Northumbria University has a strong history of working with external partner organisations in the North-East of England and of engaging with the region’s unique landscapes and communities, past and present. The Visual and Material Culture and the Environmental Humanities research groups in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences include academic staff from a range of disciplines who explore northern cultural landscapes and environments, particularly those of the cross-border or ‘borderland’ region of England and Scotland.  Activity in the University’s Department of Arts ranges from practice-led explorations in Fine Art and Performance to theoretical investigations of Visual and Material Culture.  Amongst each of these areas, ideas of rurality and related issues of social, cultural and environmental sustainability inform a significant and growing element of our research.