We’re delighted to announce that two projects we co-produced to help audiences engage with our museums during the coronavirus pandemic have been shortlisted in this year’s The Journal Culture Awards.
‘A Touch of Colour’ – our collaboration with Let’s Circus – has been nominated in the Best Event category, and Paul Smith’s solo performance, ‘A Concert for the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic’, has been nominated in the Best Performance category.
We are extremely proud of both projects, particularly as they were devised, developed and delivered during lockdown when all our museums were closed. They allowed us to engage with you, our audiences, to try new and ambitious methods of delivery, and continue our vision to connect, enrich and inspire through sharing Northumberland’s stories.
‘A Touch of Colour’ premiered on Wednesday 18 November 2020. A collaboration with performing circus and production company, Let’s Circus, the film invited audiences to experience Woodhorn Museum in a brand new way, and enjoy a unique online performance designed to make people smile, laugh, and look forward to better days ahead.
Recorded during the summer off 2020 at Woodhorn, ‘A Touch of Colour’ brought our museum back to life through the traditional artform of circus, which has been enjoyed by the people of Northumberland for centuries. It features aerial acts in the colliery pit yard, unicycling pit ponies, hair raising contortion, explosive juggling and a real ‘underground’ rave.
The film also paid homage to Ashington’s own Pitmen Painters; taking its name from a quote by pitman, painter and founding member of the Ashington Group of artists, Jimmy Floyd.
You can watch ‘A Touch of Colour’ in full on our website.
“Really good. Real ponies in the museum!!! Well done to produce something so uplifting and positive.”
The Northumberland Miners’ Picnic has taken place in the county every year since 1864, except during the first and second world wars, the general strikes of 1921, 1926 and 1984, the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, and, now, the coronavirus pandemic.
To celebrate the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic in 2021, we worked with musician and lead singer of the band Maxïmo Park – Paul Smith – on a very special solo performance that engaged audiences from across the world in on Northumberland’s rich mining and cultural heritage through song.
‘A Concert for the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic’ was broadcast live online on Saturday 12 June 2021. It featured original songs penned by Paul, as well as traditional and contemporary songs connected to the North East’s coal mining heritage.
A series of photographs by Ashington-based social documentary photographer, Mik Critchlow, also featured in the performance. The images helped create a deeper connection between the selected songs, our colliery heritage site, and the region’s local people.
The Northumberland Miners’ Picnic is the oldest and largest gathering of its type in the UK. It was originally held to celebrate the mining industry in the county, and give people who lived and worked in the coalfield communities the chance to come together.
Highlights of ‘A Concert for the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic, performed by Paul Smith, is available to watch on our website.
“Absolutely superb! Moving, brilliant and incredibly powerful. Couldn’t have made a better choice here, I felt every note of that.”
The Journal Culture Awards 2021 take place on Thursday 02 September. You can find out if we win by following us on social media – Twitter (@Woodhorn), Facebook (facebook.com/WoodhornMuseum) and on Instagram (@woodhornmuseum).
Thank you to everyone that continues to support our work during the coronavirus pandemic, and helps ensure people across our county and beyond can enjoy Northumberland’s rich and varied stories.
‘A Touch of Colour’ was commissioned by Museums Northumberland and supported by Arts Council England, Northumberland County Council and Erasmus Plus.
‘A Concert for the Northumberland Miners’ Picnic’ was commissioned by Museums Northumberland and supported by Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council.