New Arts North is a community arts organisation based in the north of England, specialising in music and visual art. It works with schools, colleges, community and health groups; and other arts organisations to create innovative and rewarding arts projects. It was set up as a social enterprise and is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.
Ethics and Aims
New Arts North Ltd adheres to an ethic that centres around sensitive community engagement. That is to say, we build projects, courses, creative opportunities and events around the needs, aspirations and interests of the communities we work with.
In our projects, participants are fully able to ‘own’ the work, having been engaged right from the outset. We are sensitive to the fact that we are invited into various communities, institutions and settings, all with their own traditions and cultures which we endeavour to respect. This underpins the type of relationship we embark on with partners – one of longevity, consistency, honesty, and commitment.
Our main aim is to work specifically with participants to create original music and art, with an emphasis on personal and group creativity and skills development, together with creative community development. We aim to boost creativity and its social and therapeutic uses, in the community in general. Whilst we do deliver either purely musical or art activities, our interest lies in multi-disciplinary work, and placing music and art within a multidisciplinary sphere, whereby, due to extending choice and possibility, there is more opportunity for participant engagement.
Russell Burbush has a long-served career in music composition, writing and performance (based in London and Cumbria). He moved into community art in 1999, originally working freelance with Theatre by the Lake’s youth theatre in Keswick, Quondam theatre in Penrith and later Changeling Productions (operating across northern England). In the past 11 years, he has acquired an MA in Community Art (Distinction) at the University of Central Lancashire, where he also lectured on the Performing Arts courses on a temporary contract basis; took up the post of Head of Music at Great Yarmouth College (teaching foundation Degree and Diploma level); and has undertaken various multidisciplinary projects in numerous settings.
He has a strong relationship with primary and secondary schools around Cumbria, through Creative Futures (as agent and practitioner); through independent initiatives; and now as a school governor of Threlkeld C of E School. He continues to compose in three ways: independently, for Keswick Community Choir and a variety of other briefs (TV, theatre); in collaboration, with other practitioners on large multidisciplinary community projects; and through facilitating the creative composition in others, particularly young people. He is choir director and founder of Keswick Community Choir, and other community singing groups.
Celia Burbush began her career in visual art in 1993, Whilst broadening her interests to languages (completing a BA (Jt Hons) Management Studies and Spanish at Leeds University by 1997), she continued with her visual art, attending a foundational college for Fine Art in Madrid. She began exhibiting in Birmingham and Keswick from 1999 onwards. She also undertook a two-year appointment with Theatre by the Lake as Administrator during its construction period and inaugural years, during which Celia set up and programmed the theatre’s two art galleries.
Celia gained her BA Fine Art in 2004 at Cumbria College of Art and Design (at that time accredited by University of Northumbria), expanding her practice to include film, photography, animation, writing and illustrating fiction; and book-making. She has taken her varied practice into a community setting, working with schools (primarily along the west coast of Cumbria), mental health organisations (working with Amaze [Cumbria’s NHS Early Intervention into Psychosis team] , adult education (Cockermouth and Keswick) and arts organisations and venues across Cumbria. She continues to develop her own practice, based around painting and its cross-pollination with other artforms. A strong belief in the social and therapeutic benefits of pursuing a creative activity is what drives Celia’s community arts practice. Her practice consists essentially in constructing and maintaining opportunities in which others can gain fundamental skills and knowledge, in whatever area they feel drawn to, be it film, animation, print, live performance, embroidery and so on.
New Arts North Ltd works with like-minded organisations and freelance artists, and thanks them for their support.