We’re delighted to be working in the role of Creative Producer with artists, Joanne Coates and Abre Etteh, who have been commissioned to deliver the first research and development stage of Creatively Connected, the arts element of the Tees-Swale programme.

The North Pennines AONB Partnership and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are working together to deliver ‘Tees-Swale: naturally connected’. This five-year natural heritage programme is funded primarily by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Tees-Swale puts farmers and land managers at the forefront of nature recovery in the nationally important landscapes of Upper Teesdale and Upper Swaledale.

Creatively Connected is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and will use art as a medium to strengthen people’s ties to the landscape by encouraging creative thinking. The project will engage local communities along the dales, between the dales, and with communities beyond, to strengthen connections to these wonderful and important landscapes.

Joanne Coates is an award-winning artist using a documentary photography approach to capture everyday stories. Based in the rural North of England, she is interested in modes of production, rurality, working life and class inequality. Jo aims to engage with the communities of Teesdale, exploring issues that are important to them through photography and handwritten diaries.

Abre Etteh is an artist focused on sculpture and installation and uses themes of belonging and the landscape. His work will focus on Upper Swaledale, creating and installing hand-woven woollen panels in the landscape with the assistance of local people and groups. It will be inspired by the characteristic dry stone walls of Swaledale and explore the connection with the communities that maintain them.


There will be opportunities to get involved throughout the life of the project. Keep an eye on the events page of the North Pennines AONB website for more information. Through the project people will be immersed in the stories of the landscape, celebrating the rich natural and cultural heritage of this area. The process will connect individuals and communities with the landscapes of Upper Teesdale and Upper Swaledale. With interest in the area sparked by the arts activity, it will encourage people to experience, learn more about, return to, and celebrate the area.

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