Last night I attended a presentation about the work of both the Sage and Baltic. Held at the Baltic Gallery, it brought councillors up to date on the work of both these major cultural organisations and buildings. Points of particular interest to me included:
- setting up cultural links with cities on the coast of Scandinavia and the Baltic, regardless of Brexit. I jokingly dubbed it the 21st Century Hanseatic League.
- raising the levels of people's cookery skills to avoid waste and get the most out of food resources. Whenever I raise this, Labour councillors spit venom at me, so it was great to see a major cultural organisation in Gateshead addressing this issue as well.
- making Baltic and Sage relevant to residents - I have consistently argued that these cultural institutions are more about jobs, the visitor economy and building up the wealth of the economy. However, there is a need to make them more directly relevant to residents in their every day lives. How do we get more of the people of Gateshead to come through the doors of the Baltic and Sage. We had a useful discussion on this.
I then took the opportunity to have a look at the exhibition by Ifeoma U Anyaeji. The exhibits are made from discarded plastic waste, mainly plastic bags.