Lasting Tributes to Lives Lost to Covid-19
A new arts project is being developed across South Tyneside to recognise the impact of the Covid pandemic on local communities.
South Tyneside Council is working with The Cultural Spring on the initiative that encourages members of the public to talk about their own experiences of recent years in a series of consultation sessions taking place over the coming weeks.
One element of the project is developing inscriptions for six new Covid memorials that the Council is planning to install in towns and villages across the Borough.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "The coronavirus pandemic affected us all in some way. Our communities not only pulled together to help each other during these difficult times but provided much-needed support and comfort to the many people suffering tragic loss.
"Back in 2020, we said we wanted to create a meaningful and lasting memorial to loved ones lost to the coronavirus pandemic, to commemorate their lives and to provide a special place and focal point for families and friends to reflect and remember.
"We also said that we would involve our entire community in developing a tribute that marks the sacrifices made by the people of South Tyneside.
"We are delighted to be working with our partners at The Cultural Spring on this poignant project, supporting people to come together once again to share their stories and leave a legacy behind for future generations to contemplate the dark times we all endured."
The community engagement sessions are being led by experienced artist Lesley Wood and take place on:
Tuesday, September 6
- 10am Jarrow Big Local, Grange Rd, Jarrow
- 1pm Barnes Institute, East St, Whitburn
- 5pm Ocean Road Community Association, Ocean Road, South Shields
Monday, September 12:
- 10am Friends of Hebburn Cemetery Café, Victoria Rd, Hebburn
- 1pm Boldon Community Association (Roberts Room), New Rd, Boldon
Tuesday, September 20:
- 10am Barnes Institute, East St, Whitburn
- 1pm Ocean Road Community Association, Ocean Road, South Shields
- 5pm Cleadon Methodist Hall, 8 Sunderland Rd, Cleadon
Saturday, October 1:
- 10am Jarrow Focus, Cambrian St, Jarrow
- 1pm Carr Ellison Park Bowling Club, Canning St, Hebburn
Monday, October 3:
- 10am The Stables, next to Independent Methodist Church, 3 North Rd, Boldon Colliery
- 1pm Cleadon Methodist Hall, 8 Sunderland Rd, Cleadon.
All are welcome to attend. For further information, or to confirm attendance, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Horsman, Project Director at The Cultural Spring, said: "At the sessions we'll discuss how communities and neighbourhoods could commemorate what has happened during the last two and a half years.
"The sessions will be led sensitively, respectfully and tactfully as we're well aware how traumatic the pandemic has been for so many people. We hope as many people as possible will come along to share their experiences and add their voices to how we remember what happened and commemorate those we've sadly lost through Covid.
"Each of the memorials will have its own inscription, we'd like to discuss developing wording for each one, but we'll also like to talk about how else communities would like to recognise what's happened. This might involve discussing what artforms could be used for the project - dance, drama, singing or visual arts.
"As part of these discussions we'll show examples of what other areas have done to artistically to mark the impact of Covid and we'll start off by asking such questions as 'what were the challenges you faced?' and 'what does the new normal look like as a result of the pandemic?"
It is anticipated that the work produced will be shared, and the new Covid memorials will be unveiled, in spring next year.