Art Gene’s Spring & Summer Programme 2021


Artists respond creatively to our environment – from investigating the underappreciated aspects of our civic landscape, exploring personal connection to the land, mushrooms as a symbol for resistance, and the significance/ insignificance of a dried grape in Digital Notes.

Extreme Views artist in residence Owen Griffiths invites us to explore methods and processes of working in and with landscape with some amazing contributors in Armchair Walks 2 – Reading Landscape.

Explore Barrow’s heritage in Re:discover Barrow – An Armchair Walk, or get involved in Art Gene’s long term project Allotment Soup: the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space, including a series of 6 expert led Ecological Design Workshops.



Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we adapt and ensure that our staff, audiences and volunteers are safe. We have developed the online elements of our programme, and will be responding to the latest government guidance as we begin to programme new events. Read COVID-19 guidance for attending workshops below.

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Re:discover Barrow – An Armchair Walk


How do Sir Malcolm Campbell, the Dutch Masters and The Furness Toilet Club all come to be on Barrow’s Duke Street?

Wednesday 7th July 6 – 7pm, online via Zoom, free. 

Join us as we explore Barrow’s Duke Street, an important historical area, to uncover the businesses which traded on the street, and the people who lived and worked here throughout the years. The online event will premiere a new short featuring drone footage, historical imagery and local memories, with special guests. READ MORE & BOOK



Armchair Walks 2

Reading Landscape


Armchair Walks 2 – Reading Landscape, artwork by Owen Griffiths using pigment sourced from Barrow-in-Furness

May – June 2021

Continuing 2020’s programme of online walks and talks set within the ‘extreme’ landscape of Barrow-in-Furness, this second season will explore methods and processes of working in and with landscape with some amazing contributors. 

Join Artist in Residence Owen Griffiths and invited guest speakers from the fields of architecture, activism and art, as we further explore landscapes in flux, from the civic to the post-industrial, and how together we can understand and protect our green spaces.

We hope you will join us for all three chapters, drawing on the insights shared through presentations to build a working group for Barrow-in-Furness, imagining how we can move forward with care, paying attention to and protecting local habitats, knowledge and resources. SPEAKERS, FULL INFO & BOOKING.



On food, futures & biodiversity 


Digital Notes: reminders, observations, a method, process, tool, practice, a starting point ...

Digital Notes, Sophie Lindsey

April – May 2021

Digital Artist-Curator Sophie Lindsey presents the latest series for Art Gene’s online exhibition space, Digital U. 

Digital Notesexplores themes of food, futures and biodiversity, ​while looking at note making as a method, practice, and process, a starting point to plan and collect knowledge before taking action.

Sophie’s playful ethos will explore how we relate both digitally and physically to online spaces, and to consider how we create remote, meaningful connections through digital platforms.

Through a series of webpages, live events and interventions, ​Digital Notes ​will share work/research from: ​Sebastián Calfuqueo,​​ Amanda Gatti ​ & Gustiele FistarólJames Scott,​ and ​Ashley Yuqi Zhang​ & H​ua Zhang, ​along with notes from your curator, Sophie Lindsey. VISIT EXHIBITION


Allotment Soup: the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space


Above: Bringing in the harvest at Allotment Soup, 2019, photo Maddi Nicholson

Want to grow on Walney?

Get involved in Allotment Soup, the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space, promoting food growing, biodiversity and building resilience and sustainable communities for the future. The Allotment Soup project is a community growing space and resource at heart, open to all. Members can join to learn about growing and contribute towards the future focussed aims of the project, with some taking on a small plot of their own.

Field Work Days

Our Field Work Days (usually Friday afternoons 1 – 4pm) are a great place to start. Join us to help out with seasonal gardening tasks, and get involved in species restoration projects with University of Cumbria’s Back On Our Map, and Natural England.

To enquire about getting involved in events or becoming a member of the Allotment Soup community contact or call 01229 825085 or 07564 783 522. You can also join our community of growers on Facebook at




Ecological Design Workshops


Above: Practical work at Allotment Soup with Vincent Walsh, photo Daryl Pugh


We’re excited to be starting Spring at Allotment Soup: the Isle of Walney Community Growing Space with Dr Vincent Walsh, Art Gene’s Ecological Designer. 

Join Vincent to learn about and create systems which will use ecological design principles to increase soil quality, biodiversity, grow organically and support sustainable development of the site for the future.

Recent developments on site have included 2 Hugel mounds, a new 6 tier composting system, and vermiculture system. A series of 6 Ecological Design workshops will introduce you to a range of ecological interventions which will promote sustainability, build resilience and encourage biodiversity. This series has been supported by Oakmere Homes, who are working with Art Gene to encourage native wildlife and flora back to areas around Barrow. They will involve physical work and getting stuck in!



Please specify morning, afternoon or all day! MORNING SLOT 10am – 12:30pm – AFTERNOON SLOT 1:30pm- 4pm

Saturday 10th April 10am – 4pm – Composting – Creating Feedback Loops

Saturday 24th April 10am – 4pm – Pathways – Building Ecological Networks

Saturday 8th May 10am – 4pm – Edges – Diversity Popping

Saturday 22nd May 10am – 4pm – Swale – Creating Life

Saturday 5th June 10am – 4pm – Forest Gardening – Mimicking Nature

Saturday 19th June 2021 10am – 4pm – Hugel Mound – Push Fertility




As a charity working with the community, it is vital that we do what we can to protect our staff, volunteers and the public safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and adhere to all COVID-19 guidance. You are welcome to join us for these events, ensuring that you follow the steps below, and follow all safety precautions whilst on site. Spaces are limited so book soon!

You are welcome to join us for these events, following the steps below:

  • It is essential that you book or call ahead to let us know you’re coming (see BOOK or CALL AHEAD for each event). We will let you know whether it is safe to come.  BOOK:   /  CALL AHEAD: 07564 783522
  • We will be working outside in a maximum group of 30 people.
  • You will be required to sign in and sanitise your hands upon entering and leaving the site.
  • 2m social distancing will be maintained throughout.
  • Wear gloves when using tools and touching surfaces.

You will need:

  • Weather appropriate outdoor clothing
  • Your own food and drinks (Art Gene will not be providing any refreshments during the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Hand sanitising gel



Barrow Tarot


Above: Barrow Tarot by Katie Anderson, image courtesy of the artist

Through her time as Extreme Views Artist in Residence, Katie Anderson has created the Barrow Tarot,  a creative tool to help guide conversations and aid discussion about the future of Barrow-in-Furness. The set of 78 hand-drawn cards are designed to be a playful reference, drawing inspiration from the everyday, the familiar, the hidden and the forgotten in and around Barrow-in-Furness, as experienced by a newcomer to the town, from the meat and potato pie and the rare natterjack toad, to Furness Ironworks and Walney’s female Principle Lighthouse Keeper Peggy Braithwaite.

Inspired by the tradition of Tarot reading, Katie’s deck replaces the 4 suits with Community, Industry, Environment and Culture. Through lockdown, Barrow Tarot has been developed into a digital deck, to be used to explore the future of Barrow-in-Furness. PLAY NOW