Brightwater Gem Trail

Over the upcoming year, Jo Howell and Emma Biggins will be working with local families to create an enchanting treasure trail and adventure guide. We hope to inspire people to explore and celebrate our beautiful landscape and rich heritage
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We are excited to announce we have appointed a North East Artist and Creative Producer to help us create The Brightwater Gem Trail. 

Over the upcoming year, Groundwork NE & CumbriaJo Howell and Emma Biggins will be working with local families to create an enchanting treasure trail and adventure guide. We hope to inspire people to explore and celebrate our beautiful landscape and rich heritage.
The trail will lead to nine community installations based around the River Skerne. Families will be able to be active together on their quest to discover all nine pieces of art. Themes or stories will be inspired by local nature, people, places and inventions 

To ensure we create reflective installations that celebrate the Brightwater area, themes and locations will be chosen by YOU through consultations and craft activities with youth groups and families.

The installations will be wooden structures that adventurers open to reveal environmentally friendly artifacts created by the community. All artwork will be specific to each group and act as a devotion to their chosen theme. 

The Artists

Jo Howell

Jo is an artist from Sunderland who uses alternative photographic processes to create participation processes for communities. Jo has developed and delivered numerous community-based art projects across the North East including most recently #wearexperimenting which was commissioned by Sunderland University and The Cultural Spring. The project engaged over 30,000 people through workshops, exhibitions, and by repurposing traditional commercial advertising spaces.

Emma Biggins

Emma is a Creative Producer who works in facilitating participatory art projects for local communities in the North East. Emma is influenced by the ideals of social justice and equality of opportunity, with a proven commitment to tackle social exclusion from the arts. Emma works across all aspects of creative project delivery; establishing concepts, researching, curating and programming cultural events across workshops, exhibitions, performance and outreach.

The Gem Trail

Help us discover the hidden gems in Brightwater.

Artists Jo Howell and Emma Biggins take us on a journey from Shildon to Newton Aycliffe, showing different ways of interacting with nature and our surroundings.

This short film includes creative activities and ways you can use art to explore our landscape. It also provides information for those who have received the Gem Trail booklet.

Get Involved

If you would like to help unearth and identify the hidden gems in Brightwater simply enter your email address below and we’ll be in touch soon.


Don’t forget to tag us in your creations on social media using #DiscoverBrightwater #GemTrail 

You can also follow us for news, updates, competitions and more!

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