Extreme Views Think Tank

4th – 7th April 2019


In association with the Islands and Bays of Barrow and Furness Coastal Team, Art Gene’s Extreme Views Think Tank brought together local people, historians, naturalists and Councillors with international artists, designers and academics from the UK, Japan, Romania, Hungary and the US to examine Barrow and Furness’s challenges and explore its strengths, on 4th – 7th April 2019.

The evening exhibition launch of Extreme Views in the Nan Tait Centre opened by Cllr Bill McEwan, Mayor of Barrow with opening words by Jane Beardsworth, Senior Manager North, Arts Council England, kicked off the three days of Think Tank with almost one hundred people attending the reception.

The Think Tank took Barrow-in-Furness as its starting point; a place with a proud history of industry and innovation. Barrow Borough has been designated by the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) as the number one Borough in England for its natural heritage assets. The landscape is one of the richest for natural assets in the UK, with more species than the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As if to highlight this further during the Think Tanks walks, local naturalist Pete Burton discovered a rare and oversized Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab.


“Back from a truly special weekend in Barrow in Furness exploring nature, industry, art and above all community. Huge thanks to Art Gene and all the participants for sharing your work and your home town. It was a privilege to be there”.

Josie Warden, Senior Researcher at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce and Think Tank Delegate, commented on Twitter.


The bringing together of experts from all walks of life was a catalyst for conversation and new experiences.

“Your knowledge and perspective on the built environment in Barrow was a revelation to me during the Think Tank …I now walk around town with my eyes open and looking up. And down and around corners.”

Mike Stanton, regular Art Gene contributor and Think Tank Delegate


During the three day Think Tank, the fifty delegates exploring the Borough took in extreme views of the area from urban central Barrow to the rich and varied coastline, and were impressed with our natural landscape, our industrial history and our resilience in meeting the challenges we face in this age of austerity. Barrow’s workforce is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology used around the world, while parts of the Borough struggle with immense poverty and deprivation.

Through workshops delegates discussed local issues and solutions to support us in building a better future and building on our strengths: natural assets, the technical skill of our workforce and the strong community spirit.

Many thanks to all who facilitated and took part in the Think Tank and made the event such an inspiring occasion. We look forward to many future conversations.




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