Emerging Creative Associates 2024

Emerging Creative Associates is a 6-month development programme for early career freelance writers and creatives living in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. The programme is designed to guide and support the next generation of writers and artists in the region. 

Over 6-months, participants will be supported to develop their practice through training, mentoring and networking. The package of support, worth more than £1,500 will include: 

  • A £500 bursary grant 
  • Access to a £500 individual fund to put towards your bespoke development needs 
  • Three sessions with a mentor, matched to you based on your practice 
  • Four group skills sessions (over two days) to promote sustainable business practices 

What will be expected of me?

We will recruit the Emerging Creative Associate cohort in February 2024 and the programme will officially run from March – August 2024. 

You will be required to attend two in-person training days in central Newcastle: 

  • Wednesday 13 March 
  • Wednesday 22 May  

Throughout the 6-months, you will receive three mentoring meetings. You will be expected to commit fully to the mentoring process, although this can be facilitated remotely to suit your needs.   

As well as the bespoke support you receive, Emerging Creative Associates is intended to be a network and a place to meet other freelancers in the region. You will be required to attend an evaluation meeting in August 2024 and will have further opportunities for informal mixers with the cohort. 

Who are we looking for?

The programme is designed to support freelance writers or other freelance creatives who use writing in their practice. We are interested in hearing about how this programme could help you to develop your freelance career or work towards a particular milestone. We are not asking you to outline a project for which you require funding, but rather to think about your development as a whole. 

During the application, we will ask you about your career to date and how you would use this opportunity to further your practice. We want to hear from the writers and artists in our region about what they need to succeed. With this in mind, we do not want to be overly prescriptive during the application process and invite you to tell us how you would benefit from Emerging Creative Associates.  

However, some examples of people who might apply include (but are not limited to): 

  • A writer interested in building a more sustainable portfolio career 
  • A writer working on a long-term project, e.g. a novel, memoir, or poetry collection 
  • A writer looking to incorporate a digital element to their practice 
  • A creative looking to develop a new output, e.g. a podcast, a recurring event series 
  • A creative practitioner looking to upskill in a new area, e.g. working with a specific community (you may also be interested in, Inkubator) 

Who can apply?

Emerging Creative Associates is open to early career freelancers. You must be a registered sole trader or operating as a CIC. Early career refers to freelancers under 30 OR freelancers of any age who consider themselves to be in the early stages of their creative career. 

This programme is funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and therefore you must be registered as a sole-trader or CIC in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland. You will be asked to provide evidence of this should you be accepted. 

How to apply? 

To apply for Emerging Creative Associates 2024, please complete this application form by midday Monday 8 January 2024. 

We will aim to let all candidates know the outcome of their application by end of day Monday 5 February 2024. 

We want to make sure everyone can apply for our opportunities. If you have any access requirements at application stage, or would prefer to submit via video or audio file, please email [email protected]

Queries about applications can be made to [email protected]. Please note that the NWN office will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period. We will endeavour to answer queries as quickly as we can after Tuesday 2 January 2024.

Meet some of our Young Creative Associates for 2023

  • Hazel Atkinson

    Hazel is a freelance writer and creative practitioner based in Newcastle. As a Young Creative Associate Hazel has been working towards designing, developing and delivering a series of creative writing workshops which will engage with the collections in local museums and heritage sites.

  • Caleb Carter

    Caleb is the founder of, a website for new art writing. As a Young Creative Associate Caleb has expanded The Big Ship by turning its weekly collection of experimental vignettes into a volumized zine.

  • Ilisha Thiru Purcell

    Ilisha Thiru Purcell is a poet based in and from Newcastle upon Tyne. As a Young Creative Associate Ilisha has developed a short film exploring trauma, sexuality and landscape, inspired by classical Tamil love poetry. Ilisha has recently been selected as part of the inaugural cohort for the first Poets of Colour Incubator and is a member of the collective Brown Girls Write.