Extreme Views – Feather Your Nest
Art Gene’s Habitat to Habitation project bringing wildlife to Barrow’s backyards is the first phase of a 4 year initiative to further invest in Barrow’s title,

‘The  No. 1 Borough in England for the Number and Quality of its Natural Heritage Assets’*.

It began with a series of events, Feather Your Nest: seeing locals assembling and decorating bird boxes in the style of different housing types of Barrow.

About the Bird Houses

Collaborating with upcoming RCA gradaute architect Emily Temperton, we created archetypal models of bird boxes designed to look like the three housing types of these areas; Hindpool terrace, Ormsgill council house and West
Shore static caravan.

The scaled houses were developed into a pattern laser cut in wood.  You can download Emily’s designs below:

Ormsgill Bird House

Terrace Bird House

Caravan Bird House

About the Workshops

Art Gene artists, with Artist in Residence, Hannah Brackston, worked with local people to make these patterns up into models via a series of workshops (an audience reached through three ‘extreme’ cooking Cumberland sausage sandwich sign up events).


The workshops were split into two sessions: one focusing on the interior and one on the exterior and assembling the boxes. The bird box making workshops were used as a vehicle to discuss the social, natural and built environments of the three wards and to establish relationships within the communities on a grassroots level. It was also used as an opportunity to engage the hard-to-reach communities with nature at a baseline level, discussing birds and their habitats.

Throughout the programme, demographics and data on people’s perceptions of the local area, aspirations, values, utilisation and relationships with the local landscapes were recorded via questionnaires and audio recording. The information collected will feed into Art Gene’s artwork and research on the area and help build further, tailored projects and events as part of the Habitat to Habitation project and the vast Extreme Views project. 

A final event- The Bird Box Giveaway-was set up at Art Gene to invite workshop participants back to collect their bird boxes displayed in the art gallery and to celebrate with free tea, coffee and cakes.

 *As awarded by the RSA, 2017.
Image below: At the workshop. Photo credit: Art Gene, 2018

Further Reading

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