Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums celebrates win at North East Culture Awards

14 December 2023

"To win the Best Arts & Business Partnership alongside Ad Gefrin is wonderful..."

Photograph showing five individuals collecting an award.Image: L-R, Claire Byers and Dr Chris Ferguson of Ad Gefrin. Julie Milne, Keith Merrin and Sheryl McGregor of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) has won Best Arts & Business Partnership at the North East Culture Awards. TWAM received the accolade during last night’s awards ceremony at The Fire Station in Sunderland.

The award recognises the highly successful partnership between Newcastle’s Laing Art Gallery – one of nine popular attractions managed by TWAM – and Ad Gefrin Anglo-Saxon Museum and Distillery in Wooler.

The two organisations came together when Ad Gefrin signed as headline sponsor for the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery. The blockbuster show took place from September – December 2022 and drew more than 56,000 visits to the gallery.

Ad Gefrin opened in March 2023 as a celebration of the Anglo-Saxon ‘Golden Age’ of Northumbria. The benefits of the partnership were two-fold: TWAM received vital sponsorship funding and Ad Gefrin was able to promote its business launch to a large audience interested in the Lindisfarne Gospels – considered to be one of the finest surviving Anglo-Saxon treasures.

Keith Merrin, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said:

“The North East Culture Awards is always a great night and I love seeing the sector come together to celebrate the huge benefits we deliver for our communities.

“To win the Best Arts & Business Partnership alongside Ad Gefrin is wonderful. The Anglo-Saxon museum and whisky distillery in Wooler is a superb addition to the visitor economy in the North East.”

Dr Chris Ferguson, Director of Experience at Ad Gefrin, said:

“The royal court at Ad Gefrin and the rich creative culture it cultivated led up to the foundation of the new Northumbrian monasteries 1,400 years ago, particularly at Lindisfarne.

“The outpouring of artistic creativity that followed led directly to the creation of artworks such as the Lindisfarne Gospels. Partnering with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums was the perfect fit for Ad Gefrin as we worked towards opening for the first time.”

There was more recognition of TWAM’s position as a leader in the North East arts and culture sector at the awards ceremony.

Hadrian’s Wall 1900 Festival picked up the Best Event or Exhibition award. TWAM was a key organising partner of the year-long event that celebrated the 1900th anniversary of the building of the Roman wall. Bill Griffiths, Head of Programmes and Collections at TWAM, acted as the Chair of the festival steering committee. 1,512 events were delivered across the 73-mile length of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

TWAM’s work was also shortlisted for two other awards. Lindisfarne Gospels narrowly missed out in the Best Event or Exhibition category, whilst the Town Moor Hoppings School (organised by Newcastle City Council School Effectiveness Team and the Great North Museum: Hancock) was a finalist for Best Arts & Education Partnership.

The Town Moor Hoppings School is a temporary school for the children of the Showmen who run the famous Hoppings Fair in Newcastle each June. For the past two years it has been held at the Great North Museum: Hancock, where the varied exhibitions and dedicated learning staff have helped to enrich the experience for scholars.

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