Barnsley partnership shortlisted for Northern Cultural Education Award

The partnership between Fusion, Barnsley’s Local Cultural and Education Partnership and the Eldon Street High Street Action Zone (HSHAZ) has been recognised for its important work to improve access to arts, culture and creativity for local children and young people.


A unique and exciting collaborative project between Fusion and the Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) has resulted in them being selected as a finalist in the Northern Cultural Education Awards 2024.


The partnership was nominated by Historic England, who help people care for, enjoy, and celebrate England's historic environment, in the Inspirational Local Partnership Award category. This award recognises partnerships that have worked together to provide high-quality and inclusive cultural education opportunities for children and young people, especially those facing barriers or disadvantages.


Fusion and the HSHAZ have been working together to deliver ambitious place-based cultural learning opportunities for local schools and communities across the Barnsley area. Activities have included a high-profile poetry competition that connected pupils with Poet Laureate Simon Armitage. At the Bright Nights festival, a town centre event with an audience of over 60,000, 160 primary and secondary pupils had the opportunity to join in the parade and feel the swell of pride in place. Pupils have worked alongside professional artists to co-create innovative ways to celebrate and share the hidden stories of this historic high street including an alternative blue plaque trail, digital animation and storytelling as well as the creation of a giant mythical Eldon Beast puppet all designed to engage children and young people with the rich and diverse history and culture of Eldon Street as part of the High Street Action Zone work.

The partnership aimed to inspire the next generation of heritage champions and creative practitioners, as well as to increase the awareness, appreciation and participation of arts and culture among children and young people.


The winners of the Northern Cultural Education Awards 2024 will be announced at a ceremony on Friday, 24 May.


Jon Finch, Head of Culture and Visitor Economy for Barnsley said: "We’re delighted and honoured to have been nominated for this prestigious award, which recognises the benefits of such as partnership, as well as the hard work and dedication of our team and our partners.”

In Barnsley we are passionate about bringing arts and culture to children and young people as we have seen the huge benefits they bring. We believe that arts and culture can enrich lives, enhance learning and skills, and empower people to shape their own futures and this partnership has shown exactly that.”


Fusion and the Eldon Street HSHAZ partnership have done a fantastic job in engaging children and young people with the heritage and culture of Eldon Street and Barnsley Town Centre. They have shown how arts and culture can be used as a tool to connect people with their past, present and future, and to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of their communities. They have also demonstrated the value and potential of working in partnership to deliver high-quality and inclusive cultural education. We are very grateful to Historic England for nominating us and for their ongoing support and collaboration."


For more information about the project visit

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