Artist Visits in February and March 2017

Following our artist visit to The Affordable Art Fair in October 2016 we’re pleased to bring you details of what we think are two great ways for visual artists in Teesside to develop their professional practice and creative networks through the Creative Industries in Context strand of our current Professional Development programme.

In February we will take a group to meet East Street Arts in Leeds, who, as well as being our partner organisation with temporary spaces are also leading the way in terms of artist led activity and cultural development in Leeds and beyond. This visit will take in more recent projects from East Street Arts including the first ever social enterprise Art Hostel in the UK and a newly formed printmaking co-operative and dedicated print space.

For our next visit in March we’re a little closer to home going behind the scenes and getting the inside knowledge from mima – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. There’ll be four very specific sessions during the day to enhance essential awareness and knowledge in terms of showing and exhibiting works.

We are expecting both visits to be very popular so please get in touch asap if you’re interested in joining us.

Artist visit to Leeds – Tues 14th February 2017

In partnership with East Street Arts, visual artists from Teesside are invited to join us for a research visit to Leeds.

The focus of the visit will be around finding out more about East Street Arts and how they offer opportunities and support to artists. The selected artists will visit key projects and venues in Leeds City Centre including-

Patrick Studios – Refurbished artist studios, project space and East Street Arts HQ
The Art Hostel – Leeds first ever social enterprise art hostel with artist designed rooms
Leeds Print Workshop – A co-operative printmaking studio as part of 130 Vicar Lane

The visit will also include a networking opportunity in the early evening with Leeds based artists and East Street Arts staff.This event will offer Teesside based artists a fantastic way to broaden their networks across the region, find out about further arts organisations, opportunities and resources.

Further information and how to applyThis opportunity is open to all visual artists living or working in Teesside.

The visit is subsidised through Navigator North’s programme funding and is offered to Navigator North/East Street Arts studio holders/members at no cost.

A contribution of £12 will be asked if artists are not NN/ESA studio holders or members and will be payable prior to the visit.

Selected artists are responsible for getting themselves to and from Darlington train station on the day. We will be travelling together as a group and artists are expected to stay together for the entirety of the visit.

We will be leaving from Darlington train station on Tuesday 14th February at 09.40 to arrive into Leeds at 10.40, we will then be returning the same day from Leeds at 19.43 into Darlington at 20.40.

If you would like to request a place please email with “Artist visit to Leeds”  in the subject header and tell us why in paragraph or two you’d like to join us for this visit.

Please note that places are limited.

Deadline for requesting a place is 9am Wednesday 1st February.

mima visit 1

Above – previous artist visit to mima

Artist visit to mima – Wed 8th March, 10am – 4pm

In partnership with mima – Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, visual artists from Teesside are invited to join us for a research visit to mima.

The visit will focus on how mima work with artists and the roles and skills required carrying out that work. First-hand knowledge, advice and insights will be offered from specialists at mima to enhance and develop creative practice. It will also be a good opportunity to extend artist networks and contacts.

The day will run as follows –

9.45am: Group to meet in The Smeltery (café at mima)

10-11am: Elinor Morgan – Senior Curator
Elinor will present on mima’s programme including curatorial practice and how public galleries build relationships and work with artists and audiences.

11 – 12pm: Helen Welford – Assistant Curator
Helen, who leads on caring for the Middlesbrough Collection held at mima, will offer essential advice to artists on handling, packing and transporting artworks.

1 – 2pm: Lunch
A communal lunch offers a chance to meet more members of the team. Bring a dish to share or a packed lunch.

2 – 3pm: mima technical team
This part of the day offers tips on installing exhibitions and how to hang works. Using the current, mima displays as stimulus, artists will find out more about hanging framed and unframed works, showing archival material and presenting video work amongst other things.

From 3pm: Collections tour (optional)
Helen Welford will offer the group access to the Middlesbrough Collection and a behind the scenes tour – offering further insight into works and artists within the collection.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, part of Teesside University, is moving forward with a civic agenda, aiming to have a social function and to repurpose art as a tool. With this vision, we see ourselves as a ‘useful’ museum.

Further information and how to apply

This opportunity is open to all visual artists living or working in Teesside.

This is a group visit with limited places and artists are expected to stay for the entirety of the planned visit.

There is no charge for the visit. Please bring something with you for the lunch.

If you would like to request a place please email with “Artist visit to mima”  in the subject header and tell us why in paragraph or two you’d like to join us for this visit.

Deadline for requesting a place is 9am Wednesday 22nd February.


 Above – previous visit to Platform A gallery

Artist visit to The House of Blah Blah and Platform A Gallery and Platform Arts Studios, Middlesbrough – Tues 14th March, 10.15am – 3pm

 Visual artists from Teesside are invited to join us for a research visit to The House of Blah Blah, Platform A Gallery and Platform Arts studios in Middlesbrough.

The day will run as follows –

10.15am: Group to meet at Dundas House reception, inside Dundas Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough and walk to The House of Blah Blah, Exchange Square

10-30am: Keren Pearson at The House of Blah Blah

The House of Blah Blah is a multi-purpose creative space in Middlesbrough which provides artists, creatives, musicians, photographers, independent businesses, designers and filmmakers low cost space to create and promote their work.

The House of Blah Blah gallery and event space offers a platform for creatives to showcase their work.

This visit is intended to give artists an insight into how an organisation like The House of Blah Blah offer opportunities for artists to make and show work. Keren will share how and why The House of Blah Blah was founded and their aims for working with creatives and offering programmes of exhibitions and events in their Middlesbrough space.

12 – 1pm: Lunch at Dundas House

A communal lunch offers a chance to find out more about each other and Navigator North. Bring a dish to share or a packed lunch.

1.30pm: Tony Charles at Platform A Gallery and Platform Arts Studios, Middlesbrough train station

Platform Arts Limited is a Tees Valley based charity committed to affordable studio provision for professional artists and the development of art practice within the region and offer purpose built artists’ studios situated within Middlesbrough Train Station.

Founded as an extension to Platform Art Studios in 2011, Platform A is a gallery dedicated to innovative developments in contemporary art through its diverse programme of exhibitions.

Tony will give the group a tour of both Platform A Gallery and studios. This will be an opportunity to visit the latest show at Platform A gallery which is a solo show of Tony’s work. Artists will find out how the gallery shows the work of both established and emerging contemporary visual artists and represent a number of artists at national arts events and shows.

 Further information and how to apply

This opportunity is open to all visual artists living or working in Teesside.

This is a group visit with limited places and artists are expected to stay for the entirety of the planned visit.

There is no charge for the visit. Please bring something with you for the lunch.

If you would like to request a place please email with “Artist visit in Middlesbrough”  in the subject header and tell us why in paragraph or two you’d like to join us for this visit.

Deadline for requesting a place is 9am Wednesday 1st March

Stargazing Tents at Nightfall 2016

On Friday 14th October the culmination of ideas, planning, mentoring and designing came to fruition, in the form of Stellar Project’s Nightfall Event. The programme of installations and activities took place in Middlesbrough Town Centre, inspired by the beauty and wonder of the night sky.

Stellar Projects and Navigator North have collaborated to offer five emerging artists from Teesside and County Durham the opportunity to create site specific installations as content for a series of Stargazing Tents. Each artist has benefited from a bursary which included mentoring, workspace, technical and professional support.

Life on Mars, Caroline Devine


Inspired by the latest images of the surface of Mars, Caroline Devine created a piece of the Martian landscape here on Earth. Using a mixture of textile printing, sculptural techniques and manipulation of light sources to bring her vision of the newly discovered side of Mars to life.

Wishes, Rebecca Nicholson


The act of wishing upon stars has been around since the ancient Greeks and is still something that brings a sense of hope, wonder and magic today. ‘Wishes’ was based upon this superstition and looked at the wishes of the people of Teesside. The interactive installation invited people to write a wish upon the star and add it to the sea of fallen stars which fill the space.

Moment, Namita Vijayakumar


Moment, a light and sound installation inspired by the Northern Lights, included a sculpture that shifted various colours and emitted mysterious sounds in order to evoke its mesmerising atmosphere. Audiences stepped inside the tent and took the opportunity to take a moment, relax and enjoy an immersive experience.

Am I Still Functional? Hope Stebbing


Am I still functional? Explored man’s relatively recent venture into space. In a universe where cosmic leftovers litter the sky, audiences could take the chance to rummage through the barren landscape, immersing themselves in texture and light.

Infinity, Saud Baloch


Infinity brought the feeling of gazing into outer space into the intimate sphere of the stargazing tent. Inside, lights swirled around a dark centre, evoking in miniature a sense of the infinite depth of the universe, the vast collections of gas, dust and stars our galaxy is made of.

Special thanks to our project partners Stellar Projects. It was magical evening, with fantastic responses from visitors to the event.

All photographs taken by Jason Hynes

STABLE at Festival of Thrift 2016

Located in Kirkleatham estate’s renovated 18th century Grade II* listed stable block STABLE was a unique project bringing together the creativity and expertise of Navigator North and Festival of Thrift in order to showcase new work by established and emerging visual artists and celebrate the talent of North East based artists during Festival of Thrift 2016.

Through a regional call out 5 emerging artists were selected to receive a bursary to include working with established artists on the STABLE project. Bringing their creative practice and new works to a public audience and to gain first hand experience of that process – building valuable experience, connections and genuine sector specific skills to enhance their career in the arts.

Festival of Thrift director, Stella Hall, says that the project is designed to highlight the value of the arts in building resilient and sustainable communities.

She added: “The Festival is all about inspiring people to live a happy, fulfilled life that doesn’t cost the earth and creativity is a wonderful way of achieving that and prompting people to think differently.”

“Art and creativity underpin so much of what makes life enjoyable and meaningful so we are delighted to be able to celebrate that with the STABLE project and support developing artists and champion an amazing artist like Steve at the same time.”


Works from the emerging artists included; a walk-through woven installation, a series of cast sandcastle sculptures, an equestrian themed shadow sculpture, a film installation responding to horse racing and a light and sound responsive suspended ceramic and glass installation.

Nicola Golightly, Navigator North Co-Director says: “Working with Festival of Thrift for the fourth year running, we are looking forward to supporting the STABLE artists via our professional development bursary. The event offers an exciting platform for showing the work of 5 talented emerging regional artists alongside our established artist.”

Group at Stables credit to Jason Hynes

Above – left to right; Christina Hesford, Paul Murray, Vicky Holbrough (Navigator North), Kirsty Childs, Steve Messam, Stella Hall (Festival of Thrift), Janet Rogers, Nicola Golightly (Navigator North), Becky Nicholson, Alex Nicholson (Festival of Thrift). 
Here’s a film covering the event and the STABLE artists –


Kirsty Childs

Born in Middlesbrough, Kirsty has just completed her degree in Fine Art at Teesside University having previously studied her foundation at Cleveland collage of Art and Design.

She specialises in film and sculpture and describes herself as an artist who aims to question how we consider the world around us by drawing attention to areas of the built environment which goes unnoticed by others.  Her work is an artistic response to ideas around social control.


Above – The Last Post, Kirsty Childs, 2016

For STABLE Kirsty created an installation within one of the empty stalls previously inhabited by race horses.

The work tackles the British horse racing arena where complex issue of class and gender collide. Using her own and found footage Kirsty Childs made a film showing some of the excitement and exhilaration of a sample horse race, as seen through the eyes of a spectator.

The stable block where the work was shown was once the home of the English thoroughbred and champion horse the Flying Dutchman, regarded by experts as one of the greatest British racehorses of the nineteenth century. He raced for four seasons between 1848 and 1851, winning all but one of his fifteen races, including the Epsom Derby and the St Leger. His final racecourse appearance was probably the most celebrated match race in the history of British thoroughbred racing.

Christina Hesford

Christina was born in Indonesia and lived in Brazil before settling in Stockton-on-Tees, is a textile artist specialising in weave. Trained at Cleveland College of Art and Design and Manchester School of Art, she uses materials such as silk, linen, cotton, paper, and gold-foil to make artworks that explore the traces and experiences of humanity’s passage on Earth.


Above – Avenue, Christina Hesford, 2016

For STABLE Christina created ‘Avenue’  a large, site-specific, woven installation developed especially for the stables at Kirkleatham Museum. In order to fully experience the artwork, viewers were encouraged to walk through and upon it.

Supported on a steel framework, the artwork was hand-woven using hand-cut polythene sheeting and fire-hoses. The materials chosen reflect the recent history of arson within the stable blocks. Since 1990, the stables have been subject to arson three times, each time causing immense damage to the impressive Grade II listed buildings.

The hoses used to weave the walkway were de-commissioned fire-hoses kindly donated by the Redcar & Cleveland Fire Service. Woven using a herringbone structure, the pattern mirrors the beautiful tiling present on the main walkways of the stable block.

Steve Messam

Steve works around the world from his studio space in Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham.  He is renowned for his site-specific installations, setting visual accents in rural or urban settings, which include historical relics and vacant architecture to make people perceive the familiar environment in a new way.

As an artist Steve Messam has worked primarily outside the gallery environment for the past 18 years. In addition to his ‘PaperBridge’ work in 2015 his work includes ‘Clad’ (2009) – a traditional timber-framed cottage wrapped in the fleece of 300 local sheep in Newtown, Wales and ‘Carpet’ (2013) – an installation of 25,000 jars of coloured ink in Lindisfarne Priory. He created the first off-site installation at the 2006 Shanghai Biennial and created a number of site specific installations across the Venetian Lagoon during the 2009 Venice Biennale.


Above – Tower, Steve Messam, 2016

For STABLE Steve created a new piece called ‘Tower’, which was a temporary installation within the staircase block of the stables and involved large textile forms playing with the geometric architecture of the rear of the main stable block, attributed to architect James Gibbs who also designed the nearby Almshouses as well as St Martins in the Field and St Mary le Strand in London.

Paul Theo Murray

Middlesbrough-born Paul Theo Murray studied BA (Hons) Visual Communication at Leeds College of Art and took part in Navigator North’s NICE Programme for emerging artists before taking part in mima’s Emerging Curators project.  Since then Paul has worked on and created various creative projects and lives and works in Stockton-on-Tees.

Paul’s work explores the relationship between humans and nature. His work aims to identify the ways in which human beings connect and also disconnect from the natural world around us, on a daily basis.


Above – Golden Tops,Paul Theo Murray, 2016

For STABLE ‘Golden Tops’ was a site-specific installation of sculptural ‘sand castles’ made from a mixture of concrete and hay cast, which are a new-fashioned version of traditional building materials such as cob & abode.

At the end of Festival of Thrift, the sculptures were given a new lease of life, with audience members being invited to sign up to re-house the individual sculptures and take them away at the end of the festival. On receiving a sculpture, the new owners were asked to send a photograph of the sculpture in its new setting to the artist to form a new body of work.

Rebecca Nicholson

Rebecca Nicholson, a former pupil of Ian Ramsey School in Stockton and Stockton Sixth Form College who graduated this summer from Cleveland College of Art and Design with a BA (Hons) in Production Design for Stage and Screen.

Aiming to base her practice in Teesside and the north east, Rebecca’s work is multi-disciplinary and is constantly adapting to meet the needs of the space and the brief, often using traditional disciplines, such as painting and sculpture mixed with digital techniques to create her work.


Above – Dark Horse, Rebecca Nicholson, 2016

For STABLE Rebecca created a new work titled ‘Dark Horse’, which consisted of four sculptures created from recycled and found objects such as bottles tops, cereal boxes and plastic packaging. When these sculptures were lit by a spotlight from below the life-size shadow of a thoroughbred horse was projected onto the stable wall.

The works intention is that the true form of the sculptures will only be understood by looking at the shadow, otherwise they will appear simply to be distorted piles of trash. Designed to challenge the way people think about recycled/thrown away household waste the work encompasses the ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ philosophy.

Janet Rogers

Durham-based glass and porcelain artist Janet Rogers uses traditional craftsmen’s techniques with bold modern designs to produce vibrant works with a contemporary feel.  Janet Rogers is a self-taught glass and porcelain artist working from her studio in Durham City.

She works full time designing and producing commissions for domestic and commercial projects around Europe and the UK.


Above – The Glass Curtain, Janet Rogers, 2016

For STABLE Janet created a light and sound responsive suspended ceramic and glass installation called ‘The Glass Curtain’.

The intention behind the piece was to put back the splendour, affluence and grandeur the stables once had as Chomley Turner who inherited Kirleatham Hall and a vast amount of money, commissioned James Gibb the most prominent architect of the eighteenth century to design the Stable Block. At the same time the first specimen of hard white and vitrified porcelain was produced.  The Turners would almost certainly have had an abundance of porcelain in their palatial home.

Group at Stables 2 credit to Jason Hynes

All images by Jason Hynes

Professional Development 2016/17

Introducing our programme of Professional Development for artists…

During the past 5 years we have worked to support artists through various programmes of opportunities and professional development, offered alongside our ongoing provision of work/exhibition/event space in temporary spaces in Teesside.

Our focus for this project in 2016/2017 is two-fold; working to support the professional development and creative practice of early stage artists, and bringing artist work to a public audience.

Through this programme we are working in partnership with Festival of Thrift, Stellar Projects, East Street Arts and Prince’s Trust artists across Teesside and Co Durham.

Artist Commissions and Bursaries

Emerging artists will work with established artists on public arts events to bring their work to a public audience and gain first hand experience of that process – building valuable experience, connections and genuine sector specific skills to enhance their career in the arts.

Events include Festival of Thrift at Kirkleatham Hall, Redcar taking place in September and Nightfall in Middlesbrough taking place in October.

Artist bursaries will include –

  • Bursaries and materials budget to enable artists to produce work
  • One to one and group mentoring from arts professionals and established artists
  • Professional skills development sessions and artist talks with arts professionals such as Festival of Thrift/Nightfall production managers & creative directors

A regional call out for emerging artists will go out in July for both events 

We have two opportunities for artists to join us and the bursary artists to benefit from the insight and experience of arts professional Stella Hall – Festival of Thrift director and artist Stuart Langley – commissioned artist for Nightfall.

For further details about Stella’s session on 3rd Oct click here and for further details of Stuart’s session on 21st Sept click here. These sessions are free but places are limited and must be booked in advance.


Studio Bursaries_Header_RGBImage Credit : Sophie Ingleby

Space for Artists

Two artists will each receive a 6 month bursary which will consist of studio space to encourage self-led development, the making of work and enabling collaboration and networking with other artists within one of Navigator North’s and East Street Arts temporary spaces in Teesside. Further support will be provided by individual mentoring sessions and an East Street Arts membership.

This bursary will take place between Oct 2016 and March 2017 and applications will be open from mid-August

Joanne & Jess

Business Advice and Training

Business advice and training, offered in partnership with Prince’s Trust through their Explore Enterprise four day course. This opportunity is free to participants between the ages of 18 to 30 years old, who work less than 16 hours per week. This course will run from Monday 7th to Thursday 10th November 2016.


Creative Industries in Context

Insight and practical arts sector knowledge through organised visits to and from inspiring arts organisations and professionals including East Street Arts in Leeds and arts organisations in Teesside.

A national visit to a recognised arts event will offer further insight and awareness of ‘routes to market’ for artists work.

Sign up to the Navigator North mailing list for updates on the programme.

LOGO BAR_Prof Dev Prog 2016



We work in partnership with East Street Arts and Hammond & Associates as part of the InSitu programme, to support artists and the furtherance of the arts with the use of temporary spaces. We use these spaces whilst they are still up for commercial let and although temporary in nature (a two week notice period on most), many of these spaces have been unused for some time and are often in a variety of conditions when we acquire them. This can vary from ‘Grade A’ office space to long term empty properties in need of renovation before being commercially viable.
Space for Artists_image 6Each space can be used for a variety of uses to support the arts, and as part of our application process we aim to ensure that there is a good match between the nature of the space alongside the needs of the artist and their activity. These spaces are offered to support the development of the arts and artistic practice and are not available through us for activity of a more commercial nature.
Ongoing studio spaces are allocated via an application process and require successful applicants to become members of East Street Arts (annual membership is £50), supply a suitable reference, provide a bond for the space and set up a monthly standing order to pay for studio fees. Studio fees vary depending on each space from £50 to £120 per month. One month’s notice is required on all studio spaces.
Current spaces in use through us include –

  • Dundas House, Middlesbrough –office type spaces
  • Eggleston Court, Riverside Park, Middlesbrough – office type spaces
  • Teesview, Stockton Riverside – office type spaces
  • Keld House, Thornaby – office type spaces

One off or time limited use of spaces is also possible by arrangement.

Hub1Dundas House
All of our studio holders have ongoing access to our Middlesbrough base at Dundas House, where the Navigator North office is based. This building houses our Hub space where artists can use the space to spend time, access WiFi and have informal meetings.
TPR1Keep an eye out for upcoming open studios and viewing days by signing up to our newsletter here

For more detailed information about any of our spaces and an application form please email

*Please note individual viewings of spaces can only be offered once a suitable application has been submitted.