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'Braithwaite' Hide, Interior and exterior view.

that his hand painted larger than life ‘dummy gull eggs’ were adopted by the birds in replace of their smaller real ones. 


The exterior of the hides were playfully painted in reference to this theory - with a pattern created by enlarging photographs I took of a real gulls eggs found in a car park in Barrow. This idea also related to a number of ‘prototype’ paintings of eggs I made on hard hats during my residency on South Walney. The ‘hard hats’ were a compulsory piece of uniform for visitors to the Reserve in the 60’s - 80’s to protect them from the dive bombing gulls. At this time the massive colony thrived because of the active landfill site next to the reserve, conceived as an easy solution for shoring up the fast eroding land here. On closure of the tip, most of the gulls left South Walney and moved in into Barrow town centre in search of chips and Kababs.

'Art Gene Razzle Dazzle Hides, Braithwaite & Tinbergen,' for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, South Walney Nature Reserve, Barrow - in - Furness. Art Gene Design and Production team: Hannah Brackston, Charlie Mackeith, Stuart Bastik, Maddi Nicholson.


Two entirely bespoke educational hides, designed to provide new opportunities for visitors to South Walney Nature Reserve - to watch wildlife, spend time in the landscape and to learn more about connections between nature and industry through understanding the local history.


The ‘Braithwaite’ hide is dedicated to Peggy Braithwaite, Britons, first and only female principal lighthouse Keeper. She was the last keeper at the South Walney Lighthouse, before it was automated.

The ‘Tinbergen’ hide is dedicated to Niko Tinbergen who won a Nobel Prize for his research with the gull colonies on South Walney Nature Reserve. In particular he developed his theory about ‘super-normal stimuli’ in relation to gull eggs, discovering

South Walney is not a static environment, at the tip of a barrier island this landmass changes scale and shape significantly through coastal erosion and deposition. This fact among other impacts means that habitats are not fixed either as they decrease or thrive, new points of interest arrive in new places across the reserve. With this in mind, the hides are intended to be ‘mobile’ structures, that can in be taken apart and re-assembled in a new configuration or on a new site.

'Tinbergen' Hide, installed on South Walney Nature Reserve (top) and in the Art Gene Gallery, Nan Tait Centre, Barron - in - Furness. 

'Braithwaite' Hide, installed on South Walney Nature Reserve

My input into this design process has been through:

- Community engagement - meetings, walks and pop up ‘sunday cake club’ events - with different stakeholders and visitors across the site.  

- Contextual research, collating archival materials, making sketches and prototypes for hide concepts and themes - during my Artist residency on South Walney.

- Working collaboratively with Art Gene on the design and painting of the exteriors of the structures and on the design and content for the interiors.

Studies of Gull Eggs, prototypes of Hide Exteriors

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