Art for conservation: Elaine Robinson’s SPOTtimespotTIME

12th March 2021

Artist Elaine Robinson has been working for the last five years on a collective piece documenting significant themes of our time. The work, SPOTtimespotTIME, involves collecting fingerprints and quotes both from public figures and the general public.

She says: “In March 2015 I did my first walkabout across the city of Bristol, asking for fingerprints…The SPOTtimespotTIME walkabout was a success: 400 red fingerprints of connection! I have been gathering fingerprints and opinions from as many people as I can by walking across UK cities & visiting UK Parliaments, the European Parliament and other public arenas ever since.

Elaine gathering fingerprints on her ‘City Walkabouts’

“I believe we are all instinctively connected. What started out as an artwork about human identity has evolved into a large artwork recording a shift in acceptance that we all play a part in conservation & biodiversity and it is a fundamental part of our identity. SPOTtimespotTIME is a social document which includes all social levels, ages and cultures – why wouldn’t we be optimistic about conservation?!”

Elaine was due to come to our live event in 2020, and since its postponement she has continued to add to her work remotely. Many working in conservation have contributed to the work including CCI executive director Mike Maunder, RSPB’s CEO Beccy Speight, Chris Packham, Mya-Rose Craig, CCF chair Roger Mitchell, and BTO’s CEO Juliet Vickery.

Chris Packham, contributing his fingerprint on 11th January 2021 said:  “Love life : all life. Everything is precious – everything counts.
We are just one species at one time with one problem and one chance to sort it out- please change”

Elaine explains how the work came about: “The idea to create a giant fingerprint came to me when I visited the Rubens exhibition at the Royal Academy in February 2015. Walking around this spectacular exhibition, there was a moment when I spotted a fingerprint. Time, opinion and fingerprints are often what can separate us; however, paradoxically, it is what unites us all when it matters. As an artist, I believe that conservation is the metaphorical heartbeat of all life.

When many people were readily adding their biometric fingerprints to new exciting technological devices, I wanted to encourage a conversation about our connection to all world life, ecosystems and conservation. SPOTtimespotTIME collates a reflective, optimistic conversation about conservation, symbolising one organism.”

“A fingerprint – us as humans making our mark. A sign of individual responsibility;
Make it count by looking after and restoring our natural world”,  Beccy Speight, CEO RSPB

So what will happen next? Elaine explains: “The finished installation will comprise hundreds of colourful circles filled with fingerprints, levelling and equal. I have been able to keep gathering fingerprints during the pandemic from many notable conservationists and campaigners and well-known NGOs. All the fingerprints will be encased in resin, preserved in time; the colours used indicative of the spectrum, reflecting the importance of light to life… We are all responsible for conservation. Together we can effect change – every fingerprint around the world matters. The artwork encapsulates the optimistic movement everyone is making to change our relationship with the planet.

“SPOTtimespotTIME is inclusive and for people from all walks of life. It’s also about embracing our interconnections; we are always stronger working together. I would love to hear from you and add your fingerprint to the artwork -a time capsule for now and all future generations of life on Earth.”

Follow Elaine on Twitter to see who’s added their fingerprints recently. And if you would like to contribute to Elaine’s finished piece, you can contact her via Twitter, her website or email:

Elaine Robinson

Elaine was raised in the North West of England, very near South Walney Nature Reserve and the Lake District. Always enjoying a deep love of nature walking and the outdoors, Elaine documents the constantly changing social landscape and our connection with our environment. Instinctively creating the art in the moving moment Elaine asks us to reflect and consider our own sensory perceptions and connection to all life. Believing we are all part of the same natural balance, Elaine endeavours to connect as many people as possible relating our connection to all life, legacy, nature, identity and ancestry.
“I feel so enthused and proud to be documenting this wonderful and hopeful time in our living history. Conservation is our metaphysical heartbeat, and our connection to all life. Together we can all make a difference - we are life!”