Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meet Mr Big Idea"

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meet Mr Big Idea"

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Whetstone

We have got the buildings, now for the big ideas. Paul Collard, the new head of the Culture 10 campaign, tells David Whetstone how the North-East can build on its success.

Paul Collard has been appointed full time creative director of Newcastle Gateshead's Culture 10 initiative - an official Mr Big Ideas for the North-East.

He will step down as chairman of Arts Council England, North-East to take on the job.

In a separate move, he is also to join a committee advising the London team bidding for the 2012 Olympics on cultural matters.

Mr Collard, 48, first came to the North-East in 1993 to organise the Year of the Visual Arts, a festival which took place in 1996 and was deemed a huge success.

After a period in America, launching a festival of arts and ideas, he returned to the North-East to become programme development director at the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and a driving force behind the European Capital of Culture bid.

He said: "Our objectives for 2003-4 were to secure the nomination to be European Capital of Culture or, failing that, to put in place an alternative strategy," he said.

"That strategy needed to be defined and agreed with our partners and we had to ensure we had funding and structures in place. That's the position we are at now."

He said there was a determination at the NGI and among its partners to build on the momentum built up during the bid.

He said: "NGI existed before the bidding came along as the marketing department for Newcastle and Gateshead.

"They had just invented the Newcastle Gateshead concept and chose to bid in order to promote it.

"I think in 2002, when Newsweek magazine included it as one of the eight most creative cities in the world, everyone was surprised.

He said cultural regeneration had seen pounds 350m of new art facilities and structures developed in the North-East since the Angel of the North went up in 1998. This had seen a dramatic rise in tourism and even in educational achievements, particularly in Gateshead. …

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