Five ways to explore culture and creativity on campus

10 October 2023 | By: Rachel Pattinson | 2 min read

From giant metal heads to T-Rex skeletons, Newcastle University is home to unique cultural venues, activities, and artworks for everyone to enjoy.

Culture and creative arts are at the heart of what we do, and there is so much to discover in and around campus. Find out what’s on offer as Rachel Pattinson explores five ways to experience culture and creativity on campus.



  1. Our cultural campus

  2. Collaborating beyond campus

  3. Essential to our culture 


Our cultural campus

There’s something special about the ‘toon’ of Newcastle. As a hub for world-leading research and teaching in the creative arts, our Newcastle University campus reflects and enhances the culture of our city and region.

Our campus is one of the most diverse places to experience arts and culture in Newcastle. There are inspiring special collections and archives, stimulating public lectures and live music, and many of the museums, galleries, and artworks on and around the campus are free to visit, too!

Here are five ways to explore culture and creativity, all within a five-minute walk of each other…


1.    Find story inspiration at the Great North Museum: Hancock

In the Great North Museum’s Living Planet gallery, step into the interactive Story Inspiration Station. Created by Open Lab at Newcastle University’s School of Computing, pull the lever to reveal different objects from the Museum’s natural history, archaeology, geology, and global collections, and tell your own story about them.

It's just one of the exhibits across the Museum informed by research at Newcastle University. We’re also working together to uncover new knowledge about the Museum’s collections and provide hands-on learning experiences for our students.

2.    Go on an art trail around campus

Walking between meetings, I love seeing the public art around campus. Gateshead has the iconic Angel of the North, but did you know that Newcastle University’s King’s Walk also hosts an Antony Gormley sculpture?

And from there, it’s just a short walk to see the bronze heads of Joseph Hillier’s Generation in the Student Forum, as well as Nigel Boonham’s statue of Dr Martin Luther King in the King Quad Courtyard.


Child writing in Farrell Centre

Child drawing in the Farrell Centre 


3.    Explore the future of cities at the Farrell Centre

Our newest cultural venue on campus is the Farrell Centre in the Sir Terry Farrell Building. It’s dedicated to widening the debate around the future of architecture and planning.

Part of the Farrell’s regular events programme, drop in for Tea at 3 every Friday in the Urban Rooms, bring your ‘Little Builder’ to explore making and creating, and see their latest exhibition.

4.    Discover abstract art at the Hatton Gallery

Showcasing modern and contemporary art exhibitions and events, the Hatton Gallery is celebrating this year as our School of Arts and Cultures turns 100. Delving into that history is a highlight of the autumn / winter 2023 programme, through the Matt Rugg: Connecting Form exhibition.

Guest curated by Newcastle University’s Dr Harriet Sutcliffe, this is the first major retrospective of the work of British abstract artist Matt Rugg (1935 – 2020), who taught Fine Art at King’s College, Newcastle (before we became Newcastle University).

Exterior of Northern Stage

Outside view of the Northern Stage


5.    Watch the world go by at Northern Stage

Relax after your tour of our cultural campus in Northern Stage’s Café Bar. It’s a lovely space to grab a coffee, meet with friends, or catch up with some work.

The largest producing theatre in the North East of England, head to one of Northern Stage’s regularly changing performances, including plays, comedy, and musicals. Our researchers regularly work with Northern Stage to present productions informed by their work, such as recent runs of HERE, Magnolia Walls, and Father Unknown.


Collaborating beyond campus

Our cultural collaborations span outside of our campus, too. We’re working to foster an inclusive cultural community across and beyond the University.

By collaborating with creative partners - including the National Trust, the NewBridge Project and Opera North - we’re exploring interdisciplinary research challenges, creating opportunities for students to learn creative skills, and supporting the work of arts and cultural organisations.

We also recognise freelancers as being a key part of the cultural workforce. We partner with North East Cultural Freelancers to deliver Wor Culture forums - discussing topics that matter to them.


Essential to our culture

While wandering around our cultural campus is always nice, we don’t see creativity as a ‘nice to have’ – but as an essential. 2023 still poses a challenging landscape for the cultural sector, and for arts and humanities research.

But with the UK Government’s plans to boost the creative industries, recognition of this as one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors – together with the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s cultural and creative investment programme – makes it promising to see policymakers are starting to think more creatively about this, too.

Discover more about Newcastle University’s cultural venues and events by visiting


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