Bee Lines

Bee Lines Through the City explored the importance and interconnectedness of bees to nature’s diverse ecosystems. Close to 75% of the world’s crops producing fruits and seeds for human consumption depend, at least in part, on pollinators for sustained production, yield and quality. Yet bees, as one of the key pollinators, are under threat from use of agrichemicals, loss of habitat, climate change and the varroa mite parasite. Through art, music, dance and crafts we explored how bees relate to different aspects of the natural and human world through the food we eat, our culture and our environment. We investigated how humans can support bees in the city through sustainable, local food growing and better urban planning.

The exhibition featured Symphony in C: A contemporary dance commission responding to new music inspired by bumblebees who vibrate at middle C to unlock pollen from plants. Featuring music by Chris Garrard, Rupert Embleton-Smith & Wildwood Kin and dance by Francesca Willow.

Through our activities we learnt about: hydroponics and hand pollination (you could be the bee); making fabric dyes from local plants; making seed paper honeycomb and venturing out on pollinator corridor walks. Through our discussions and film screening we investigated how we can collectively care for the natural world and combat climate change.

1 Apr – 23 Jun // Exhibition

Tue-Thur, 11am-4pm

Closed for the bank holiday Thursday 2 June. The Queen has made it so and we are excited to celebrate her Jubilee!

Sat 11th June 1-4pm. If you would like to visit the gallery on another Saturday then you may be able to book a visit, please email

SAW relies on donations. Donate here: 

Fri 1 Apr, 6-8pm // Preview

We enjoyed a picnic together and explored the exhibition.

Sat 2 Apr, 2-4pm // Powered by permaculture 

We explored the abundance of the edges in and around the SAW garden with foraging Permaculture designer Pia Castleton. Pia invited us to ‘use edges and value the marginal’, one of the 12 Permaculture principles. We took part in a short foraging walk beginning and ending at the SAW garden. This event was in collaboration with Baltic and is part of Shieldfield Grows.

Tue 14 June 6.30-8pm // Craft Action Collective: Seed paper & printing

We collectively created seed paper and chatted about why and how we should care for the natural world as individuals and as community. We also responded to eco issues through the medium of print with Theresa Easton. Our prints incorporate our seed paper to create a unique conversation starter.

Fri 29 Apr, 7-9pm // Tell it to the Bees: thinking about climate grief

We held an informal and in-depth discussion thinking about why care for the environment is a social justice issue, how we can collectively care for creation and what Christianity brings to the conversation. Speakers included Andii Bowsher, David Wilkinson, Hannah Malcolm, Richard Young and Rev Sarah Moon.

Wed 4 May, 10am-12pm // Hydroponics: Grow with the flow

We learnt about hydroponics, soilless growth of plants. We learnt how to ‘be the bee’ by hand pollinating plants and see how important hydroponics is in terms of local growing. This event was part of Shieldfield Grows.

Fri 13 May, 7-11pm // The Late Shows

A special late night exhibition opening and activities, part of Newcastle & Gateshead’s annual culture crawl: The Late Shows. Visitors had fun contributing to our seedpaper honeycomb wall, adding to the bees stamped on the gallery wall and creating their own seed pod to grow wildflowers around Newcastle and beyond.

Fri 27 May, 7-9pm // Kiss the Ground screening & permaculture dance performance 

A screening of the incredible film Kiss the Ground which reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilise the Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies. Dance artist Francesca Willow also performed a piece inspired by permaculture. A short time of Q&A and discussion with professionals in the field followed the dance and film.

Tue 10 & 24 May, 6.30-8pm // Craft Action Collective: Dyes from plants

On 10 May, we made inks and dyes using plants commonly recognised as weeds. On 24 May, we block printed and painted napkins with our plant-based dyes. Using natural patterns and colours attractive to bees, we explore bees’ connection to the food we eat and how best to protect them. Facilitated by artist Katie Pollard.

Wed 1 June, 10am-12pm // Born to Bee Wild

We learnt about sustainable and pollinator friendly gardening. This event was part of Shieldfield Grows.

Sat 11 June, 2-3.30pm // B-Line walks 

A short walk around Shieldfield with specialists in pollinators from Northumbria University. We learnt about B-lines (a nationally mapped network of existing and potential wildflower habitats that criss-cross the country) and pollination corridors (a pathway that will offer continuous habitat and forage to vulnerable native species).

Fri 24 June, 4-8pm // Garden opening celebration 

We celebrated all the hard work that’s gone into further developing our garden space. With new trees, planting areas and gathering spaces, we’ll be able to grow, cook and share food together in a calming space. In the long term the garden will continue to be a community space for hospitality, art, discussions and activism.

Craft activities and light refreshments, 4-5pm

A feast created from our garden produce, 5-6pm

Speeches and grand opening, 6-6.30pm

Live music, 6.30-8pm

Photo credit: Adam Dixon