AN internationally-acclaimed arts project is coming to the region.

Corners of Europe uses stories to connect communities and artists from the edges of Europe with local people in the UK.

The project began in Stockholm in 2010, and since then has incorporated other leading arts institutions across the Continent.

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The project is being delivered by ISIS Arts, a Newcastle-based, internationally respected arts company, in partnership with East Durham Creates, one of 21 independent Creative People and Places projects funded by Arts Council England.

Corners of Europe will offer opportunities for residents of Horden, Shotton and Blackhall to get involved in arts projects with a difference.

Sharon Bailey, Executive Co-Director of ISIS Arts said: “Nine international artists will work closely with local groups to develop three artworks for public spaces in East Durham.

“Horden, Shotton, and Blackhall will each host a project – an alternative guided tourist trail around Shotton; an installation of games from across Europe in Horden and a mapping and archive storytelling project that uses online radio to share gathered stories in Blackhall.

“Each project includes free workshops and events providing excellent opportunities for volunteering and work shadowing where local residents of all ages can develop skills while celebrating their respective local areas.”

Local artists have been working in each of the three areas with residents on special projects that culminate in public events as part of a festival at the end of this month.

The collected stories shared in East Durham will then become part of the wider Corners of Europe project.

Sharon added: “The stories shared and what is created are passed on and told in another town or city on the edges of Europe. So far, the project has travelled to Croatia, England, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.”

Several well-attended Corners of Europe workshops have already been held at Shotton Community Centre.

“They’ve been brilliant – we’ve had sessions for older people and we’ve had a youth session too,” said centre manager Denise Brooks.

“Younger people at the youth session did silk paintings, while the older youths enjoyed a ceramic workshop.

BlackHall Community Centre Manager Alison Paterson is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the artists.

She said: “We’re just so excited. We’ve said the project is going to be a cross between the Eurovision and X-Factor and the weekend will be one long party.”

Head of East Durham Creates, Nikki Locke, added: “We’re delighted to be working with ISIS Arts to bring Corners of Europe, a very special arts project which connects communities and artists from across Europe.

“We’ll be working closely with people across East Durham to look at where they live through a different lens – celebrating positive stories about Horden, Shotton, Blackhall and the surrounding area. The project is such a fantastic way of celebrating who we are and where we live.

“The intergenerational nature of the project means that it will acknowledge the past through remembering games, stories, characters and places, but it will also be very much situated in the present while looking ahead to the future.”

East Durham Creates aims to increase opportunities for residents of East Durham to get creative and involved in arts and culture. It was first established in 2014 and has already engaged more than 22,000 people in a range of events and activities.

Full details are available at www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk.