Lara Williams used GiGL data for her degree show project in the summer of 2017. While studying textile design she already had a place on a Masters degree in journalism and was keen to combine these two interests. Also interested in ecology and conservation, GiGL data was the perfect way to bring wildlife, story-telling and design together.
Her final project explored the idea of urban wildlife. As she explained “we share our city with creatures that often divide opinion – whether that’s the loud alien parakeets or sly secretive foxes – and it fascinates me”.
The aim was to map where these animals live, so GiGL provided data with species counts for wood-pigeon, foxes and parakeets split by borough. This data was then used to colour a map of London – the darker the colour, the higher the species count. As a weaver, the colours and patterns from the map informed the textiles Lara was making.
Later in the project, Lara won a competition to have a design woven up at a jacquard mill and wanted to somehow incorporate the map into the weave.
The design was split by borough and placed to make a camouflage pattern. Illustrations of the animals were overlaid over the top. The concept was to convey the idea that these animals are so often hidden in plain sight – foxes slink through the night, parakeets nest high up in the tree tops and pigeons are ignored.
Lara is now on her journalism masters and using data in a more conventional way but still plans to come up with innovative ways to explore and encourage the public to engage with the environment.