In the last decade the north of England has discovered a new public face. A boom in new landmark cultural public buildings, many built with Lottery funding, has created a distinctive, contemporary image for the region's towns and cities.

Martin Goodman, professor of creative writing at Hull University presents this two part journey in search of the 'New North'. He visits the iconic new public buildings and asks how they reflect the changing region, how it differs from the traditional industrialised imagery of the north, and considers the economic challenges these new buildings face in today's austere times.

He starts at The Sage in Gateshead and then moves on to MIMA, Middlesbrough's modern art gallery, before going to Hull to visit The Deep aquarium. He speaks to its architect, Sir Terry Farrell, about that building as well as his work in the North East. He also asks author David Almond what these new buildings mean for the culture of Gateshead and Newcastle.

So, is there a 'New North' emerging - and if there is, how does it differ from what has gone before? And can these new institutions survive in economically testing times.

In part two, Martin will visit the striking new Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield and speak to the architect David Chipperfield about its design. He'll talk to the writer Alan Garner about the historic qualities of the North and find out about regeneration in Manchester and Salford, visiting the new Museum of Liverpool and meeting TV writer Phil Redmond. And he'll hear how the economic squeeze can leave some of those who run new developments feeling like 'paupers in palaces'.

Producer: Philip Reevell

A City Broadcasting production for BBC Radio 4.

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Professor Martin Goodman explores the new, iconic cultural buildings that have emerged in the North of England over the last decade and asks if they represent a 'New North'.

In the second part of his journey, he visits the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield and talks to its architect, Sir David Chipperfield about the design. In Manchester he gets a panoramic view of the city from the 47th floor penthouse of the architect Ian Simpson, who designed the tower.

He talks to Maria Balshaw, the director of the Manchester Art Gallery to find out about the historic relevance of that gallery today, and meets the director of a new cultural building, where work has just begun.

Martin also hears from Professor Peter Barrett about the regeneration of Salford Quays, home of the Imperial War Museum and the recently opened MediacityUK. Professor Barrett has studied the economics of Lottery funded arts and cultural buildings.

In Cheshire, at the Jodrell Bank telescope, Martin explores a longer-term view of the North's history with the writer Alan Garner.

In Liverpool, he visits the new Museum of Liverpool on the banks for the Mersey, meeting its director Janet Dugdale to find out about its perspective on Liverpool's history, and also talks about that city's culture and place in the world with the writer Phil Redmond. Finally Martin hears from Liverpool's Mayor about the challenges of economic austerity and public funding for the arts, and his hopes of attracting investment from China into a huge redevelopment of the city's derelict Docks.

Producer: Philip Reevell

A City Broadcasting production for BBC Radio 4.