How Laura's Making Sunderland Heard

10522 SCC We All Make Sunderland 6

Next Steps is the opportunity of a lifetime for emerging artists. It’s the programme developing and supporting young musicians across Sunderland and beyond. 

Laura Brewis is the Project Director of the Next Steps programme, a dynamic incubator scheme for Sunderland musicians aged 16-25. Part of the We Make Culture Community Interest Company (CIC), it offers free training, networking and creative opportunities, including skills classes and performance events, to young artists across the city. 


Amplifying talent 

The Next Steps programme was set up to help North East youngsters find more ways into the often tricky-to-access music industry. “We’re helping people identify and develop the amazing talent we have,” says Laura, “connecting artists in Sunderland with people who can help their careers, here and further afield.” 

As well as open access events, Next Steps provide six PRS-funded £1000 bursaries per year, giving musicians the financial aid to help realise their potential. “The city is full of opportunity and we want to tap into it.” Laura states, “Making sure that the arts is not just a middle-class pursuit makes me incredibly proud.” 


“Seeing people develop, grow and contribute to the cultural life of the city is what makes us tick.” 


Opening new doors 

From their city centre base, the team have seen people develop into everything from confident performers to up-and-coming producers. “We help people learn about the industry – how it works, where they might fit, and all the different careers available.” 

Laura explains how, with so much happening in Sunderland, people are beginning to find the skills and the confidence to take up the available opportunities. “We’re starting to see it already, change is happening. There’s places where creatives can meet and develop, practical kinds of support, mentorship, people learning about jobs they might not have considered before.” 


Shining together 

Last year, the programme collaborated with venues across Sunderland and provided a series of dazzling performances. Laura describes Sunderland’s growing network of creative collaborators as one of the city’s key strengths. “With partner venues like Pop Recs and the Independent – working together is really powerful. There’s a real sharing of skills and resources.” 

Laura hopes to welcome more people to get involved with the Next Steps scheme. “We’re always looking for ways to do more, to help more people, and find ways to connect better across the region.” 


Feeling inspired? 

Take it further with these related pages and websites: 

Check out what We Make Culture is doing across Sunderland. 

Find out more about the Next Steps programme. 

Explore other performances and events in Sunderland.