Conflict Zone at RSPB Saltholme

A Conflict Zone (with a difference) has been developed at RSPB Saltholme. However, the conflict zone is actually an intriguing piece of interpretative artwork by artist Lindsay Duncanson.

As a part of the Green TV project (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund), artist Lindsay Duncanson and RSPB staff worked with Year 5 pupils from Bader and Yarm Primary schools in Stockton to creatively explore Saltholme, its wildlife and history.

One element of Saltholme that really intrigued the young people was the World War 2 heritage of the site. The site was once part of the WW2 coastal defence system with the remains of an ammunition dump and gun placements still visible today.

The pupils thought about the defence of the Tees Valley coastline during WW2, and drew parallels with how the same land is now being used – to protect and conserve wildlife.

In addition to inspiring (and helping) Lindsay to create the Conflict Zone film, they also put together a list of words that might trigger thoughts and feelings related to both these issues, which have been turned into a brass-rubbing trail, containing nineteen words from that list.

Joe Dunne, Heritage & Environment Officer at Tees Valley Arts and Green TV Project co-ordinator said

“Through the Green TV project we wanted to take a fresh look at and provide some creative, innovative and enjoyable approaches to the way people engage with their local nature. I feel that Mirage reflects this in every way, not just in the piece of work on site, but also the process that happened during its conception and creation. I hope that many people come and enjoy it, but also and maybe more importantly the environment that surrounds it.”

Dave Braithwaite, RSPB Saltholme Site Manager said

“Working with an artist has provided new insights into techniques and ways of working with pupils on the reserve. And now having tried new activities, confidence has been built within staff in using them. Green TV has also initiated and provided some great ideas for linking the heritage of the site into current activities.”

There will be an unveiling/ launch event at RSPB Saltholme at 2pm, Tuesday 5th July, where pupils from Yarm and Bader primary schools will join local dignitaries, TVA and RSPB staff and the artist Lindsay Duncanson. Lindsay will also run an arts workshop with the young people to illustrate and explain the creative process he went through to create Conflict Zone.

TVA is a participatory arts organisation, based in Middlesbrough and working across the Tees Valley, helping people change and improve their lives by taking part in the arts. TVA is a small organisation which makes a big impact in imaginative and unexpected ways.