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Northumbria University and BALTIC announce new partnership

5th May 2022

After over a decade of innovative collaboration, Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art today announce a renewed partnership that will continue to put the region on the map as a global hub for contemporary art learning and practice.

For ten years, BALTIC and Northumbria have worked together with a shared vision to support creative talent development, nurture public engagement and enhance the region’s reputation for artistic excellence.

Held as a model of best practice across the higher education and cultural sectors, the partnership co-delivers teaching and learning, research and impact activities to further understanding of contemporary fine art practice and to engage students and the public in key debates in the discipline today.

At the core of the dynamic partnership is the BALTIC x Northumbria University Institute, a base for world-class teaching and mentorship in contemporary art practice and research. The Institute fosters research and experimentation in curatorial and art practice through its lively programme of public events and discussions.

In recent years, the partnership has evolved to embody more diverse and creative forms of collaboration between the North East’s largest university and its most far-reaching arts institution. Today there is a renewed focus and purpose for the partnership and its role in helping Northumbria staff, students and stakeholders address the key challenges of our time, from shaping public spaces and post-covid cultural recovery, to economic levelling up and environmental change.

Under the new partnership, the BALTIC x Northumbria University Institute will develop new academic offers to attract an international community of students, creative thinkers, practitioners and scholars and create applied postgraduate training programmes and a rich environment for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. Shared teaching and experiences across all levels of study will create a community of practice deeply embedded within the Institute, equipped to contribute to the burgeoning creative and cultural sector in the North East of England. BALTIC will also host a graduate exhibition each year, platforming the work of the Institute’s students alongside regional, national and international names exhibiting at the gallery. 

There will also be a joint commitment to evidence the value and impact of contemporary art and critical discourse in addressing societal challenge through the practise and production of globally recognised research, education and contemporary art practice. This thinking and practice will be shared more widely through an annual series of six public lectures featuring academics, artists and well-known faces in conversation. Discussing the topics of the day, the first year’s lecture series will explore ideas centred around neurodiversity, sanctuary and sustainability.   

Speaking about the new partnership, Professor Katy Shaw, Director of Cultural Partnerships at Northumbria University, said: “This is an important stage of our partnership that will expand our efforts to contribute to the cultural sector post-covid regionally, nationally and internationally, providing a unique intellectual space where pedagogy, professional practice and world-class research are combined.  

“The ultimate aim is for all activities to directly benefit the cultural, economic, social and intellectual capital of both institutions and their constituents.”

The new agreement was officially launched on Thursday 5 May through an event on the University’s campus as it hosts BALTIC’s What’s For Tea? Travelling Gallery exhibition which is touring the region as part of its 20th birthday programme of activities.

BALTIC x Northumbria partnership launch event - BALTIC team talking about the exhibition to visitors

What’s for Tea? explores food production and consumption, what we eat, how much we eat and how our eating habits could help combat the climate emergency.

Works by Kara Chin, Isabella Carreras, Turner Prize-nominated duo Cooking Sections, artist collective Future Farmers, Asunción Molinos Gordo, Julia Heslop, David Lisser and Sarah Qaed explore sustainable food production and community initiatives through film, installation, sculpture, print and the written word.

BALTIC x Northumbria partnership launch event - BALTIC team talking about the exhibition to a visitor

Capturing the collaborative essence of the partnership, the launch additionally saw talks on sustainability from Northumbria academics and students, including: Capacity and climate: researching change with BALTIC by Jake Maiden, Postgraduate Researcher with BALTIC x Northumbria University Institute; Catching Care at Work by Nic Cook, Research Assistant with BALTIC x Northumbria University Institute and The Responsible Consumer: How small changes in everyday behaviour can create big sustainable change by Dr Alana James, Programme Leader - MA Fashion Design.

Sarah Munro, Director of BALTIC, said: “We’re excited to embark on the next phase of our partnership with Northumbria University to build on the deep, well-renowned relationship we’ve already established. Our next steps together will forge innovative teaching models, embed rigorous research we will share internationally and present a series of lectures that explore vital and prescient themes that will become an annual fixture. We can’t wait to welcome future students to the BALTIC x Northumbria University Institute and celebrate the impacts they will have on the regional, national and international sectors whilst they’re with us and as alumni.”


BALTIC x Northumbria partnership launch event - researcher giving a talk

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