• Robin Cowings

Photo Club

Photo Club is a monthly, inclusive creative photography group for young people in collaboration with Digital Voice and Newcastle City Council’s Arts Connect initiative. I’ve been delivering this since 2011.

When the new laws on social distancing came in, we were all concerned about what would happen with our group. We wanted to ensure that our wonderful group of families could continue to meet and still be creative. More now than ever it is so important that people can have a creative outlet and be able to share this. Creative expression during this lockdown has been shared far and wide across all social media platforms. Families, groups, galleries and arts institutions have begun to come together to help share their creativity and artworks, set projects and share ideas to brighten people’s lives.

It has been brilliant that Newcastle Council’s Arts Connect team have given us the go-ahead to do this.

Today we all met online to launch our new Collective Isolation Diary project. Over the coming months our families will photograph and record diaries of their experiences during these peculiar times. I can’t wait to see and share their stories.

Photo Club virtual meeting

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  • Robin Cowings

Live Music

I have a massive love of live music. I have a good few tickets for concerts that I have been so looking forward to. An opportunity to see some musicians I probably won’t get a chance to see again. When the COVID-19 crisis began to spread, it was inevitable that all these events would quite rightly be cancelled for our safety. The prospect of isolation and not being able to see live music wasn’t a great prospect.

So it’s been an absolute joy to see how many artists I admire and follow on social media putting on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube live streaming gigs. It’s also been brilliant to see some artists use these forums and technology to stream chats and interviews too. It adds an extra dimension that is akin to the podcast. My diary is filling up with reminders for upcoming live events like these. I’m beginning to look forward to some of my nights indoors.

To all you artists out there keeping us sane; thanks a lot.

Jarrod Dickenson live on Instagram
Live music on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
Live conversation about music
Collaborating via Instagram

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  • Robin Cowings


You may consider it a cliche, but music is such a lifesaver. It can carry us through the dark and back into the light. It can lift us up when we’re feeling down and even hold up a mirror to ourselves and resolve something you have been struggling with.

As a teen I was into punk and mod music. Lyrics were important to me whether it was Springsteen showing me how to escape to somewhere else, or The Jam singing about the Modern World. As you grow, sometimes your tastes change, but there is always music there to carry you through the tough times.

And, by god, we need it now.

Lift me up.


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