“What does the future of this town and that of its people look like…beyond the uncertain promise of industry?

‘Extreme Views’ seeks to establish a conversation – a dialogue at the grass roots – the basis for alternative ideas, to forge resilience and build self-determination, to find new community leaders for a likely future without industry – ‘one horse town seeks maverick’

We have never had such a clearly divided society – one which seems hell-bent on destroying itself from within. Maybe these challenges are the imperatives we need to finally consider doing things differently.

To believe in something… to believe in anything… is an increasingly rare ability. We create the future firstly in our imagination but we must have faith, even a degree of naivety to conquer our inner saboteurs, prejudices, hopelessness and confusion.

This is not merely an economic decline it is a failure in social cohesion – civil society. The traditional drivers of cohesion have been lost and we need to reinvent some for our time…

Sustainability lies in the actions of whole communities… 

That means working with the folk you trust and especially the folk you don’t trust – those which share your values and those that don’t.

‘Extreme Views’ begins with deep listening, respect, sharing food, open debate, a mutual valuing of place, the will to cooperate, to learn from each other and an ability to change ones’ mind.”

Stuart Bastik 2019


Barrow is rated the #I borough in England* for the number and quality of its natural heritage assets. Yet the urban core is ranked fifth nationally for health deprivation and disability.

(*RSA Index)

Barrow produces the nation’s continuous at-sea deterrence, faces for the world’s largest offshore wind farm and has the highest percentage of skilled workforce in the north. Yet it has the second largest collection of highly deprived neighbourhoods in England and there are what seem to be intractable challenges for our housing stock.

Barrow ‘is a place that few outside the defence, wind power or extractive gas industries are likely to visit. If anyone knows anything about Barrow it’s that it was … judged by the Office for National Statistics to be the most miserable place in Britain… A place that was once dubbed England’s Chicago because its economy was growing so fast is now synonymous with heroin’.

[Guardian 28/4/2018]


Art Gene’s Extreme Views is a conflict resolver: examining opposing, visual, perceptual, physical, societal and political extreme views. Delivering artworks, from digital apps to artist’s sheds, portable sculpture to Extreme Viewing exhibitions.

The work builds on Art Gene’s strategic vision for the Northwest, but has a wider national resonance and relevance, which will be addressed by disseminating our strategies and methodologies through web based reporting and streamed events.


Together lets turn the tide!  Celebrate our amazing town!


Extreme Views supports artist, engages communities in place-making in some of the most deprived areas of the country, effecting change for coastal communities.  Over subsequent years, Art Gene’s Extreme Views project will develop and evolve.



View the Extreme Views discussion paper here .



Photo Gallery Credits: Maddi Nicholson, Charlie MacKeith, Rachel Capovila, Ellie Chaney, Colin Chatfield, Anna Litchfield


Art Gene’s Extreme Views continues in 2020 with outdoor events in and around Barrow-in-Furness, alongside events and interventions by Extreme Views Artists in Residence.

Find out how to ‘get involved’ in Art Gene’s Spring events here.  

Download Art Gene’s Spring Events 2020 leaflet.


Extreme Views: Barrow Park to Lesh Lane

Sunday 29 March 12 noon – 3pm (remember the clocks change)

Meet on the street outside Furness Academy, Park Drive, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA13 9BB

A future focussed walk and discussion exploring the changing role of green space in the urban core with artists and expert guests. With hot food.
FREE, all welcome. Please book by contacting Anna on events@art-gene.co.uk or calling 01229 825085. Please get in contact for any questions regarding accessibility.

Extreme Views 2020 Exhibition

Opening Friday 17th April 5:30 – 8:30pm. Open 21 – 25 April, 12 – 6pm 
Art Gene Gallery, Nan Tait Centre, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 1LG
Work created throughout Art Gene’s Extreme Views programme, featuring Artist in Residence Owen Griffiths & Katie Anderson. Talks and tours available for schools and groups (please call to arrange).
FREE, all welcome. Please book by contacting Anna on events@art-gene.co.uk or calling 01229 825085. Please get in contact for any questions regarding accessibility.




In early 2019 three Extreme Views Day events and ‘Get On Your Soapbox!’ was an opportunity for the local communities to explore the natural and industrial spaces around Askam ‘Pier’, Barrow’s Cavendish Dock and at North Scale, Walney Island on short guided walks with local speakers.  To discuss the important features of these sites and their potential futures.  On arrival at the Extreme Views event everyone was given the opportunity to share their views, eat free hot homemade food, view the artworks, share ideas and memories, identify the challenges and propose solutions.

During summer 2019, Extreme Views Pt. 2  ventured to new locations within the Borough. A walk across the Duddon Estuary guided by local naturalist Pete Burton took participants from Askam-in-Furness to RSPB Hodbarrow, Millom.

Extreme Views Days 2019

Extreme Views Day, Cavendish Dock Barrow

Extreme Views Day North Scale, Walney

Extreme Views Day, Duddon Estuary

Barra Night Life returns to Walney Island



The 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 Extreme Views Exhibition showcased work produced by the Art Gene team and Extreme Views Artists-in-Residence 2018-19.  This exhibition brings together film, photography, installation works’ and knowledge achieved through project activity and the Extreme Views events, opened by Barrow Mayor Bill McEwan and Jane Beardsworth, Senior Manager North from the Arts Council.

The exhibition includes work from: Stuart BastikMaddi NicholsonLouise AdkinsClara CasianDavid HaleyRachel CapovilaDi McGhee & Sophie Lindsey. Extreme Views Exhibition flyer.

Extreme Views Exhibition 2019

Extreme Views Think Tank

Download the Extreme Views Pt2 2019 summer programme leaflet.




Landscape Working Party

Habitat to Habitation


The Islands and Bays of Barrow-in-Furness Coastal Team


As the Extreme Views programme develops please return to this page to see what you can be involved with, and how you can experience our amazing local landscape.

Alternatively, for updates straight to your mailbox, sign up for our newsletter here or friend us on Facebook here.

If you would like to GET ON YOUR SOAPBOX now go to our Facebook Group for Extreme Views here and use the hashtag #ExtremeViewsArtGene.

or go to our Twitter page here and use the hashtag #ExtremeViewsArtGene.


Photo Gallery Credits: Maddi Nicholson, Charlie MacKeith, Rachel Capovila, Ellie Chaney, Colin Chatfield, Anna Litchfield