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Community Allotment Project
Dear God...
“The ocean is like God and raindrops are the religion. When they fall into the ocean they become one.”
Zoya Ahmed and Nurun Uddin
 

The Holy Biscuit

'Mixing Bowl'


Holy Biscuit is an arts organisation run by the Methodist Church. Through our programme of artistic activities and events, we give space for conversations and considerations of a spiritual or theological nature and encourage art as activism to challenge injustice and bring positive change. We gladly welcome people of all backgrounds to participate in our programme.
 
We are seeking to build connections between the largely disparate communities in the Shieldfield and Ouseburn areas of Newcastle. Shieldfield has seen sudden and significant change in recent years, with a large quantity of privately managed student accommodation being built surrounding a residential area. As well as private and local authority housing that provides homes for asylum seekers and long-term residents, there are artist studios, student high rise buildings and churches.

Holy Biscuit provides a context for all these groups to meet and connect, through art, creativity and faith-based activities. Shieldfield is quite a deprived area with little in the way of focal points or gathering places for the community. The recent surge in building development has not seen a return in benefit to the area but has negatively affected the character of the area and created tensions with local residents.

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We aim to be a creative hub and a resource for this community, where people feel welcomed and included, not as a venue purely for artists and those who habitually attend cultural events. We aim to make all our activities free and accessible to people from all backgrounds. We run a gallery programme that seeks to engage, be of interest to and operate with relevance to the local community. We hope to contribute to the transformation of  the local area by building a sense of community and providing a welcoming and interesting gathering space.

'Mixing Bowl' is a twice-monthly gathering of people from a variety of backgrounds, including many who have left traditional church contexts and those with no known faith background. We meet to share a meal, discuss and reflect on an artwork (visual art, writing, music etc) and pray together. We are committed to exploring what faith, art and shared life looks like outside of the traditional church context. We seek to meet a spiritual need by providing a place for discussion and exploration around questions of faith, in a relaxed and welcoming space. This approach has enabled some people to reconnect with Christianity who had become disillusioned with Church, or start exploring for the first time.