The Tullie House community project began with introductions from me and Catherine Moss-Luffrum and then a visit to the Frontier Gallery at Tullie House with David Gopsill. We had made a slit book sketchbook to make notes and, using mobile phones, we captured anything that interested us. We made notes about how we felt about frontiers and Hadrian’s Wall as a border. These are to be debated further in our next session in two weeks when we start to create the artwork for the Wall we are making for inclusion in the Frontier Gallery.
I had organised a site visit to Birdoswald so I could share some of the poetry from the Birdoswald workshops. Also, the Tullie House participants could see the fort and the fabulous landscape at the Wall. Everyone expressed this using words, which they chose carefully:
Peaceful, historic, strategic, prepared, drilling, organised, isolates, ordered, drilling, green
We also visited Birdoswald because the finds from the fort are accessioned at Tullie House and English Heritage’s Learning officer Helen Klemm shared artefacts from their handling collection, which everyone enjoyed. I was particularly fascinated by Genius Colcullatus - a single hooded figure that may have been linked to Celtic deities. Apparently they normally appear in threes and Housteads have three, but they haven’t been found at all the Wall sites. We also saw three figures in similar (but not the same) clothing in the Frontier Gallery at Tullie House. There is something very tactile about this little stone sculpture and it clearly meant something important to the fort dwellers in the past. I discovered that he had a nickname: ‘Bert Oswald’!