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Hills are Alive 
In collaboration with Jay Sykes media & Art Matters Now  

Hills Arts Centre - 17/18 Waterloo Place, SR13HT 


Public Open dates 

Dates - 04th January 22 - 15th April  22 

Times - 10am - 4pm 


Digital Exhibition - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year. 

Hills are alive is the culmination of Norfolk Street Arts first hertiage programme funded by the National lottery Hertiage Fund. 

Collectively NSA worked with Jay Sykes media and Art Matters now to produce our digital exhibition inspired by and involving the community to produce an audio album and a virtual tour. Throughout 2021 and the beginning of 2022 NSA was involved in regenerating the former Hills bookshop and as a response we have worked with a multigenerational group in order to collect stories and personal histories of the high street in its former glory and the hopes for the future of the highstreet and the new hills site;.

Featured in the exhibition and presented digitally are a selection of personal notes donated the course of the programme by participants and artistic interpretations in response to the former book shop.

Throughout the project, Norfolk Street Arts worked with multiple people, with many of those people attending multiple excursions along the hughstreet and the local histories library at the ETR by the libraries service to access explore, engage and absorb the rich  local culture, history and heritage on offer and learn about the high street. 


Through the project Norfolk Street Arts had highlighted the future of what could be situated on the local community’s doorstep, supporting many small independent high street traders and start ups which are now based in Hills. as well as encouraging people to explore new retail spaces in the city and has promoted social and cultural interventions on the high-street and translated the voices of the community into digital audio pieces and a visual exhibition which will last as a legacy to the former bookshop as the space becomes renewed. 

With thanks to our project parters - Jay Sykes Media, Art Matters Now, The Local Histories Library at the ETR and Sunderland Culture. 

This project has been funded by the National lottery Heritage Fund. 


Virtual Tour - Hills are Alive 

Audio Book - Community Voices


Archive - Research Sample

Hills - newspaper ETR.HEIC

Project Insight 

All Videos

All Videos


The purpose of this project was to promote wellbeing at the core of  heritage research on a grassroots community level.We were able to achieve increased levels of wellbeing amongst participants, by increasing socialisation was a fundamental facet of the project. Participants engaged with their personal response as well as listening to peer responses about their own thoughts feelings and emotions about Sunderland. People were able to feel fully immerse themselves with the culture and heritage on offer, as well as developing an understanding of local history and stories from each others perspectives. 

We were able to foster an environment where people could meet new people, and we created an environment for people to be open and free to express regardless of their backgrounds. This was the first project to be delivered from the newly refurbished arts centre and has set a standard for projects moving forwards and begun to build a community an audience for the space and its future programmes. 

This project has been guided by a cross selection of the community and portrays a city which has suffered through economic hardship, but is on the up, it is both realistically reflective yet positive for the future. 

Hills Modern day article 3.jpeg
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