Frontier Voices

Frontier Voices: Hadrian's Wall 1900 Project with Denbigh Community Primary School, Wallsend

During 2022, we worked with Year 4 students from Denbigh Community Primary School, Wallsend, and artist Karen MacDougall to create an installation artwork as part of the Hadrian's Wall 1900 Festival. Inspired by Hadrian's Wall 1900 years ago, the installation was made specifically for The Shrine of the Standards at Segedunum Fort. 

At the start of the project, the students came to Segedunum to explore the Roman Fort Site, museum and the reconstructed piece of Hadrian’s Wall nearby. The children were amazed by the size of the Wall and inspired by the long list of names collected from the Centurio stones - centurions who were actually here building the Wall 1900 years ago. 

Builders of the Wall Monument

They created their own A5 sketchbook so that they could collect names of real soldiers who helped to build the Wall, as well as Roman patterns used to decorate objects such as pottery and jewellery. The children then learned how to use and emboss metal foil using a stylus. Once they had practiced using the stylus and the metal foil, each student was able to create their own embossed stone, incorporating the names and patterns collected. All the individual pieces of artwork would be used to create a full-scale size section of Hadrian’s Wall. 

Embossed stones created by the students

They also visited the tower at Segedunum to look at the Wallsend landscape today and to see how it had changed since the Romans were there.

View of Segedunum Roman Fort and the River Tyne from the viewing tower

Students from Denbigh Community Primary School at the top of the viewing tower

The Learning team then visited Denbigh Community Primary School to work with the students on creating an interpretation of the changing landscape of Segedunum on a huge canvas. As part of this process, the children were able to learn and experiment with how to make different marks using permanent marker pens. 

Adding detail to the canvas of the view from Segedunum viewing tower

Once the children had finished off adding detail to the canvas, Karen MacDougall cut and mounted these onto the reverse of the Centurio stones and then constructed the giant mobile so the stones could move independently in the gallery's air currents. The finished artwork, Frontier Voices: Mosaic Across Time, is currently on display in The Shrine of Standards at Segedunum Roman Fort.