ONE of the driving forces behind a gallery which helps emerging artists showcase their work has taken up a new post with one of the region's top universities.

Dr Anne Allen was part of the team that helped transform a former car salesroom, in Newgate, Barnard Castle, into the NeST Gallery.

Most recently she was the gallery's 'animateur', looking after the day-to-day operation of the NeST.

She has left to take up a fundraising role attached to the business school at Durham University.

Dr Allen described the NeST as a great success story, but said she was looking forward to her new role at the university.

“In the three years since the NeST opened, we have helped more than 300 creative enterprises, mainly from County Durham through workspace, exhibitions/showcasing and selling work, training, coaching and mentoring opportunities,” she said.

She is no stranger to Durham University where she was an undergratuate in the late 1980s and completed her PhD in 1995.

Over the years Dr Allen has been a research associate in archaeology, a lecturer in lifelong learning and a residential tutor.

“It’s great to be able to give something back. I was lucky to get grants to fund my way through all my study and research at Durham and now I can help others to have the same experience," she added.

The NeST has secured funding to appoint Dr Allen's successor at the gallery.