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Film still from ‘In Pericula: At Risk’, filmed at the Life Science Museum, King’s College, London, © Daksha Patel, 2022

Credit - Ella Frears

Arts and Culture Announce Three New Creative Fellows

Bringing together three creative practitioners with three academic hosts, this year’s set of extraordinary Creative Fellowships at the University of Exeter see the worlds of law, maritime history and environmental justice collide with multidisciplinary art and poetry.

Developed by the University’s Arts and Culture team in 2018, the fellowships provide a platform upon which renowned creative practitioners can embed themselves into ground-breaking research at the University. Lasting a total of five weeks across the academic year, the scheme encourages mutually beneficial exchange, where both the host and the creative practitioner gain new insights and potential ways of working.

For the first time ever, two of the Fellowships will be based solely at the University’s Penryn campus in Cornwall. Arts and Culture Programme Manager for Cornwall Annie Sheen said: ‘We’re so thrilled that two of our Creative Fellowships are based at the Penryn campus this year. Both projects promise to be really exciting endeavours and I’m looking forward to seeing how these creative collaborations can support, extend and showcase the research strands.’

Firstly, Cornwall born poet and artist Ella Frears is collaborating with Dr Timothy Cooper from the Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities on ‘Maritime Environmental Histories: Oral Histories and Creative Conversations’. The fellowship will see Ella working in a community context to connect historical experiences of environmental change in Falmouth and Penryn to contemporary concerns regarding rising sea levels, dredging, and the future of sea-food fisheries.

Ella said ‘I’m looking forward to interrogating the role of the poet when exploring aspects of the climate crisis. Mineshafts, pedestrianisation, oil spills, and tourism in Cornwall, are just some of the areas I’ll be delving into and discussing with Dr Cooper.’

Secondly, multidisciplinary artist Daksha Patel is working with Professor Clare Saunders from the Department for Humanities and Social Sciences, Cornwall on ‘Exploring Environmental Justice’, a social movement which aspires to put justice for people, organisms and eco-systems at the heart of solutions to environmental problems. Together they will look at developing creative outputs to help communicate the implications of Environmental Justice, whilst also considering artistic ways of thinking about environmental humanities that can feed into the department's new and exciting Environmental Humanities BA programme.

Professor Clare Saunders said: ‘This fellowship represents one of the most exciting ventures in my academic career. Daksha’s expertise in drawing, printmaking, animation and installation in partnership with scientists on environmental themes will allow us to bring environmental justice to life, to hear and share multiple voices, and to map out the different dimensions of environmental justice creatively.’

Daksha added ‘It will be fascinating and eye opening to look through the lens of Environmental Justice at the interrelated issues of climate change, biodiversity, habitat loss, pollution and their impact upon peoples across the globe. I’m really looking forward to collaborating, making connections, hearing diverse voices and exploring creative processes through materials and making.’

Finally, joining Dr Natalie Ohana, from the University of Exeter’s Law School, is multidisciplinary artist Tom Stockley. Based at the University’s Streatham campus, Tom and Natalie will be collaborating on ‘A Thousand Bursts of Light’, a Creative Fellowship which will see Tom work with undergraduate Law students on the module 'Law, Testimony and Trauma'. This project-based, research-led module concentrates on traumatic events related to social oppression, such as racism, sexism, classism and xenophobia. Tom will join seminars at different stages of the module and work with students, whilst also bringing their own perspectives and new ways of thinking about the relationship between law, trauma and testimony.

Dr Natalie Ohana said, 'I am so grateful for receiving this opportunity to collaborate with Tom and excited to see where the collaboration will lead us. Tom’s background and experience as an artist working with communities can bring invaluable dimensions to the Law, Testimony and Trauma module, especially around the students’ research projects on the knowledge of survivors, families and communities on the root causes of traumatic events.’

Tom added, ‘The desire to disrupt, collaborate and interconnect a creative practice with an academic structure really excites me about this project – teasing out shared experiences and different approaches to go deeper into the complexities of community, social structure and legal systems.'

The University’s Arts and Culture strategy aims ‘to champion creativity and foster innovation’. The Creative Fellowships are an important mechanism for putting these ambitions into practice, offering creative practitioners the opportunity to engage with innovative research across the University’s colleges and campuses. Find out on the Arts and Culture website.

Date: 23 January 2023

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