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A New Home for Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art – Blog #40

There is a lot to be excited about in Sunderland at the moment. Over the past couple of years Sunderland has acquired huge amounts of investment from Arts Council England (ACE) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF): £5.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund for renovation of The Old Fire Station and Hylton Castle, £1.25 million from ACE and HLF for the Great Places Scheme and £6 million from ACE through the National Lottery for a fantastic new 450 seated auditorium! This activity and positive transformation comes at a time while Sunderland is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2021, which feels pretty exciting.

As well as these impressive changes to Sunderland’s cultural infrastructure, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) is currently in the process of relocating from Sunderland City Council to the University of Sunderland. The gallery, which was based on the top floor of the City Library building on Fawcett Street for the past twenty years, is planned to re-open later in 2017 within the University of Sunderland; NGCA staff are now based at National Glass Centre.    

During this transition, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is programming exhibitions and events offsite, while the new gallery space is designed and built. Although this is period of flux for the gallery, it has provided opportunities to present work in unconventional spaces and work collaboratively with other institutions. There will also be a focus on maintaining a presence within Sunderland in the build up to the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021, with an offsite events programme and family workshops.

The next offsite exhibition in fact opens this week in Montpellier in the South of France! The exhibition. ‘A Scientific Encounter: On Interobjectivity’ is an exhibition of international artists from Germany, France, Canada, Macedonia and the UK and examines how we see the world through objects, and how objects act upon us. The show takes the anthropologist of science Bruno Latour’s idea of how objects interact and act on the world as its starting point – an idea he has labelled “interobjectivity”. The exhibition runs from 20th April – 24th May 2017 and will be staged in the historic buildings of Montpellier University’s original libraries, drawing on three hundred years of collecting by the institution. For more information, please check out our website:

Norman_ChapelFollowing this, we have programmed a show a little closer to home! Artist Simon Martin will present two sound works, in The Norman Chapel in Durham Castle, the oldest building in Durham, and at Trevelyan College, an astonishing 1960s architectural experiment in which no walls are at right angles. This one day event will take place on Friday 5th May 2017, 10am – 6pm; please see the website for more details:

Also, as well as our programme of exhibitions, NGCA is working to create a new collection of contemporary art for Sunderland, in partnership with National Glass Centre, with the support of the University of Sunderland, Arts Council England, Sunderland City Council and other partners. This collection will be a fantastic asset for the City of Sunderland, which will further strengthen partnership work across the city and support Sunderland’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

More information about NGCA’s new gallery space will be announced this summer, so watch out for more news and we look forward to welcoming you to our new home!

— Kathryn Brame (Engagement & Development Coordinator, NGCA)

A Scientific Encounter On Interobjectivity


Image credits:

The Norman Chapel, Durham Castle

Annibale Carracci, ‘Landscape with tree in front of a hill’ (c1602-9) & Kelly Richardson, from the series ‘Pillars of Dawn’ (2017)

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