November & December 2023 – Before planning your visit, please check our ‘Visitor Notices’ for accessibility updates and one-off changes to opening times. Click here to view.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
Katie Wright is Newcastle Cathedral’s Marketing Intern, whose role is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. In this article, she writes about her experiences over the last few months.
Since writing my first blog at the very start of my internship, there has been lots of change as well as significant national events. In September, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away, leading to a period of National Mourning. It truly was history in the making, with me and most other people having only ever known her reign in our lifetime. With the initiation of ‘Operation London Bridge’, a book of condolence was made available so that visitors to the Cathedral could pay their respects. I helped to communicate news of this, as well as details about a service of commemoration that local dignitaries and members of the Cathedral community were able to attend. Although my internship ends in April 2023, it will be interesting to be at the Cathedral while preparations take place for activities surrounding the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.
The Queen’s sad passing wasn’t the only event of significance for the Cathedral – in October there was the announcement of the Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley as the next Bishop of Newcastle. With this news came a quick succession of social media posts and online updates to the Cathedral’s website with the information. Then in November, we had the final service from the Very Revd Dean of Newcastle, Geoff Miller, whose retirement we announced in September. Ahead of this service, I designed and formatted the order of service booklet based on previous designs. I was pleased to have joined one of the ‘Dean’s Farewell Tours’, to take photos and hear about Geoff’s experience at the Cathedral and what his role as Dean entailed.
After such a busy period, we still had Advent and Christmas to look forward to, with November bringing a start to Advent on the last Sunday of the month. Planning for the festive season began months earlier with the excitement of an artist, Jude Coram, being commissioned to design the front cover of the Christmas events leaflet. This artwork also appeared on greetings cards available from the Cathedral’s retail area and across our marketing material. At the same time as promoting our autumn programme, the Marketing team had to begin publicising Christmas services and events so attendees could make plans and book their tickets nice and early.
Part of this programme, an exhibition called ‘From St Nicholas to Santa Claus’, opened to coincide with the feast day of the Cathedral’s patron, St Nicholas, on 5 December. I learnt a lot through the process of developing a self-led trail of St Nicholas depictions within the Cathedral, which is available to access via a QR code as part of the exhibition and on the Cathedral website. In addition, I designed a printed flyer with map and the QR code, to help visitors find their way around. To promote the display, I created two ‘Instagram reels’: short videos providing tantalising glimpses of the exhibition’s items. As one of our less-used social media platforms, it was positive to see a good number of likes and interest in the reels, and hopefully, these will have boosted our audience engagement on Instagram for the month of December.
Alongside promoting the seasonal events programme, I have enjoyed learning about the Cathedral’s history. I decided to write a blog post about artist Thomas Bewick and his connections to the Cathedral to coincide with the anniversary of his death on 8 November 1828. With my background in heritage, I was intrigued to research this topic; Bewick’s workshop was in St Nicholas’ Churchyard, and a bronze statue is placed there in honour of his life and work. I wrote the article with support from the Bewick Society, and it remains available to read on the Cathedral’s website. I hope it sheds some light on some of the fascinating stories surrounding the Cathedral and a famous figure from its 900-year-history.
Over the last few months, I’ve had countless opportunities to develop skills and have quite literally learned something new every day. Looking ahead to 2023, many events are planned for the first few months, and some are pencilled in for summer already! One event that I’m particularly looking forward to coming back and seeing is ‘Shaun on the Tyne’, with the Cathedral being one of the venues for this citywide art trail, in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice.
With a range of talks, exhibitions, concerts and new art displays, the New Year is shaping up to contain a diverse programme of new and returning events complementing the Cathedral’s core worship services. Events like ‘Shaun on the Tyne will bring new visitors to the Cathedral to discover its rich heritage and everything else it has to offer.