A DEBATE about our national identity will be explored in a free weekend of performance, music and art at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead.

The Art 50 Weekender will take place at the two cultural venues on NewcastleGateshead Quayside this weekend. It is part of a national project called Art 50, a scheme commissioned by Sky Arts, working with Storyvault Films, the Barbican, the Baltic and Sage Gateshead.

The groundbreaking project has enabled 50 artistic commissions which examine the question of what it means to be British today, from the varied perspectives of people in cities, town and rural communities across the UK.

On Sunday February 24, Sage Gateshead will host a full day of live music, poetry and visual art.

Performers include Lyrix Organix, who present the premiere of a poetic conversation set to music by Chloe Florence and Laurie Ogden.

At 4.30pm a rehearsed reading of the provocative and humorous play And the Band Keeps Marching On by Edinburgh-based, Northern Irish playwright Martha Barnett takes place in the Barbour Room.

At 6pm ‘Backbone of Our Land’ explores the thoughts and ideas of people from and connected to the North on what it means to be Northern.

On Saturday and Sunday the Baltic will present a series of new commissions in a free entry drop-in weekend, from 10am-6pm on both days.

Three of these have seen the Baltic collaborate directly with artists Barby Asante, Jasleen Kaur and Kuba Ryniewicz to develop projects involving people from the local community.