Laura Brewis is We Make Culture CIC’s founder, director and manages the programmes day to day. She is a freelance arts project manager, specialising in the creative industries, participatory arts and working with young people, and is currently working with Sunderland Culture, Pop Recs Ltd and ARC Stockton. She was previously the Young People’s Programme Manager at New Writing North and has worked at Arts Council England and Mslexia magazine. She is passionate about the power of culture to shape young people’s lives, and wants to remind people that the arts are fun.

ABOUT LAURA

Laura Brewis is We Make Culture CIC’s founder, director and manages the programmes day to day. She is a freelance arts project manager, specialising in the creative industries, participatory arts and working with young people, and is currently working with Sunderland Culture, Pop Recs Ltd and ARC Stockton. She was previously the Young People’s Programme Manager at New Writing North and has worked at Arts Council England and Mslexia magazine. She is passionate about the power of culture to shape young people’s lives, and wants to remind people that the arts are fun.

Marie Nixon is a director of We Make Culture CIC. She works across the education, culture and charities sectors as the Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland Students’ Union. Marie is also a musician and songwriter as well as a Trustee of Beamish Museum, AV Festival and the MAC Trust in Sunderland. She is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme and is interested in the role of creativity in bringing about social change, particularly in the context of North East England

ABOUT MARIE

Marie Nixon is a director of We Make Culture CIC. She works across the education, culture and charities sectors as the Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland Students’ Union. Marie is also a musician and songwriter as well as a Trustee of Beamish Museum, AV Festival and the MAC Trust in Sunderland. She is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme and is interested in the role of creativity in bringing about social change, particularly in the context of North East England

Hannah Matterson is a director of We Make Culture CIC. Hannah is an arts fundraiser and producer who has worked across Sunderland and the North East to enable others to bring their creative projects to life. She has helped develop festivals such as Sunderland Creative Writing Festival and Sunderland Short Film Festival, as well as being a part of the team who worked to deliver Sunderland’s bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2021 and the redevelopment of the MAC Quarter. She is a member of the North East Cultural Partnership’s International Group and is particularly interested in partnerships between the cultural sector and other industries.

ABOUT HANNAH

Hannah Matterson is a director of We Make Culture CIC. Hannah is an arts fundraiser and producer who has worked across Sunderland and the North East to enable others to bring their creative projects to life. She has helped develop festivals such as Sunderland Creative Writing Festival and Sunderland Short Film Festival, as well as being a part of the team who worked to deliver Sunderland’s bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2021 and the redevelopment of the MAC Quarter. She is a member of the North East Cultural Partnership’s International Group and is particularly interested in partnerships between the cultural sector and other industries.

artists

Jennie Brewis leads our Sunderland Pop Choir. She is a songwriter, performer, educator and cultural producer. She has worked with The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland Council, The Customs House and The Word (South Shields) delivering Singing and Songwriting projects. She also has many years’ experience lecturing in singing, songwriting, popular music history and Music in Society. She is currently leading choirs in collaboration with We Make Culture and Cultural Spring in Sunderland, as well as project managing for New Writing North and ‘Our Place’, a multimedia arts project for Newcastle University.

ABOUT JENNIE

Jennie Brewis leads our Sunderland Pop Choir. She is a songwriter, performer, educator and cultural producer. She has worked with The Sage Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland Council, The Customs House and The Word (South Shields) delivering Singing and Songwriting projects. She also has many years’ experience lecturing in singing, songwriting, popular music history and Music in Society. She is currently leading choirs in collaboration with We Make Culture and Cultural Spring in Sunderland, as well as project managing for New Writing North and ‘Our Place’, a multimedia arts project for Newcastle University.

Liz Corney leads our Washington Pop Choir. Liz is a musician specialising in high quality singing and songwriting workshops and projects across the North East. She has over a decade of experience facilitating singing groups and regularly leads a pop choir in Washington. She has worked for many arts organisations over the years including Sage Gateshead, Helix Arts, Musinc, New Writing North and is now currently focussing on helping women and girls get into music on projects for Generator and as a volunteer for Girls Rock London. Liz is a member of The Cornshed Sisters and Field Music, with whom she has toured nationally and internationally.

ABOUT LIZ

Liz Corney leads our Washington Pop Choir. Liz is a musician specialising in high quality singing and songwriting workshops and projects across the North East. She has over a decade of experience facilitating singing groups and regularly leads a pop choir in Washington. She has worked for many arts organisations over the years including Sage Gateshead, Helix Arts, Musinc, New Writing North and is now currently focussing on helping women and girls get into music on projects for Generator and as a volunteer for Girls Rock London. Liz is a member of The Cornshed Sisters and Field Music, with whom she has toured nationally and internationally.

Cath Stephens leads our South Shields Pop Choir. Cath is a performer, songwriter, creative facilitator and singing teacher with over 18 years professional experience. Recent projects include; writing, arranging and performing with The Cornshed Sisters who released their second album in 2017, leading the purpose-formed choir for Cirque Bijou’s ‘Portolan’ performance at Sunderland’s Tall Ships event in July 2018 and co-leading a massed sing at Sage Gateshead for the Great Exhibition of the North. As Head of Vernacular Singing at Newcastle University, she has a particular interest in vocal harmonies, performance and healthy voice production.

ABOUT CATH

Cath Stephens leads our South Shields Pop Choir. Cath is a performer, songwriter, creative facilitator and singing teacher with over 18 years professional experience. Recent projects include; writing, arranging and performing with The Cornshed Sisters who released their second album in 2017, leading the purpose-formed choir for Cirque Bijou’s ‘Portolan’ performance at Sunderland’s Tall Ships event in July 2018 and co-leading a massed sing at Sage Gateshead for the Great Exhibition of the North. As Head of Vernacular Singing at Newcastle University, she has a particular interest in vocal harmonies, performance and healthy voice production.

Natasha Haws co-leads our Young Musicians Project. She has been the leader of the group for the past three years. Once a signed singer-songwriter, Natasha supported The Futureheads, Alison Moyet, Jools Holland, Texas, Lucy Rose and many others. Her music was featured on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6Music. She is now an actor and director. Natasha is passionate about making the Young Songwriters Project a safe space for young people to explore their creativity without the restrictions of exams or marking schemes.

ABOUT NATASHA

Natasha Haws co-leads our Young Musicians Project. She has been the leader of the group for the past three years. Once a signed singer-songwriter, Natasha supported The Futureheads, Alison Moyet, Jools Holland, Texas, Lucy Rose and many others. Her music was featured on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6Music. She is now an actor and director. Natasha is passionate about making the Young Songwriters Project a safe space for young people to explore their creativity without the restrictions of exams or marking schemes.

Marty Longstaff co-leads our Young Musicians Project. He is a professional musician, recording artist and songwriter from Sunderland; he is also a fully qualified primary school teacher (PGCE) with an MA in Linguistics. By combining his passions Marty has worked all across the UK, Europe and the USA playing shows, writing songs, making records and running lyric/song writing workshops for adults and children. Marty has seen the huge benefit a musical education can have on a child’s life and loves nothing more than creating and collaborating with like-minded writers and music makers, encouraging others to follow suit.

ABOUT MARTY

Marty Longstaff co-leads our Young Musicians Project. He is a professional musician, recording artist and songwriter from Sunderland; he is also a fully qualified primary school teacher (PGCE) with an MA in Linguistics. By combining his passions Marty has worked all across the UK, Europe and the USA playing shows, writing songs, making records and running lyric/song writing workshops for adults and children. Marty has seen the huge benefit a musical education can have on a child’s life and loves nothing more than creating and collaborating with like-minded writers and music makers, encouraging others to follow suit.

Rebecca Young co-leads our Young Musicians Project. She is a singer/songwriter based in Sunderland and has a BA (Hons) in Creative Practice. Starting out on her musical path aged 11 by attending a local youth rock bands project, she has developed her writing skills and performed in the UK and across Europe. Rebecca performs as ‘This Little Bird’ and has also played in bands, ‘The Lake Poets’ and ‘The Small Screen Light Show’. It has come full circle for Rebecca now, as she helps mentor young people in writing/performing and regularly takes part in community projects.

ABOUT REBECCA

Rebecca Young co-leads our Young Musicians Project. She is a singer/songwriter based in Sunderland and has a BA (Hons) in Creative Practice. Starting out on her musical path aged 11 by attending a local youth rock bands project, she has developed her writing skills and performed in the UK and across Europe. Rebecca performs as ‘This Little Bird’ and has also played in bands, ‘The Lake Poets’ and ‘The Small Screen Light Show’. It has come full circle for Rebecca now, as she helps mentor young people in writing/performing and regularly takes part in community projects.