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Great North Run Culture

Established in 2005 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the world's largest half-marathon, Great North Run Culture works with leading figures from the cultural world, each of whom offers an extraordinary insight into sport, art and the Great North Run.

New work has been commissioned by Mark Wallinger, Michael Nyman, Jane and Louise Wilson, David Almond, Bill Bryson, Julian Germain, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Beat Streuli, Graham Dolphin, Neville Campbell, KMA, Sir Peter Blake and Vicki Bennett, among many others.

Great North Run Culture offers our students and recent graduates an opportunity to work with a creative regional organisation that reaches a global audience. Great North Run Culture contributes to teaching and learning through lectures and seminars, and we work together to co-commission new cultural works that create outstanding opportunities for recent graduates to develop their practice.

In 2015 artists Hope Stebbing and Oliver Perry, recent graduates of the Northumbria University’s Fine Art programme launched Onward Together As One.  This pop-up art installation was shown in three specific locations around the route of the run. Appearing on the morning of the run  and disappearing with the 57,000 runners after the race, the artists’ have taken the idea of over fifty thousand individuals moving through the course as though they were one, all connected and communicating, ebbing and flowing, moving forward together.

The opportunity to make the work came about through Hope and Oliver’s  successful Graduate Commission bid, an annual joint initiative set up by Northumbria University and Great North Run Culture.  They pitched their artistic concept to a selection panel which included Beth Bate, Director of Great North Run Culture, as well as Ronan McCree, Fiona Crisp and Jamie Steane, representing the art and media departments of the University. As a result, the duo received £4,000 to develop their artistic vision in celebration of the Great North Run and their work was unveiled in time for the very first time on Sunday 13 September 2015 to coincide with the world-famous half marathon event. Their work went out on the BBC during the live coverage of the event to an audience of around 2 million viewers.

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