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North East England young people set for Cultural Olympiad

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  February 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Young people handle objects at Durham’s Oriental Museum

Three groups of young people from across the North East will have the chance to curate their own exhibitions as part of this year’s London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Thanks to a grant of £150,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), more than 100 young people have been delving into the region’s collections, exploring world cultures and working behind the scenes to develop the three original, interlinked exhibitions, which will go on display at museums in Middlesbrough, Durham and Newcastle.

The project, called Journeys of Discovery, is a collaboration between Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, the Oriental Museum at Durham University and Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum.

It forms the North East strand of Stories of the World, a London 2012 initiative to encourage young people to explore and interpret museum collections.

Led by Arts Council England in partnership with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Stories of the World comprises a series of 300 innovative exhibitions and events that are taking place across the UK and are being created by the largest number of young people ever to have worked behind the scenes at museums.

Bill Griffiths, senior manager for Journeys of Discovery, says: “Journeys of Discovery is a very exciting project and the young people involved have relished this unique opportunity to explore the museums’ stores, take charge behind the scenes and develop their own ideas for the exhibitions; from display and design to marketing and interpretation.

“We are thrilled that we are now able to make these ideas happen with the generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, adds: “We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted to support such an innovative project that has sparked a real interest from the young people in exploring their heritage.

Journeys of Discovery will help them become more knowledgeable about their past and learn new skills which will help equip them for the future.”

Inspired by the great adventurer Captain Cook – who was born at Marton in North Yorkshire, now a suburb of Middlesbrough – Journeys of Discovery has encouraged each group of young people to explore the stories behind different objects.

It has involved talking and meeting with artists, storytellers and people across the globe whose cultures, interests and experiences are expressed in the objects.

The exhibition at Durham Oriental Museum, Made in China, will use key objects to explore British relations with the country and will open on June 16, 2012.

The exhibition at Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum, Pacific Journeys of Discovery: Exploring New Worlds, will use objects to respond to Captain Cook’s legacy from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, and is set to open on June 17.

The Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums’ exhibition will be on display at the Great North Museum: Hancock from July 20 and will explore the global stories behind a selection of objects from the collection.

For more information about Journeys of Discovery, visit

For further information about Stories of the World, go to the London 2012 Festival website:


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