Church, Benwell the event was attended by about 80 people and more than half were local residents or from community organisations. There were also former Benwell and North Shields Community Development Project workers; local councillors, a local MP, and local authority workers. The exhibition showcased a range of work undertaken by 12 community organisations from Benwell and North Shields and researchers from Durham University. The opening speeches were at 11.00am. Professor Sarah Banks (Durham University) welcomed everyone and introduced the Imagine North East project. She was followed by Lord Jeremy Beecham (Councillor for Benwell and Scotswood); Margaret Reynolds (Councillor for Chirton, North Shields); Ian Harford (former Director of Benwell Community Development Project); Penny Remfry (former North Shields Community Development Project worker) and Professor Alan Townsend (Imagine North East statistics). Finally, Sarah spoke again for a few minutes to introduce the Imagine North East Durham University team members (Andrea Armstrong, Fred Robinson and Vincent Chu) and to launch two booklets on Benwell and North Shields – hot off the press and available for the first time.
The speeches were followed by an excellent lunch. Steve Pool from of the wider Imagine project was there to take photos and film.
After lunch, as well as looking at the exhibits there were plenty of opportunities to take part in numerous activities:
- A slide show of old West End photos with the West Newcastle Picture History Collection
- Meeting the Cornerstone Knitting and Crafts group
- Adding your Imagine photo to the Patchwork digital selfie wall
- Touring the historic graveyard at St James’ Church with Olive, a Newcastle City guide
- Taking part in Durham University Vox Pop to share thoughts on the exhibition and changes over time in Benwell and N Shields
The Imagine North East exhibition showcased community projects by Patchwork Youth Project, Search, Riverside Community Health Project, West Newcastle Picture History Collection, Pendower Good Neighbour Project, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, St James’ Heritage and Environment and St James’ Heritage and Culture, Phoenix Detached Youth Project, Cedarwood Trust, Meadow Well Connected and Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future. We thank them all. Here are a few photos taken by Andrea and Vincent.