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Bupa Great North Run Culture

  • Date: 12 August 2010
  • Artform: None
  • Area: North
Girl running Still from Parade by Vicki Bennett (2009), Bupa Great North Run Culture

Bupa Great North Run Culture is an annual series of arts projects, events and exhibitions which celebrate and explore sport and art. Featuring film, photography, dance, drama, writing and participation projects, Bupa Great North Run Culture uses the world's largest half-marathon as the starting point for exciting, innovative and accessible art.

This year's programme, which runs from July to October 2010, includes: In The Long Run, a large-scale exhibition at the Great North Museum celebrating and documenting 30 years of the Great North Run; the screening of a new piece of moving image work by artist Claire Leona-Apps; the commissioning of a moving image piece responding to the Great North Run; a series of 10 new works by Sir Peter Blake; a new public artwork by Fiona Banner (Tornado); and a display at Chelsea Flower Show in partnership with Gateshead Council.

We have supported different elements of this year's programme with £164,500 of National Lottery funding from our Grants for the arts scheme. Other investment includes £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £50,750 from Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums and £100,000 from Nova International.

Over the last six years, Great North Run Culture has established itself as one of the most important commissioners in the North East region, working with organisations and artists to create new work that specifically reflects and responds to this half marathon.

The artists and arts organisations involved are committed to exploring innovative ways to bring the arts to audiences, using both traditional and non-traditional venues. Great North Run Culture has now placed work in some of the most visible areas of the North East, from inside high-profile venues such as Seven Stories, the Laing Gallery and Baltic, to public spaces including billboards along the route of the run, the windows of Sage Gateshead and town squares in Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

The 2009 series of new commissions and projects featured the programme's first theatre show for families, 13.1 by Mike Kenny, which enjoyed a sell-out run, and Vicki Bennett's playful new work Parade, made using 28 years of archive footage from the Bupa Great North Run.

Great North Run Culture has a strong history of high audience figures, even prior to its coverage on BBC TV. Evidence of demand for their work can be seen in the sell-out run of last year's play, 13.1, the higher than average visitor figures for the Hatton Gallery in 2009 and the huge number of requests that are made for lectures and tours for university groups and visiting and curatorial groups.

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Bupa Great North Run Culture  
Headline facts and figures:
From 2005 - 2010 

  • 27 new large-scale commissions across public art, visual arts, dance, theatre, literature, music and participatory projects
  • Work presented in major North East venues, including Baltic, Sage Gateshead, Live Theatre, Seven Stories Centre for Children's Books and the Laing Gallery
  • An annual average of 93 exhibition or performance days per year
  • An average annual audience of 2,057,100, including TV screenings of work, public realm and online
  • Workshops, special performances and participatory sessions carried out with over 490 school pupils
  • An annual average of £468,000 worth of press coverage generated