Forget Me Knott

Knotty-NewsSince last March we’ve been working with YMCA North Tyneside for their project The Knott Trail, which involves working with young people in the region to uncover the life of local legend Sir James Knott.

Born in Howdon in 1855 and raised in North Shields, James Knott left school at a young age and began working as a clerk in a Newcastle shipping office. Not long thereafter he bought a second-hand ship and started a cargo shipping company called The Prince Line, which grew to become one of the largest in the world prior to the catastrophic events of WW1.

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Young Carers Awareness Day


Today, 28th January, is Young Carers Awareness Day, a day on which we spare a thought for the estimated 700,000 young carers in the UK. These’re people who are aged under 18 and provide unpaid care and support to family members or friends who are physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuse drugs or alcohol.

Over the past few months we’ve been working with North Tyneside Carers Centre, and one particular group of young carers from the YES! project, to develop a web app called A DAY IN THE LIFE…. The aim of the YES! project and the App we’ve developed with them is to raise general awareness of the plight of young carers and to make people consider the many ways in which being a young carer can impact your everyday life.

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All new Dementia Care website!

DCRaw news

According to recent statistics there are currently about 856,700 people living with dementia in the UK, and this is projected to rise to 1 million by 2025. Dementia Care is one of the UK’s leading charities providing specialist care and independent supported living for people with dementia, and we’ve been working with them and our design partners TAC to produce a new Dementia Care website.

A crucial element of the brief was that the website was straightforward to use – dementia can be an extremely disorienting condition, and as such we’ve produced a clean, easily navigable site where people – whether people with dementia, relatives, care workers or whoever – can quickly find the information they’re looking for. We hope that the new website helps Dementia Care to continue on with their amazing work!

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Earlier this year we spent a week filming on Ward 14 (Children’s Oncology Outpatients) in the Great North Children’s Hospital to produce a fundraising video for the Future Fund, a collaborative project between Newcastle University, Great North Children’s Hospital and North East Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR). The Future Fund is in the process of raising £5.5 million pounds to build a world leading childhood cancer research facility here in the North East, in order to further accelerate the fantastic research already taking place in the region.

During the week we spent filming in February all four of us here at Roots and Wings felt privileged to witness first-hand the courage of all the young people battling against this terrible disease, as well as the warmth of all the ward staff, and it was a truly humbling and amazing experience.

We’re pleased to announce that this morning we attended the launch of the fundraising video, along with the young people who starred in it and their proud families. It was a red carpet event and there were local press interviewing all the little superstars. In a packed MediCinema there were short speeches from influential locals including NECCR Chairman Chris Peacock and Newcastle Uni Clinical Geneticist Sir John Burn, both of whom further highlighted how far we’ve already come in terms of treatment in the last few decades, as well as their hopes for the future.

So far the Future Fund has already raised £4.5 million thanks to a number of incredibly generous donations from The Wolfson Foundation and the Barbour Foundation amongst others. We now just need to raise another £1 million, so PLEASE donate whatever you can and let’s make this research centre happen!!!

Best Wishes,

the RaW team

Baltic Creative Careers Day…

BALTICYesterday RaW delivered a workshop as part of BALTIC’s Creative Careers Day, giving students insights into using art & design as tools to tackle social issues. Focusing on the benefits of collaborative teamwork and examples of how we have implemented our process in projects involving social, environmental and educational topics we asked them to form collectives and consider an issue and how they might use their combined skills to offer a solution to it.

In just a short session we were impressed to see concepts for anti-racism and peace-not-war campaigns, innovative ways to encourage people to use public bins, a flagship North East music festival, free transport schemes for young people in education and playground art made with and for school children.

Thanks to all the students who came along and got stuck in, good luck in whatever careers you decide to pursue…

The hip bone’s connected to the…

It may surprise you to learn that more than 90% of all known animal species are invertebrates. This loose grouping includes everything from lobsters and crabs to insects to snails, worms, octopuses, and a whole lot more. Roots and Wings has been working alongside Great North Museum and Newcastle University to produce some animations for the forthcoming GNM exhibition, Spineless, which opens to the public on August 1st 2015. It’s the museum’s first major natural history exhibition since re-opening in 2009 and one that promises to take you deep into the strange and fascinating world of invertebrates.

The exhibition will include hundreds of carefully chosen specimens from the museum’s extensive natural history collection, as well as live specimens including the world’s heaviest stick insect and its largest spider! Hopefully the short teaser video above will whet your appetite to find out more about how the other 90% live. Make sure you get yourself along to the museum to check it out when it opens… Unless that is you don’t have the backbone!

Hold Onto Your Butts!

Great North Museum: Hancock approached Roots & Wings about redesigning their feedback forms. Good feedback is invaluable to the museum for finding out how the public respond to their various exhibitions, but as we all know the majority of feedback forms are dull personified. So we said to Great North Museum, Yeah, we could redesign your feedback forms…or we could go one better and re-design the way you collect feedback completely, bringing us to the creation of….(drumroll please)….the What-Do-You-Think-O-Saurus! All hail this noble beast!

Not only did we turn the museum’s feedback forms into steaks…we built an entirely bespoke unit for collecting the forms in an effort to inject some fun into the process. Big thanks to Dougie from Blank Studios. He definitely earned his Blue Peter badge on this project, blessing it with his woodwork and electronics skills. It’s only been there a week and it already seems to have increased the volume of feedback they collect significantly. Hopefully the What-Do-You-Think-O-Saurus will remain in the museum devouring feedback and scaring children for many, many years to come…

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…


Over the last couple of months Roots and Wings has been busy providing consultancy and branding for The Journey, an exciting new space opening in town on Monday 18th May. The Journey represents an ambitious partnership between three brilliant ethically-minded organisations; Sustrans, Recyke y’bike and Colour Coffee.

The Journey aims to get more people travelling healthily and sustainably by selling refurbished bikes at affordable prices, carrying out bike servicing and repairs, and offering information on everything healthy travel-related, from cycling/walking paths and routes to info on local initiatives. They’ll also be selling amazing fresh coffee, ethically sourced and locally roasted.

Hopefully over coming months The Journey will develop into a nexus for sustainability, encouraging more people to take a fresh look at how they traverse the city and provide the impetus needed to get more people travelling on bikes and legs. The Journey is located on the Blue Carpet just along from the Laing Art Gallery. If you like cycling or coffee or both, why not pop along next week and see the new space. For more information on The Journey, you can sign up to their mailing list via the following link:-

Little Diamonds


We thought we should post a quick progress report about our current project to raise money for the Future Fund, a collaborative project between Newcastle University, the Great North Children’s Hospital and North of England Children’s Cancer Research Centre (NECCR) that aims to raise £5.5 million to build a state-of-the-art childhood cancer research facility here in the North East.

After an amazing week spent filming in the Children’s Oncology Outpatients Ward, with more fancy dress than you can shake an enormous stick at, we have all the footage we need to make something really special. Now that we’ve got the hours of footage down to a provisional edit of a few minutes, we’re gearing up to work on the soundtrack with a couple of supertalented local musical maestros. The voiceover has been recorded too, and we’re aiming for a summer unveiling.

Once again Roots & Wings would like to thank all the staff for making us feel so welcome, not to mention all the little diamonds (most but not all of whom are pictured above) who got involved in one way or another, from budding actors & actresses to junior camera operators. The next time you hear from us about this will, with a bit of luck, be when we unveil the finished fundraising video. There’s even talk of a premiere for everyone involved in the Great North Children’s Hospital Medicinema. Obviously it’s going to be a red carpet event with celebs galore, sort of like Cannes, but with more little people. Watch this space.