our story

Northstowe is a new town being built in Cambridgeshire, between the villages of Longstanton, Oakington and Willingham, and just along the Busway from Cambridge or St Ives. Still in its infancy, 25,000 people will eventually call it “home” – and its town centre will draw visitors and workers in from across the region.

Northstowe Arts was set up in 2021 by three local residents after having lots of conversations with members of the community and realising there was a huge potential for the arts and creativity to support community development. Particularly coming through the pandemic, with so many new residents having moved in but no opportunity to get to know their neighbours, the arts and creativity (in all their forms!) were much needed to bring people together again and create a sense of belonging.

So what are we doing? 

We're working on public art projects in various formats and artforms - from the temporary Nature in Northstowe hoardings and wrap around the Cabin (Northstowe's temporary community centre) to permanent lake signage and heritage-inspired sculpture, and large-scale community events such as lantern parades and summer solstice celebrations (more about that soon!).

We're also finding ways to bring the community together through smaller-scale activity such as Northstowe Community Cinema, Creative Get-Togethers, and collaborative drop-in creative sessions with other community groups and organisations.

At the heart of everything we do is our community: we’re a part of it, and we want to help it flourish. 

But we can’t do it alone – we’d love you to join us! Whether you think of yourself as an artist, musician, dancer, writer, poet – or none of the above – please join us on our Community Panel!

Mari O'Neill

Mari is someone who loves connecting people and making stuff happen; she spends her time listening to local residents’ needs and wants, seizing opportunities to develop artistic and creative activities with the community, nurturing local creative professionals to deliver that activity, and making Northstowe a place that people feel proud to call home – with a connected community and a unique, creative identity.  Having developed a career in arts marketing and communications, strategy, and project management, working nationally and internationally, Mari is enjoying making a difference in her own community now. She balances work with being a mum, plays the viola in Cambridge Philharmonic, sings every now and again, and relaxes by doing crochet or ballet.

Paula Bond

Paula is a ceramicist who is passionate about introducing people to clay, bringing fun, creativity and new skills to them in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere whatever their age or ability. She is a firm believer that we each have an inherent creativity inside us. With previous experience in running community arts projects and a county open studios event before becoming the Arts Development Officer for the local authority and an MBA under her belt, her input to the team both strategically and with delivery is invaluable.

Professor Lawrence Zeegen

Lawrence is an academic, illustrator, design writer and consultant. During a career spanning over three decades Lawrence has led schools and faculties of art, design and media at many of the UK’s foremost universities specialising in creative education. Lawrence has lectured internationally, sat on the board of design organisations, illustrated for The Guardian, New Scientist and LA Times, amongst many others, and has written extensively on design; his books translated into numerous languages. A resident of Northstowe, Lawrence now consults for international clients with a focus on preparing the world for the arrival of Generation Alpha…