The Gatekeepers project presented us with a chance to try something completely new, something never tried before anywhere in the world as far as we know! We set out to create a sculptural graffiti wall which uses Artecology principles to attract wildlife and provide a completely novel Wildlife experience for the general public who use a little alley way in the city of Newcastle called Jacobin's Chare. The project started with a community workshop consisting of local young people and the team from Streetwise, a young people's charity, whose task it was to design the Gatekeepers graffiti artwork. Once we had a design ready to go, the sculptural work on the wall started on the wall itself. Using a special bioreceptive concrete render, the Gatekeepers Design was sculpted on to the wall by the Artecology team using a technique know as ‘Bas Relief’, this simply means ‘low relief’. By working in this was the team were able to create plant pockets, ledges for mosses and lichens to grow and even holes for solitary bees to nest in. In four days the work was completed and the Artecology team headed back to the Isle of Wight from whence they came, leaving behind the world’s first BioGraffiti wall.
Nigel George said “This was an extraordinary project, a wonderful collaboration between a diverse array of individuals and organisations that has been able to create something very special indeed. We have left Streetwise and its young people with the task of monitoring the BioGraffiti wall and to report back to us with any information about how the wall is populating with flora and fauna. We call this community reporting process citizen science. The data they gather will help really us with our research and development work into bioreceptive urban environments going forward”.
Project partners were - EcoNorth, The Crown Estate, The National Trust, The Wildlife Trust, The Gate Entertainment Complex & Streetwise.