The Forge

Who Are We?

The Forge is the North East’s leading arts-in-education agency, specialising in creative participatory programmes for young people. Based in Stanley, County Durham, we work with artists, arts organisations, schools, colleges, universities and training agencies across the region, creating specialised arts-based training and skills development programmes for young people. We support young people who want to develop careers as artists, musicians, theatre practitioners, writers or as creative entrepreneurs within the North East’s creative industries.

What are the Creative Industries – and why are they important?

“Creative industries” is a term used to describe any creative and cultural business that depends upon creativity. These include businesses centred around: music, performance arts, crafts, film and tv, photography, visual arts, design, theatre and cultural participation amongst others.  Here in the North East, the creative industries contribute over £1 billion to the UK’s economy and offer significant employment opportunities for talented young people. Our arts-based training course is perfect for anyone who would like to develop their art skills to prepare for a career as a creative practitioner or artist.  


What Can We Offer DurhamWorks Young People?

If you are interested in developing a career as an arts practitioner or creative entrepreneur (in any art form), our specially tailored programme will help you.  The programme has been designed for those with some existing arts skills, knowledge or experience and will be designed as a wraparound course to support individual needs. You will work closely with a team of professional artists who will help you refine your existing skills and develop new areas of expertise (for example, in fundraising, digital media and workshop delivery).  Participants can also choose to enter a portfolio of creative work for a prestigious Arts Council Arts Award qualification (great for your CV) or to train as an Arts Award Advisor. Whatever your skills and ambitions - we will find the best way to help you towards a career as a creative practitioner.  

Creative Career Support

Throughout our course you will work closely with a professional artist or creative who will work closely with you to help you extend and develop your own arts practice.  You will also have the opportunity to work with experts from the North East’s creative industries who will signpost you to the different career pathways open to artists. Your training will focus on the following key areas:

  • Understanding the creative industries employment routes
  • Extending your creative practice
  • Developing your art skills by completing an Arts Award (at Bronze, Silver or Gold)
  • Developing workshops skills so that you can teach others
  • Qualifying as an Arts Award Advisor at Discover/Explore level
  • Developing your digital presence through social media platforms
  • Identifying pathways for employment, self-employment, or further training within the creative and cultural industries

Your training programme will be a mix of group and one-to-one sessions, giving you the opportunity to work with artists, creative industry professionals, digital marketing experts and other emerging artists like yourself.  There will be a mixture of face-to-face (providing covid restrictions allow) and online sessions.


If you’re interested but would like more information, contact us on and we’ll get back to you straight away. Or you can speak directly to your DurhamWorks advisor today.