Our Opening Festival is a celebration of the North East's industrial past, present and future. The Festival aims to bring together communities to discover and learn from our archives, as well as having the opportunity to connect with engineers working across the region today.

Across the Festival, there will be a series of heritage and modern STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) inspired exhibitions, installations, performances and activities. These will provide a space for visitors to connect on topical issues, learn about science and engineering career pathways, and to feel inspired by our region's industrial achievements, from the likes of George Stephenson's safety lamp, to our very own green industrial revolution.

With something for all the family, this festival is not one to be missed. We are always adding new events to our site, so make sure you check back to keep up to date with what's on at The Common Room! All of our events are free to attend, but booking is required. We hope to see you soon!

General admission

Our general admission tickets are for those who would like to visit The Common Room but have not booked a space for an event or workshop above. This ticket includes general admission to explore Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage & The North East’ exhibition (25 September – 1 November only), The Polymorphic Carbon Library, the Neville Hall LEGO® Brick By Brick Model, and the Nexus Knitted Metro Model – details of which can be found below. These tickets also enable access to some of our key historic spaces, including the Wood Hall.

General admission tickets are available on select dates throughout The Opening Festival period and are released on a monthly basis. If the month you would like to book for is currently unavailable, please check again at a later date.

Artwork showing black miner wearing orange miner's uniform including an orange hard hat with a headlight attached.

'Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage & The North East' exhibition

The Common Room are thrilled to be hosting ‘Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage & The North East’ from Saturday 25th September to Monday 1st November. Digging Deep reveals personal narratives, memories and creative representations of former coal miners of Black/African-Caribbean heritage and other diverse groups within UK mining history, including the North East.

Neville Hall LEGO® Brick By Brick Model

Visit our LEGO® brick model of our building, Neville Hall, a remarkable example of High Victorian Gothic architecture which houses two of the finest rooms in Newcastle - the lavishly decorated Wood Hall and the Edwardian Lecture Theatre. This model has been designed and made by local LEGO® artist Steve Mayes of Brick This. With over 30,000 bricks going into the scale model.

A side view of the knitted metro train. The front carriage is black, yellow and white, the middle carriage is dark blue with yellow doors, and the final carriage is red. The windows are shiny grey

Nexus Knitted Metro Model

A wooly version of one of Tyne and Wear’s most iconic engineering feats can be found at The Common Room from Thursday 26th August until the end of November! 30 knitters from Whitley Bay Big Local’s Knit and Natter Group worked with Nexus during lockdown to create the 12ft knitted Metro carriage, to celebrate four decades of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

The Polymorphic Carbon Library

The Polymorphic Carbon Library is an exciting new interactive space for encountering and exploring carbon and finding out about its diverse and entangled connections with our lives. Carbon is the second most abundant element in our bodies.

Minerals and Ores Display ... Coming Soon!

Mining and mineral extraction have been at the heart of the economy of the North since time immemorial. We are blessed with a remarkable geology that endows the region with an unusually wide range of economically valuable products. Coal is of course the principal commodity, and the cornerstone of Neville Hall and the Institute that built it; but metalliferous ores, industrial minerals and construction materials of remarkable variety have been, and are still being, mined here. This display showcases many of those that have contributed the “The Wealth of the North”.