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 and Claire English or for administrative support please contact the ESI admin team.

For email updates on the latest calls for proposals, funding opportunities and Creative Exchange events please sign up to our mailing list.



The ESI Creative Exchange Programme is now open for proposals for projects to take place in the 2020/21 academic year (September-May). This is a great opportunity for artists and creative practitioners to work with University of Exeter researchers to create a genuine intellectual and creative exchange around a collaboration that will benefit the work of both participants. We have small pots of money (up to £750) to help facilitate these collaborations and seed fund larger projects. If you have any questions or would like more information then please feel free to contact us. The deadline for proposals is Friday 28 February and we aim to notify all applicants of our decision by 1 April. The Creative Exchange is co-funded by the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the University of Exeter's Arts and Culture programme.

Call for Proposals 2020

    Current Collaboration                      Upcoming Collaborations

Hidden in Plain Sight

Exhibition running from 17 January - 21 February 2020 as part of our Underworlds series. Find out more about this project here. 


From January-June 2020 the ESI Creative Exchange will host an extended programme of art-science collaborations on the topic of UNDERWORLDS. In a series of four projects, artists and researchers are exploring themes of the underground, the undersea, the hidden and the microscopic. 

Image provided by Pete Ward

UoE Arts & Culture 

The ESI Creative Exchange programme is jointly funded by the ESI and the University of Exeter's Arts and Culture programme. The Arts and Culture team work across the colleges and campuses of the University of Exeter, and with creative partners around the South West region and beyond. 

Previous collaborations

A Stitched Survey of the Dyer's Garden 

Opening: Friday 8th November 5 - 7pm. Exhibition 8th November - 10th January. Find out more about this exciting project here. 

Food for Change exhibition

28 October – 1 November. The Food for Change programme uses food to inspire individuals to learn new skills and to progress into work or education. Find out more.


Pretty Useful Solar Panel Artwork

Artist talk followed by drinks reception Friday 27th September from 4pm. Exhibition 5th September – 11th October 2019.




A Transect for Trelowarren 

Bram Thomas Arnold is an artist who started with walking and kept going, into performance, installation, drawing, academia, broadcasting and writing. Walking has become the foundation of his transdisciplinary practice, a practice that does not restrict itself to traditional notions, boundaries, mediums or modes of practice: it is an ecological form of practice that is simultaneously Conceptual in its methods and Romantic in its outcomes.


Deep Materialism and Caretaking 

Dr Alison Harper (environmental textile artist) and Dr Sarah Chave (honorary researcher in the University of Exeter Graduate School of Education) are collaborating to explore the human use and abuse of the material world. Read more.

The Wave Energy Harvesting

This is a collaboration that artistically presents mathematical and engineering research outcomes related to ocean wave and wind energy extraction (through the use of wave and wind energy converters). Read more.

See Shells and Climate Change

A collaborative project by ceramic artist Jake Boex, climate scientist Professor James Scourse and Phil Dyke (National Trust Coast and Marine Advisor), this exhibition explores our emotional reaction to climate change. Read more.


 An interactive exhibition exploring how to live when sea levels rise by Creative Affiliate Natalia Eernstman.

Sail Against Plastic

Sail Against Plastic, a pioneering team of scientists, filmmakers, photographers and artists, will be exhibiting work carried out on their expedition to the arctic to determine the levels of plastic pollution making its way there on ocean currents.

Visible Mending

As part of the Repair Acts 2018-19 programme, a pop-up repair café, talks and exhibition will be co-hosted by the ESI and the Falmouth and Penryn Repair Café as part of International Repair Café Week. 

Kurt Jackson at the ESI

An exhibition of Kurt's work celebrating his new painting Taxonomy and Biodiversity being installed in the ESI and the reinstallation of water sculpture Cornish Trembling Sea Mat. Read more.

Melting Pot

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) hosted the Creative Exchange Programme’s ‘Melting Pot’ on 19 April 2018. The event brought together local creative practitioners to discuss and develop new collaborations with University of Exeter research staff. Details of future Melting Pot events will be posted here. Read more.

Rock Paper Scissors - When Microbes Play Games

Mariann Landsberger (immunologist, ESI) and Orlando Serpe (3rd year Fine Art BA, Falmouth University) are collaborating on a graphic novel illustrating the intense struggles between viruses of bacteria and their bacterial host Read more.

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. Read more.

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. Read more.

Stuart Townley - The Mathematician and the Artist

The Mathematician and the Artist featured Prof Stuart Townley’s landscape paintings that he 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. Read more.

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. Read more.

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. Read more.

6000 Flowers

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


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

Goonhilly Village Green

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

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). Read more here.

Crafting Stability, Tipping Points and Chaos

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

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. Read more here.

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. Read more.

Natural Alchemy

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

Reshaping Fashion Norms

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

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. Read more here.

X-Ray Art and Design

Chris Thorn, who joined the ESI as the inaugural Creative Exchange Affiliate in February 2013. Produced the X-Ray Art and Design projecting collaborating with a number of researchers in the ESI. Read more here.