The Creative Exchange Programme

The Creative Exchange Programme aims to facilitate collaboration between creative practitioners, the ESI and researchers on our Cornwall Campuses who share an interest in issues of environment and sustainability.

Through this programme we are seeking to develop the region’s creative industries, inspire research and stimulate opportunities for public engagement and collaborative learning.

We circulate a call for proposals for Creative Exchange collaborations bi-annually at the start of the academic year  and again in late Spring. Details about calls will be made available on this page. For more information, please contact Caitlin DeSilvey, Joanie Willett or for administrative support please contact the ESI admin team.

Melting Pot Event 

On Thursday April 19th we will be holding our next Creative Exchange ‘Melting Pot,’ from 16.00 to 18.00 in the ESI. At the ‘Melting Pot’ you will hear about upcoming projects and ideas in development, including the new University of Exeter Arts and Culture Strategy. We will provide time for local creative practitioners to discuss and develop new ideas with University of Exeter research staff. It will be a relaxed and informal event and soup and light refreshments will be available. This event will also mark the opening of our latest exchange project: Contaminated Soils in Ceramics. To register your attendance and allow us to book catering, or for more information please contact

Current collaborations

Contaminated Soils in Ceramics

Dr Elze Hesse (evolutionary ecologist, ESI) and Fleur Winter (ceramic artist and teacher, Leach Pottery) have teamed up to test contaminated soils in ceramics. In particular, the project will test the impact of mine-degraded soils as additions in ceramic glazes and clay bodies.

Previous collaborations

More than Food

The exhibition is a collaboration between the University’s Social Innovation Group, distinguished photojournalist Paddy Dowling, and local foodbanks. Reflecting on lived experiences of foodbank use, the images and stories illustrate the complex circumstances at play and the power of localised forms of care.

Stuart Townley - The Mathematician and the Artist

The Mathematician and the Artist will be running from 30 October to the 20 December. The exhibition will feature Stuart’s landscape paintings that he has reinterpreted digitally. By viewing these paintings as models we use to represent and interpret reality, parallels can be drawn to Stuart’s computer-based mathematical models of the environment.

Resilient local food systems in the Tamar Valley

Rosie Fierek’s artwork is inspired by the work that Tamar Grow Local undertakes in the area - stimulating and incentivizing local food production and consumption - and research by ESI researchers Gloria Salmoral and Xiaoyu Yan on water-energy-food nexus in the EPSRC funded WEFWEBs project

Bee Health: Audio Immersion

Juliet Osborne and Lauren Holt from the ESI facilitated a representation of honey bee data into a contemporary cello piece with an interpretive piece of music for both healthy hives, and those affected by pesticides and disease played by Oak Matthias.

White Space / Blue Sky

Prof Caitlin DeSilvey and artist Antony Lyons focus on the relationship between mapped and unmapped spaces in the china clay area of mid-Cornwall, and the ‘infilling’ of empty cartographic space with creative responses and activations.

6000 Flowers

'6000 Flowers' - an arts collaboration between Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB - Richard Hardy), the ESI (Dr Grace Twiston-Davies) and artist Jodie Purcell.


Natalia Eernstman, artist, researcher and project manager for Golden Tree, is collaborating with the ESI on various projects concerning coastal change, extreme weather and community resilience.

Goonhilly Village Green

Through the Goonhilly Village Green (GVG) project, artists Sara Bowler and Elizabeth Masterton will work with academics and students at the ESI who are conducting research on the Lizard Peninsula's Goonhilly Downs.

Soil Culture

Artist Marissa Lee Benedict was awarded a Soil Culture residency to work with researchers in the ESI in August 2014. The residency was delivered by the ESI in partnership with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW).

Crafting Stability, Tipping Points and Chaos

Dr Markus Mueller and Samantha Gerlach’s collaborative project sought to translate those dynamic-behaviour mathematical models into crafted objects; these were creative interpretations of the concepts of stability, tipping points and chaos.

Foreign Soil

Jonathan Bennie, ESI Associate Research Fellow, collaborated with artist and writer Gabrielle Hoad to identify and exploit microclimates where edible dessert bananas might be grown outdoors in the South West.

All Washed Up

All Washed Up is a collaboration between Dr Matthew Witt, a lecturer in Natural Environment within the ESI, and Rame Peninsula Beach Care (RPBC), a beach cleaning group from South East Cornwall.  

Natural Alchemy

The Natural Alchemy project, a collaboration between Chris Bryan and Oliver Raymond-Barker, is an exploration into process.

Re-shaping Fashion Norms

This project, a collaboration between Clare Saunders, Sue Bamford and Irene Griffin, seeks to ask: how might fashion norms be re-shaped so as to reduce the environmental and social impacts of fashion?

Night Walks

The collaboration between Hannah Guy and Thomas Davies took place between May and December 2013 and stemmed from the ESI research project, ECOLIGHT, which investigates the aesthetic, environmental and human health impacts of artificial light pollution.