It’s an exciting time to be making things in Sunderland. This week we will find out if Sunderland have been selected as UK City of Culture 2021 and we have never been a better position to establish ourselves as a national centre for arts, heritage and culture.

There is a real burst of creative energy in the city from exciting arts and cultural projects funded through The Cultural Spring, drawing on an established arts and music scene, celebrating our cultural assets and the regeneration and redevelopment in the city.

This term I have been involved in the Young Writers’ City project at Academy 360 in Pennywell. Young people in years 8 and 9 have been working with professional songwriters Liz Corney and Martin Longstaff to write songs under the theme of ‘My Now’. During this time the young people have been encouraged to explore what makes them them? What experiences and people have shaped them as a person? What does Sunderland mean to them? Young people have shaped these experiences into lyrical form and have explored melody making using the unique inflection and tone of their own accents. The young people are writing collaboratively but most importantly are finding their own unique voice as songwriters. I am excited to continue helping these young people flourish throughout the next year as we establish Academy 360 as a creative hub of writing talent and build on the creative energy that already exists there.