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The Journal Culture Awards are coming to Sunderland in June

The annual celebration of North East culture in all its forms will be held in Sunderland Minster

The Journal Culture Awards will take place in Sunderland for the first time this year.

The ceremony, which annually recognises and rewards the cream of the region’s cultural output, will be held in Sunderland Minster on June 30.

Having taken the event to venues in Newcastle, Durham and Gateshead, we thought it was about time we paid the Wearside city a visit and are delighted to have been offered a warm welcome.

It will be the ninth year of the awards, which will once again be celebrating the work of visual artists, writers, performers and other creatives who are based in the North East as well as the events, exhibitions, artistic projects and collaborative partnerships which enjoyed success in 2014.

Past winners have included Kathryn Tickell, The Royal Northern Sinfonia, Pop Recs in Sunderland, comedian Sarah Millican and Jason Cook, actor Joe Caffrey, BalletLorent, David Almond, The Unthanks, Peter Mortimer’s Iron Age Festival and Durham’s Lumiere.

As has been the case in previous years, as well as giving out 15 awards, the ceremony will also see a host of live performances on stage.

We will be revealing the bill for the evening in due course, but to give you an idea of what to expect, previous years have seen the likes of Kathryn Williams, The Futureheads, Frankie and the Heartstrings, BalletLorent, The Lake Poets, Beccy Owen, The Unthanks and The Lindisfarne Story take to the stage... and we will be maintaining this high standard for next month’s gathering.

This year, we are delighted to have support from associate sponsors, See It Do It Sunderland and venue sponsors, Sunderland Bid, which is aiming to secure UK City of Culture status for Sunderland in 2021.

Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Culture, Wellness and Public Health said: “We’re delighted to support the Journal Culture Awards this year, and look forward to welcoming and recognising some fantastic North East talent.

“As a city, we’re proud of our cultural heritage and we’re ambitious about our future. With an exciting programme of events and exhibitions every year, plus the Tall Ships Races 2018 and our bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021, we’re working hard to make sure there’s always something to see and do.

“See it Do it Sunderland is all about letting local people and those further afield know what’s happening in Sunderland and how they can experience it. That’s everything from art and music, to family friendly events and festivals, theatre shows and comedy. Something for everyone and a warm welcome for all.”

Ken Dunbar, chief executive of Sunderland Bid added: “It’s fantastic news that this year’s Culture Awards are going to be held in Sunderland city centre and the BID is delighted to be supporting this event, which recognises the many cultural achievements of the region.

“It is the perfect time for the awards to take place here, when Sunderland is building its cultural profile on a regional, national and international level.

“With the Tall Ships coming here in 2017 and our bid for UK City of Culture in 2021, these awards give us a real opportunity to turn the spotlight on Sunderland and showcase what we have to offer.

“We are already looking forward to welcoming one of the world’s most renowned masterpieces – Canaletto’s A Regatta On The Grand Canal – in July from the National Gallery, again putting the city on the cultural radar.

“The Culture Awards means the region’s most talented artists not only get recognised for their work but they are also being honoured at one of the city’s most iconic venues – the Minster.”

* Nominations will open for one week only from May 11 until May 17. Click here to have your say.

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