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Whilst the real gallery space remains temporarily closed due to the pandemic, the team have recreated a virtual gallery, featuring work of twelve previous ESI Creative Exchange collaborations.

Experience nearly a decade of stunning arts/science collaborations inspired by research in Cornwall

2021 marks almost a decade of the ESI Creative Exchange, a rich and absorbing programme of arts/science collaborations between researchers at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and South West based creative practitioners.

Supported by the ESI and Arts and Culture, University of Exeter, the Creative Exchange brings researchers and artists together to explore questions related to climate change, ecology and environment, generating opportunities for public engagement and collaborative learning.

Since the programme launched in 2012, a small gallery space in the ESI has played host to exhibitions showcasing everything from kaleidoscopic bacterial colonies to the plants growing in a dyer’s garden, offering students, staff and the public a chance to engage with topics such as hidden microscopic worlds and local ecosystems.  

To celebrate these fascinating creative collaborations and highlight the programme’s legacy, Arts and Culture are delighted to have teamed up with the ESI and South West based curator and producer Claire English to create a stunning online exhibition, called Catalyst

Whilst the real gallery space remains temporarily closed due to the pandemic, the team have recreated a virtual gallery, featuring work of twelve previous ESI Creative Exchange collaborations. Showcasing work from 2013 onwards, you will be able to navigate through a series of spaces to view photography, creative writing, visual art and film all exploring issues of climate, environment and sustainability.

Claire English, curator and producer said ‘The Creative Exchange is a wonderful place where art and science meet, to inspire new thinking and ideas. It’s been fascinating to work collaboratively with artists and multidisciplinary researchers, supporting and producing exhibitions since the start of my curatorial internship way back in 2014. I hope that the new ideas illuminated by Catalyst connect audiences with the environment and climate change, in this critical moment.’ 

Professor Caitlin DeSilvey, Associate Director for Transdisciplinary Research at the ESI added: ‘Our original vision for the Creative Exchange was to make space in the ESI for open-ended, collaborative exploration of shared questions, working across the boundaries of the arts and the sciences. As the Catalyst exhibition shows, the conversations that started in the programme have carried on, inspiring new work and new research. It’s fantastic to see these stories gathered together, and to have an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the programme’.  

Launching on Thursday 22nd April to celebrate Earth Day, Catalyst features artworks which have been inspired by, and developed since, the artists’ original collaborations. The twelve South West based artists/art collectives exhibiting are; Bram Thomas Arnold, Rame Peninsula Beach Care, Harper and Chave, Dr Tim Cockerill, The Art and Energy Collective, Rosie Fierek, Hugo Glasier, Gabrielle Hoad, Sara Bowler and Elizabeth Marston, Josie Purcell, Roseberry and Slack, and Chris Thorn.

Speaking about her 2017 collaboration with Dr Grace Twiston-Davies, Cornwall based photographer Josie Purcell said ‘Working with researchers at the ESI has been a catalyst for so much of my work. Being able to mix science with art has been a huge bonus to my practice and ideas for ongoing projects.’

You can experience the virtual gallery and free exhibition here from Thursday 22nd April: https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/4839861/catalyst

Date: 22 April 2021

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