Funded by


CAKE 50: Places and Spaces


Thursday 16 June 2022
Event 10am – 12noon.


Old Library Building
Newcastle University


About this event

This CAKE is our 50th – a proud milestone for us – and comes at a time of change and adaptation: how we work and collaborate in a post-Covid environment; what ‘Levelling Up’ might mean for the region; and, how we choose to sustain and develop our places and spaces, particularly in response to the Climate Crisis.

This event will hear from practitioners and organisations and will look at how creativity helps us to be inspired and challenged, and how we can convene and celebrate the potential of our urban and rural spaces.

The event will include a panel discussion with inspirational speakers as well as an opportunity to ask the panel questions. Participants will have the opportunity to network with peers who share similar interests.



John Coburn, Founder-Director, Wild Museum

Wild Museum is a collaboration of producers, researchers, artists, technologists & educators based in the North East of England. They work with arts, heritage and environmental organisations and make physical and digital creative programmes with communities across the UK. Their practice explores changing human relationships with place, people and the natural world. Wild Museum blurs the lines between heritage, green spaces and creativity.
John co-manages Duke’s Hagg Wood, an ancient woodland in Northumberland where Wild Museum programmes are researched and developed with partners. He is also a founder-trustee of Chopwell Regeneration CIO, a resident-led charity addressing social inequality in the semi-rural village of Chopwell through cultural and health programmes, SME development and capital projects.

Emma Whitenstall FRSA

Emma has spent the last decade in the digital sector, developing and supporting creative communities.
As Executive Producer at Thinking Digital she delivered high profile tech conferences across the UK. With a tech start-up background and sector knowledge, she moved on to producing and delivering business support programmes for creative, digital & tech businesses in her roles at Dynamo North East and Generator.
Emma’s work now spans the digital and cultural sectors with her role as Executive Director at Festival of Thrift. Emma moved into the role in February 2021 after a short stint as a freelancer, bringing her expertise to the talks programme and delivering the first digital festival in 2020 during lockdown. With a passion for sustainability and culture, she now shares the leadership of the organisation focusing on strategic partnerships, fundraising, and governance.

Richard Clay (Professor of Digital Cultures, School of Arts and Cultures, and Co-Head of School X, Newcastle University)

Richard’s publications range across a wide array of subjects, examining aspects of contested meaning making in public space. He often explores how changing technologies offer new opportunities to recode the meaning and value of the spaces that we share: from iconoclasm in revolutionary Paris, to graffiti’s use in armed conflicts past and present, from contemporary jewellery as wearable art to watercolour’s role in the Birmingham Blitz. Richard has led a range of major cross-disciplinary and cross-sector projects funded by the EU and the AHRC. He has written and presented seven 60-minute documentary films for BBC 4: Tearing Up History; A Brief History of Graffiti; Utopia: in Search of the Dream (parts, 1, 2, 3); How to Go Viral: The Art of the Meme; C21st Century Mythologies. He also presented the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’.

Mick Wilkes (National Trust)

Mick is a General Manager for the National Trust based at the historic 18th century garden Gibside and looks after a small portfolio of historic properties around the urban fringe of Newcastle / Gateshead / Sunderland.  With a background in community development work Mick’s inspiration comes from ensuring our heritage sites remain relevant to people and community needs in the present day as well as being important windows to the past and the history that shaped us.  Mick has developed an approach supporting the practice of placemaking and co-creation of spaces from a community pub and farm to on-site holistic therapy and art studios bringing a range of sole traders, social enterprises and community collaborations together to turn a series of spaces into a special place.  This work also feeds into other projects for repurposing and supporting alternative uses for built and natural heritage assets to bring wider community benefits.

Clare Richardson (Project Manager, Gateshead Riverside Partnership, Gateshead Council)

Clare is the project manager for the Gateshead Riverside Partnership, for Gateshead Council. Formerly the senior conservation officer for the Council, she has over 20 years’ experience working across planning sectors to bring historic buildings and areas back into sustainable use. Most recently she has brought together a diverse partnership to investigate and deliver interventions around the Riverside Park, Dunston Staiths and wider Derwent Valley with a focus on the natural environment, built heritage and leisure – integrating ecology, heritage, and culture with health and wellbeing.


Whatever your professional background, this event is designed to support potential by inspiring new conversations and allowing introductions to take place that will enable collaboration.

Tickets are free – please register via Eventbrite here.

About CAKE

CAKE (Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange) is Creative Fuse North East’s monthly networking event, bringing together businesses, freelancers, academics, charities and creative practitioners from across the Creative, Digital and IT sectors and wider economy. Each themed CAKE event has expert speakers delivering short presentations that explore opportunities and innovation challenges. The events generate debate, explorative discussion and stimulate new innovative ideas by looking at each event’s theme from a variety of different perspectives – in keeping with the event name, attendees enjoy a slice of delicious cake while they network.*


*during in-person events