Prospect Us

14 September – 25 November 2021

Prospect Us explores the social, emotional and political impact of commodification of land, rapid urban development and studentification in Newcastle. Through art, satirical games and discussion we’ll examine 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 seeks 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 will include 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 will be available online and in the exhibition space.

Sure Profit  |  A playful take on the cosy family game of Risk, the boardgame Sure Profit will explore 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’. 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? If you live in (or have recently lived in) Shieldfield, you can get a mapping pack by emailing before 25th August 2021. Please include your name and postal address. 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. Panel members to be announced in September. 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). There will be evening refreshments served. Free booking is essential. Book here.

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

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

For both events we are running a free minibus from Shieldfield to BALTIC and back. If you would like to book a space on the bus then please email us at

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’ll be spotting: 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.

Book your free place via eventbrite:

*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 will be sending out mapping packs in the post, and running online workshops (4pm or 7:30pm 8th September) to put together our own smaller maps. Then we’ll come 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.

If you live (or have lived recently) in Shieldfield, and want to get involved then let us know! We’d love to hear from local residents, students and people of all ages! If you live in (or have recently lived in) Shieldfield, you can get a mapping pack by emailing with ‘mapping pack’ in the subject line before 25th August 2021. Please include your name and postal address.