Episode 18 – Sarah Bradbury

Notes on Cultural Peeps Podcast Episode 18: Sarah Bradbury

Hello and welcome to Episode 18 of the Cultural Peeps Podcast. I’m in Cullercoats today which is where I interviewed today’s guest, Sarah Bradbury.

Sarah is the Local Partnership Co-ordinator within the National Trust and is based at Seaton Delaval Hall.

Seaton Delaval Hall is currently undergoing a Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project to conserve the Hall and also undertake woodland management works to improve the health of the landscape and restore lost elements of the eighteenth century design.

Sarah’s role at the Hall sees her working with staff, stakeholders and local communities as well as working with local Universities.

Alongside her work at the Hall, Sarah is currently setting up a Community Interest Company called the ‘Good Human Project’.

We start our conversation hearing about Sarah’s early interests in Art and the impact that the seemingly non-related Religious Studies had on her thinking at school and how she then connected that with her interest in Art.

She then went on to undertake a Fine Art degree at Loughborough University, specialising in Sculpture and fondly recalls a real family like atmosphere, and enjoying a strong connection with her cohort which has had a lasting impact on her.

After University, Sarah volunteered for 4 months in Ghana, Africa which she describes as a life changing experience, and something that made her question the relevance of her own practice.

Sarah relocated to Newcastle, where after working in a series of non-art related jobs and feeling like she had gotten a little off track, she consciously recalls reminding herself of what she wanted to do – and that was working with and connecting people in a creative capacity, allowing them to express themselves and explore the potential of art.

She then took the proactive step of beginning to design and deliver workshops in a freelance capacity in different contexts – initially at Festivals, but this then grew and developed into a role working with the Percy Headley Foundation, eventually setting up an artists studio.

Sarah then applied for the role of Community Programmer with the Learning and Engagement team at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

In our conversation, Sarah and I talk about the challenge of working in partnership with different audiences and stakeholders and how tempting it is to try and over-solve problems that emerge as projects develop – instead, recognising the need for allowing participants to find their own path, working with them and recognising that the collective group are on a unique journey together in which they all have a role.

Sarah extends this thinking to her approach to her own career pathway, describing how she responds to situations and jobs using the phrase, ‘following a piece of string’ – which I think is a nice way of thinking about how she has found her way through the sector, essentially retaining a curiosity for how things fit together and responding to things that interest her in a proactive and creative way, whilst not being too fixed on the actual destination.

Links to Podcast content:

National Trust:

Seaton Delaval Hall:

Loughborough University:

Percy Hedley Foundation:

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

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