Prospect Us

14 September – 25 November 2021

Prospect Us explored the social, emotional and political impact of commodification of land, rapid urban development and studentification in Newcastle. Through art, satirical games and discussion we examined the power imbalance between landowners, developers, long-term residents and students. 

What prospects do students have, having been lured by a glossy prospectus into paying high rents to private accommodation providers?

With land seen as a commodity to squeeze out the maximum profit, what prospects does this leave the people and communities who inhabit the land, but don’t own it?

How can we convince developers to serve the communities they produce as well as the communities they displace, and not only prospect for profit?

Prospect Us sought to bring different groups together through an exhibition and events to discuss and share knowledge about the effects of studentification, and the commodification of land, housing and communities. A collaboration between SAW, BxNU institute, Newcastle University, artists and researchers.

Exhibition: 14 September – 25 November 2021

Exhibition opening hours

Tue, Wed, Thur, 11am-4pm (closed Tue 28 Sep)

Sat 25 Sep & 30 Oct, 1-4pm

Felling  |  A new artwork by Julia Heslop – a series of large-scale screenprints displayed on the exterior and interior of SAW highlighting what has been lost as a result of rapid and extractive forms of development. Displayed mid-September to mid-November 2021.

One Hundred and Thirty Million Pounds of Earth  |  A map created by Julia Heslop and Dwellbeing Shieldfield in 2019, which tracks the land ownership of all twenty blocks of student accommodation in Shieldfield, illustrating the scale and origin of the money used to fuel the rapid urban development. The display included bricks from the original 3D installation and maps to take home.

Asset Arrest  |  A podcast series by artist Laura Yuile that explores different forms of financialised housing and its impact upon urban and global space, local/long-standing communities, and the very meaning of community. In each episode, Laura invites a guest to attend a viewing of a different residential property with her, with them both posing as potential buyers. See Newcastle city from inside its most exclusive spaces! Access property and views you can’t afford! This new episode was available online and in the exhibition space.

Sure Profit  |  A playful take on the cosy family game of Risk, the boardgame Sure Profit explored the emotional, financial and power value of land and student/local resident agency in a world where we’re all treated as consumers of housing, of land and the ‘student experience’. You could play in the exhibition or purchase a small DIY pack. Designed and created in collaboration with Dr Mike Jeffries. 

Factory Farming Zine  |  A zine designed by Dr Mike Jeffries
– students need somewhere to live, but the utilitarian, cookie-cutter student accommodation is reminiscent of mass-produced production lines… is this what our young people deserve?


Exhibition Preview | Friday 17 September, 6-8pm, SAW. Bring your own picnic to enjoy together and explore the exhibition.

Mapping Shieldfield  |  Mapping workshops and make-at-home mapping packs to explore contested boundaries, public and privatized space. How do we define where we live? Do you feel left off the map? What if we designed the map? Facilitated by artist Lily Arnold. Check out the Mapping Shieldfield on Instagram to see how the project is developing.

Saturday 11 September, 10am-12pm. In-person mapping workshop to make a large map of Shieldfield together, to be displayed in the exhibition. Held in SAW’s garden space

People, Profits or Prospects | Two informal, in-depth and community-centred discussions about the effects of studentification. Held in BALTIC’s Front Room and chaired by Andrea Phillips, BALTIC Professor, Northumbria University, Director of the BxNU Institute and editor of Social Housing-Housing the Social: Art, Property and Spatial Justice (Sternberg, 2013).

Wednesday 6 October, 6-8pm. Part 1: How does higher education impact on local housing and how are artists and students responding?


Lydia Hiorns |Director of Shieldfield Art Works an arts organisation based in Shieldfield, Newcastle upon Tyne. SAW believes art and creativity are integral parts of human life, and with art’s unique ability to articulate, question and enquire, we can enact positive change in our communities and the world. As a project of the Methodist Church, SAW is built upon Christian foundations of seeking truth, challenging injustice, social activism and operating for the common good. 

Julia Heslop |Artist and postdoctoral research fellow in Architecture at Newcastle University  

Laura Yuile |Artist and PhD student at Northumbria University.

Jill Holder |Retired schoolteacher and a Shieldfield resident for 37 years. Jill lives in one of Shieldfield’s older houses (it was built in 1904 has a lot of history). As a volunteer Jill helps run the Forum Café which has been open for six years and has become a local community hub – a safe space. Jill has an allotment where she grows vegetables and flowers. Sometimes she has so many she shares with neighbours and friends at the café.

Mike Jeffries |Geography Department, Northumbria University. Mike explores the lo-fi and DIY city using games, zines and collage.

CHAIR: Andrea Phillips |BALTIC Professor at Northumbria University, Director of the BxNU Institute, writer, organiser and collaborator

Head to VIMEO to watch a recording of Part One.

Wednesday 27 October, 6-8pm. Part 2: What connects student housing with land ownership, use and everyone’s rights to the city? 


Lily Arnold: a Leeds based community worker and artist. She sometimes does huge paintings on big walls, and sometimes is fixing things at her local community centre. You can get in touch through her instagram @gutt_trustt

Tim Bailey: has been an architect for nearly 30 years and is based in the Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne. His practice, xsite architecture, has worked on regeneration and commercial development across the city including a student accommodation scheme in Shieldfield.

Mara Ferreri: Chair of the Social & Cultural Geographies Research Group, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University, editor of the Radical Housing Journal, and author of  The Permanence of Temporary Urbanism: Normalising Precarity in Austerity London  (Amsterdam University Press, 2021).

Yanne Holt: Professor of Art History in the Department of Arts, Northumbria University. Her research is concerned with forms and practices of visual culture in Britain from the early twentieth century to the present, with a particular focus on contemporary experiences of northern cultural landscapes and environments. In 2010 she was involved in organising a Northumbria University-Shieldfield Community Collaboration (ENGAGE) that looked at the impact of studentification which was already developing apace.

CHAIR: Andrea Phillips |BALTIC Professor at Northumbria University, Director of the BxNU Institute, writer, organiser and collaborator

Head to VIMEO to watch a recording of Part Two.

Illustration by Benji Spence

I Spy in Shieldfield |Thursday 23, Saturday 25 September, 2 – 3.30pm Participatory walks which playfully use the passive game of I Spy to discuss what we see, hear, feel and experience in Shieldfield. We spotted: architecture and nature; new student tower block and Victorian terraces; community cafe and private gym. How do these things meet the needs of those who live, work, invest and play in Shieldfield? I Spy is a passive game – but who decides how Shieldfield is designed, built and ultimately seen by the wider world? Activity facilitated by Gemma Herries. B

*Prospect Us: community mapping packs & workshops September 2021

A community mapping project is where people who live in a particular place come together to make an alternative version of an ‘official map’. The project participants get to decide what is important about a place, because they choose what goes on the map!

We sent out mapping packs in the post, and ran online workshops (4pm or 7:30pm 8th September) to put together our own smaller maps. Then we came together on Saturday 11 September in SAW’s garden to make a HUGE map of the local area, squeezing in everything which we think is important to document about Shieldfield right now.