Inspired by the Olympics and Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and inclusivity, the Outside/In Project, which took place from May – July 2012, provided a space to portray the lives, histories, cultures and sub-cultures outside in the surrounding area (primarily Shieldfield, Benwell and Heaton), bringing these worlds into The Holy Biscuit.
As one of only 3 churches to be awarded the prestigious ‘Inspire’ mark as part of the Cultural Olympiad, we were incredibly proud to be able to contribute culturally and artistically to the local community, as well as the wider public during the lead up and commencement of the London 2012 Olympics.
Four exhibitions showcased various projects, involving a diverse group of young people and adults, from different parts of Newcastle, wherein they told their stories and shared glimpses into their communities.
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We kicked off the start of Outside/In in style, with an exhibition of photography, video, maps and the written word representing street cultures– Skateboarding, BMX and Free-running–and their environments. This was a week-long exhibition, organised by the School of Built and Natural Environment, Northumbria University, with whom we still maintain close ties.
On Saturday 19th May 2012 Shieldfield came alive with skaters, BMX riders, free runners and dancers as part of the Late Shows, running alongside the PlayToon exhibition.
For our second exhibition, The Holy Biscuit was proud to present, ‘Stories from the Past,’ a project, film and exhibition, in which children reenacted and revived the past–bringing to life characters and key events connected to the graveyard at St. James Church, Benwell.
St. James’ Heritage and Environment Group worked with a group of children from St John’s School to explore key periods and events in the history of Benwell. Time Bandits, a local historical re-enactment group, was commissioned to work with the children to research the history of the graveyard and to write fictionalized dramas based on their research. The pupils then performed their dramas on location in the churchyard, as local film-makers, Archive For Change, filmed the project.
The exhibition featured artifacts and photos from the film project, as well as artwork and writing produced by the children, who spoke of the characters and events they portrayed, as well as their experience in the production process.
Our Newcastle was an exhibition of photographic works by pupils of St. Catherine’s Primary School and Christ Church Primary, Shieldfield, with Newcastle-based photographers, Richard Fish and Louise Todd. After participating in workshops led by the photographers, students were given disposable cameras and charged with the task of documenting their day-to-day lives over a weeklong period. This exhibition explored themes of home, community, diversity and identity and finding beauty in the ordinary and the everyday.
We celebrated the Olympic Torch’s journey through Newcastle, on Clarence Street, with a BBQ, lemonade and garden games as well as lots of cheering as the torch approached and passed us by! A once in a lifetime experience!
To conclude Outside/In, we had the privilege of hosting a week-long exhibition involving film footage and photographs of a large (temporary) sculpture made up of wooden blocks created by service-users and students from the Percy Hedley Foundation and the local community.
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. The whole nation is celebrating London 2012 and the Cultural Olympiad – join in the celebration at an arts and culture event near you. To find out more about the Cultural Olympiad in the North East go to: