The Clayton Street Corridor

Engaging the Grassroots Art Sector with the Clayton Street Corridor (March 2022-December 2022)

This work was supported by Newcastle City Council (NCC)

Principle Investigator:
Dr Emma Coffield

Team: Dr Paul Richter, Dr Rebecca Prescott, David Butler, Dr Loes Veldpaus, Prof Venda Pollock, Andrew Rothwell, Ed Banks, Rebecca Huggan, Tom Hopkin, Lee Etherington, Nadia Iftkhar

Research Assistants: Hannah Marsden and Daniel Newberry

Engaging the Grassroots Art Sector with the Clayton Street Corridor

In August 2021, the North of Tyne Combined Authority announced plans for three ‘Cultural and Creative Zones’ in Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside, which should each be a focal point for the development and growth of the cultural and creative industries, built ‘from bottom up with Local Authorities and the sector working together to co-produce action plans’ over the next five years (for more information, see the prospectus link below). In Newcastle, the proposed Cultural and Creative Zone is known as the Clayton Street Corridor, and it is administered by Newcastle City Council.

This is a significant investment in the arts (around £1.7 million to date), and while the Clayton Street Corridor is concerned with the cultural and creative industries more broadly, the plans have the potential to respond to increasingly urgent challenges around the lack of suitable, affordable artists’ workspace, as well as the long-term support and sustainability of grassroots arts initiatives. Yet, as we have argued across our previous projects (see the tabs above), these same grassroots art initiatives rarely have the capacity to engage in such projects.

As a result, this project (funded by Newcastle City Council) aims to connect and support grassroots visual artists, creative practitioners, and artist-run/led initiatives with the Clayton Street Corridor plans. We want to make sure that everyone who might benefit from the corridor is able to.

The team

The project is led by a multi-disciplinary team including academics (Dr Emma Coffield, Dr Paul Richter, Dr Rebecca Prescott, David Butler, Dr Loes Veldpaus, Prof Venda Pollock, Hannah Marsden, Daniel Newberry), policy-makers (Andrew Rothwell, Ed Banks) and artists and creative practitioners (Rebecca Huggan, Tom Hopkin, Lee Etherington, Nadia Iftkhar). The core team will:

  • Share news and developments connected to the Clayton Street Corridor
  • Design and run events / workshops to connect artists and creative practitioners with policy-makers and co-design policy
  • Conduct a series of short interviews with artists and creative practitioners to feed their perspectives into policy-making
  • Publish a report/workbook documenting the project in December 2022


We hope that bringing policy-makers, academics and artists/creative practitioners together will enable practitioners to engage with – and drive – local arts policy, leading to more informed and ‘bottom-up’ proposals that champion and support existing grassroots arts activity across Newcastle.

Get involved

As part of the project we will be holding a series of events to ‘roadmap’ grassroots involvement in the Clayton Street Corridor, which will address key themes and topics such as governance, existing support, and the kinds and types of additional, bespoke support and training that might be facilitated to enable the grassroots arts sector in Newcastle to flourish.

Events are free and open to all. We welcome artists and creative practitioners from all arts disciplines, as well as those who engage with arts practices but who may define themselves differently, from any geographical location (e.g. we would love to hear from those within, just outside, and far from the planned corridor, and even outwith Newcastle, as we identify and work towards benefits for all). Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone you think may be interested.

Event 1 – Imagining the ‘Clayton Street Corridor

Tuesday 29th March 9.30am-11.30

Location: The Partners Room, Newcastle University Business School.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for this first event, where we introduced the Clayton Street Corridor and began to address key issues surrounding language, governance and the types of support/training that would enable the grassroots art sector in Newcastle to flourish.

A copy of the presentation given by Andrew Rothwell and Ed Banks can be found here:

Event 2 tbc

Other ways to get involved…

We will also be running a series of short interwiews throughout the year, to help us capture the voices and perspectives of grassroots artists and creative practitioners in Newcastle – and particularly those who are unable to participate in the events – so that these perspectives might still feed into arts policy as it develops. We will let you know as soon as this strand of the project opens.

Engagement support

We recognise that artists and creative practitioners are often asked to give their time for free, and that this places limits on who can participate – especially for art initiatives that have no paid staff.

To help with this, we have a small number of funded places (paid at £26.25 per hour) to support those who might otherwise be unable to participate in either the events or interviews. If you would like to apply for one of these places, please tick this box on the registration form, or mention this in your email to the research team. Please note that you will be required to undertake a Right to Work check in order for us to process payments. If you have any questions about this, please do get in touch with us (as we can faciliate online checks, checks with documents other than a passport etc.).

Get in touch with us

If you’d like to contact the team with a question, suggestion or would like to be on the mailing list, please send an email to Hannah Marsden at

You can also find specific information about the core project team using the tabs above.

Reading materials

*The North of Tyne Culture and Creative Zones Prospectus is available here: