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City of Dreams - we're on the road!

2nd February 2018

September 3rd 2018 - a key date for anyone interested in culture, arts, science and the future for children and young people in Newcastle and Gateshead.

This is when NGCV will launch its exciting 10-year City of Dreams mission.

City of Dreams aims to engage everyone aged 25 and under in Newcastle and Gateshead in rich cultural experiences and to wield the transformative power of creative activity to have lasting positive impact on children and young people’s lives.

NGCV began talking about this ambition in 2017, starting out with 10 committed NGCV Chief Executives and an Executive Producer. Enthusiasm for the potential of a long-term life-changing cultural programme was high, and the conversation quickly expanded to draw in many others.

We have engaged with over 200 colleagues, in cultural organisations both big and small, in education settings, and across the voluntary and community sector. We have also consulted nearly 300 children and young people so far, rising to well over 600 by mid-February.

After much talking, research, alliance-building and planning, City of Dreams is now owned by a broad set of people, working in structures and processes that can turn it into a reality.

During spring 2018 the what, when, where and how of the programme will be finalised, as a detailed plan for the first 5 years of the mission is agreed.

City of Dreams ultimate goal is that children and young people are active and creative citizens, able to improve their life chances.

This will mean ensuring all children and young people have opportunities to engage with culture, that their wellbeing improves, that those from diverse backgrounds are better represented, and that have a strong influence on decision making in our organisations.

The City of Dreams plan will include actions and milestones to achieve these outcomes. Some will relate to learning and participation activities. Others to employment or workforce development strategies. Others still to out-reach, marketing, diversity and equality, co-production, and programming.

In some cases the plan will focus on making what cultural organisations already do more visible, in others the plan will tie organisational ropes together to make a bigger collective impact. There will also be some completely new activities and developments.

Crucially, it will be everyone’s plan.

It will be strongly influenced by a Champions group of around 35 people from NGCV organisations, the education sector, smaller arts and voluntary sector organisations, and others. However, the most important voices will be those of children and young people.

Before Christmas we carried out participatory-appraisal style consultation with 11 groups already engaged with NGCV cultural activities. We are now consultating small groups and schools outside of NGCV, including some who have never engaged with cultural activity. Then, on February 21st, we are working with 12 organisations to run a major event called the Big Culture Conversation.

It’s going to be an exciting event!

There are places for up to 300 young people, aged between 13 and 25. It is facilitated by youth leaders from Headliners, Youth Focus North East, Princes Trust, Gateshead Youth Assembly and Newcastle Youth Council. It will engage attendees through spoken word, visual arts, film, and more.

It will conclude with the top emerging topics being presented by young people to NGCV Chief Executives.

All of this will be discussed further in a series of detailed co-production workshops in March, and will find its way into the City of Dreams plan which will be available from May 2018, ahead of the programme launch in September.

From there it is all systems go, as NGCV and its wider partners begin to demonstrate the powerful difference we can make together to the lives of children and young people.


If you want to know more, or get more involved, contact our Executive Producer, Ben Dickenson: ben@cityofdreams.org.uk

The Big Culture Conversation event is on 21st February, 5.30pm, in the Great Hall at the Discovery Museum. Click here for full details and tickets 


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