ISIS Arts’ current project neatly demonstrates what the thriving international organisation is all about.

Entitled Corners, it has 55 artists drawn from the hardest to reach pockets of 11 European countries building links through an innovative artistic enterprise.

For Hexham resident Clymene Christoforou, the vision has remained the same since the day she and Sharon Bailey graduated from arts courses at Newcastle Polytechnic – to create an organisation that crosses borders and bridges divides.

Twenty-four years later, ISIS Arts is still doing just that.

Places as apparently diverse as Gdansk in Poland, Donostia in the Basque region of Spain, Taranto in Italy, Umea in Sweden, Kosovo in the Balkans and our own Middlesbrough are involved in the Corners project.

The end result will be a touring exhibition comprising 15 or so pieces of art that will visit each of the towns in turn.

“They are all places that are on the edges of Europe and yet they share similar experiences,” said Clymene.

“There are issues that unite them and that doesn’t necessarily mean because there’s been conflict – rather that they have all gone through some process of change that, unlike the big metropolitan places that can absorb change easily, has proved difficult.

“South-east Northumberland is involved, too, a place where there have been mine closures and the communities have therefore lost the industry they grew up around.

“The nature of the communities has changed and they are occupying a different space in the world, but they are still there.”

The first project ISIS Arts ever did was pulled together around International Women’s Day.

Called Modern Goddess, it questioned the idea of woman as goddess in different cultures.

The project after that was a small town-twinning project that by the mid-1990s had become a major international programme.

And even the projects designed specifically for the North-East of England are all about dismantling barriers.

The tensions associated with migration have been addressed in the west end of Newcastle twice-over in recent years – first in relation to the influx of Roma and then Polish people – with the help of Slovakian film-maker Marek Sulek and Polish installation artist Tomasz Bajer.

Clymene said: “We look at how we can connect the newly-arrived with their new communities.

“The relationships people bring with them from their old communities are often forgotten, but they can be the starting point in their new home – they have come from really interesting places and they bring fresh, interesting ideas with them.

“Migration has shaped the world we live in today from the Romans onward, and even the Romans weren’t Roman!”

Art is a visual language that crosses boundaries and, as such, it is important to ensure it doesn’t slip off the political agenda.

To that end, Clymene is a member of the executive committee of Culture Action Europe, a pan-European political platform for the arts.

In September, it will take her and five other leading North-East professionals to the Ukraine for a month-long exchange programme instigated by the British Council.

As a project designed to forge relationships between cultural organisations in the two countries, the Canny Creatives initiative is right up Clymene’s street.

“In these times of austerity, we need the arts more than ever,” she said.

“They provide an outlet and we need things like that to make us happy.”