Heritage Lottery-funded Animation Project

Hands Across The Tyne was a project dreamt up and run by the good folks at YMCA North Tyneside who had the idea of using art to connect two communities on opposite sides of the River Tyne. The project focused on the Tyne Cyclist and Pedestrian Tunnel, which was built in 1951 to replace the old ferry crossing, for the first time allowing local people to cross beneath the river on foot or by bicycle – a hugely novel experience at the time. Prior to our involvement in the project the pupils had recorded a number of interviews in which local people recounted memories and anecdotes about life in Jarrow and Howdon before the arrival of the tunnel and how it’s construction changed day-to-day life for people in the area.

The schools chosen to participate in the project were Jarrow School and Churchill Community College. Roots and Wings were brought in to run a series of workshops in both schools, working with the students to bring these ‘oral histories’ to life with drawing and animation. The finished animation was unveiled at an event held at the YMCA, attended by pupils from both schools, as well as some of the local people who had contributed anecdotes.  Needless to say, there was much intergenerational and intertribal merriment, proving once and for all that our common humanity unites us more than geography can divide. Thanks to everyone who participated and to North Shields YMCA for having us along. You can watch the animation below…