Transforming Lives, Transforming Service: 25 Years of North Tyneside Art Studio

In recognition of the studio’s quarter-century anniversary, the Heritage Lottery Fund supported us in looking into the studio’s history, with creative and research activities that have included exhibitions, research trips and oral history recordings.

To see how the studio has changed over the past 25 years, please select a time period, or click on Digital Stories to hear about North Tyneside Art Studio from the people who have lived its history.


Images from North Tyneside Art Studio between it's opening in 1991 and the millenium.

A Short History of North Tyneside Art Studio

In May 1990, an artist named Alan Vaughan began a residency at the Psychiatric Department of the North Tyneside General Hospital, which culminated in a significant exhibition in November of that year.  The impact on both the people who worked with Alan and the space itself was so positive that a permanent gallery space was installed in the department and the local council and health authority extended the project for a further six months and then approved the creation of an independent studio space outside of the Hospital.

North Tyneside Art studio was established In December 1991 at the Linskill Centre, in the former woodwork and metal workshops of John Spence Community High School, where it continues to this day.  Initially, the studio shared this space with classes in car mechanics, but slowly expanded to make use of the entire building, going far beyond the initial provision of space, materials and equipment for 30 individuals to now cater for over 150 artists each year.

Over the past 25 years, artists from North Tyneside Art Studio have gone on to create their own independent art practices, start their own businesses, take up employment and voluntary work and re-enter education at all levels.  Their work has featured in hundreds of exhibitions, installations and publications, spreading as far as Australia and America.

However, all of these incredible achievements began with the simple act of picking up a brush, a pencil, or a handful of clay and beginning the transformative journey that comes from creative activity.

Colouring the Shadows

As part of our Heritage Lottery funded work, studio founder Alan Vaughan came back to the studio and worked with people currently working in the studio to produce a short film inspired by the history and transformative power of the art studio.