The Creative Seed is a Community Interest Company (CIC) based in North East England. We host a range of arts projects which collectively aim to provide access to arts and culture for everyone in the communities we serve. We predominantly provide and develop artistic and cultural activities within the North East of England, and have links and partners nationally. We work from three historically significant locations: the beautifully restored St. Hilda’s Pit Head in South Shields, local landmark and much-loved Southwick Carnival House and the Southwick Old Library building in Sunderland.
The company started in 2009, initially in response to demand from community organisations and local authorities in the North East who wanted to develop spectacular community events with professional production quality. The Creative Seed is known for its colourful, vibrant and exciting displays at high profile events including the increasingly popular South Tyneside Parade - standing in the spotlight with amazing costumes, headdresses and floats created by our talented team.
Alongside carnivals and parades, and in response to the community, The Creative Seed have engaged in a number of new, exciting projects, including their recent development of Carnival House, an arts centre, cafe and restaurant bar based in Southwick. The company has also recently launched Sessions From The Pit, an online artist feature platform for local musicians, dance artists and more.
We see our role as being much more than an arts organisation and more of a community partner, working with and for the community. We are a creator of opportunities for both artists and communities and work in enterprising ways to demonstrate the value of the cultural sector both socially and economically. One of the practical ways we do this is by hosting arts and craft markets for local and regional artists and makers as well as creating artist residencies for regional and national artists on local projects. We strive to create a cultural and community enterprise and ecosystem, highlighting the need for more diverse voices to be given a platform, and challenge the gatekeeper mentality which currently exists. We are truly committed to diversity, encouraging inclusivity in leadership roles, and using art to promote positive social change.
At the Creative Seed, we continually work towards developing practices that promote equal opportunities. These practices run throughout the organisation and are reflected in our policies, everyday operations, workforce and governance.
Our board is currently co-directed by four individuals, all of whom have substantial experience within the arts, gained through education, volunteering and employment. Our board members have lived experience of the issues that our organisation deals with and as a group, represent the individuals who are served by our centres in terms of demographic factors, such as race, ethnicity, and gender. We have a named board member who is directly responsible for equality and diversity, and she reviews our policies regularly to ensure they are free from any form of discrimination due to any of the protected characteristics. Our recruitment procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Job selection criteria are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are relevant to the job and are not disproportionate.
Our inclusive co-created programme of workshops, classes, masterclasses and performances ensure people have a safe space to explore their potential, develop their creativity and become involved in every layer of our organisation.
We work with key partners to promote and highlight our work to ensure everybody in the community can access opportunities. We are always developing our co-creation model to ensure we are led by the people in the community to develop a shared vision for change in the area, putting local people in control of their cultural development using their vision and ambition to shape our work. We are led by the passions, interests, and concerns of the artists we work with and the communities we serve.