Bones, Outsider Art & Aerospace

Now that Spring is nearly springing we thought we should probably do a little news post to let people know that we’re still here. We had a manic January doing some video & animation pieces for the Great North Museum’s current exhibition, Bones, which is open to the public for free until May and is well worth a look. As with all our previous work for the museum creating the content for the Bones exhibition was an education and we’d encourage everyone to go and see the exhibition while it lasts, before all the bones on display disappear back from whence they came… namely back into the museum’s underground archives. The exhibition is largely aimed at children but should prove interesting for anyone curious about how animals are built. And also fossils. Lots of fossils.

The second thing that we’d like to mention here is our recent work with Chilli Studios, an amazing organisation based at the top of the Ouseburn Valley above the St. Vincent Community Centre. True to their mission statement (‘Creatively Improving Mental Health’), Chilli Studios provides art and music studio space to individuals with mental health issues from across Newcastle and has established a close-knit community of artists who express themselves to great effect across a huge range of mediums. Now, to add to their offering, Chilli Studios have opened the Chilli Bizarre, their recently refurbished ethical Art Café, and we were happy to make an animation to help them spread the good word! They’ve long needed a public space to display what they themselves refer to as ‘Outsider Art’ produced by their incredibly talented service users. All of the work on display is available to buy with all monies going back into Chilli Studios to help them further their community objectives. Please head along to Chilli Bizarre and feast your eyes on their wares over coffee and cake… delicious hot food is also available.

Lastly, it seems noteworthy that for Christmas we got a surprise in the post in the form of a rather weighty letter from the lawyers of global aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin regarding a trademark infringement. I’d describe the tone of the letter as firm but fair, and it was composed with all the thoroughness and precision you might expect from the lawyers of a company which designs and builds laser-guided missile systems. Needless to say, we didn’t really fancy entering into a legal battle so we did the sensible thing and complied with their requests. As such, all work on the Roots & Wings spaceship has been halted until further notice and we’ll have to wait a bit longer to take our multimedia design mission intergalactic.

Future Funded!


In February 2015 we spent a week filming in the Children’s Oncology Outpatients ward of Great North Children’s Hospital in order to produce a video to help raise money for the Future Fund, a fund aiming to raise £5.5 million to create a state-of-the-art centre for research into childhood cancer. During our week spent filming on the ward we got to meet many of the amazing members of staff and witness how the ward operates on a day-to-day basis. We also got to hang out with a number of the kids who were at varying stages of recovery – an eye-opening and moving experience to say the least.

Well, almost two years on we’re incredibly pleased to announce that the new Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Unit was opened on 16th September by renowned author Bill Bryson, a patron of the two year fundraising campaign. During his opening speech Bryson said that watching our fundraising video “brought a tear to his eye”, thus bestowing on Roots and Wings the dubious accolade of having made Bill Bryson cry.

On a more serious note we’re just chuffed to have been involved with the campaign and to have been able to help the Future Fund reach its target. Now as the real work begins and the unit gets itself up and running, we sincerely hope it can continue to build on the fantastic research already done in Newcastle, which in turn can make a big difference to little ‘uns from across the region.




It’s occurred to us at Roots and Wings that we do lots of good work for some great organisations and we should probably blow our own trumpet a bit more than we do, so what follows is a trumpet-blower…

Two years ago we produced the Teaching the 1914 Christmas Truces Resource Pack for the Martin Luther King Peace Committee of Northumbria and Newcastle universities. The pack was uploaded to the TES website as a free resource for teachers to use to engage pupils with commemorations of the First World War, with a particular focus on the remarkable events of Christmas Day 1914. Since the resource was first uploaded to the TES website it’s racked up over 20,000 downloads across the two iterations (original and updated). It’s also received loads of 5-star reviews from teachers and has been featured in the TES NQT Newsletter.

The resource pack is still freely available to download for use in the run up to Christmas 2016 across Key Stages 2, 3 & 4, and contains a wealth of activities and lesson plans across a number of subjects, including history, RE, art, ethics, geography, PE, cookery, home economics, French and German.

All in all a job well done and definitely worth a massive self-congratulatory trumpet blast! If anyone has ideas for teaching resources, please drop us an email on:

Brexit or Bremain: Part II

Following on from our previous animation about what might happen to the Northern Irish border in the event of a Brexit (which you can watch just below) here’s our companion piece about a Brexit’s implications for peace and prosperity in the United Kingdom focusing particularly on Northern Ireland…


Brexit or Bremain?

Roots and Wings is normally an organization that keeps well away from thorny political issues, but this spring it’s pulled on its swimming trunks and waded into the ongoing Brexit debate. Over the last couple of months we’ve been working with a team of academics from the universities of Newcastle and Durham to produce a short animation outlining what a Brexit might mean specifically for Northern Ireland  It seems that despite a wealth of discussion and political mud-slinging regarding the fast-approaching EU referendum, there’s been precious little talk emanating from Westminster regarding a Brexit’s implications for Northern Ireland – the only country in the UK which, in the event of a Brexit, would suddenly find itself with an EU to non-EU land border.



The Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) at Newcastle University asked us to help them with the design of a report they’re just produced called Decentralisation: Issues, Principles and Practice. Decentralisation is a hugely complex issue and the report contains enough rarefied lingo to melt your face off. Roots and Wings designed the report and produced various infographics for some of the information contained within. The report is a clarion call for the creation of an independent commission and roadmap to guide any efforts to reroute power from central to local governments; a process which so far has been undertaken in a way that’s described by the report as ‘rapid, ad hoc and piecemeal’, with decisions being made behind closed doors by parties whose rationales remain unclear. Two hundred hard copies were printed for the launch event which, in order to have maximum political impact, took place in –you guessed it – London. Very apt, given the subject matter. It was obvious that a lot of hard thought had gone into the creation of this report, and we’re happy that the authors were pleased with the design. We hope it’ll go on to help convince policy-makers to drag the decentralisation process out from the shadows.

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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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!

Read more →