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Microbes and Society @ Exeter

Here’s to Thee: Experiments with the more-than-human social worlds of Devonshire cidermaking

In a collaboration that unites microbial ecology with anthropological and collective artistic practices, Here’s To Thee, a project by artist Simon Pope, features Microbes & Society members Harry G West (Anthropology, also Lead of the university’s Exeter Food network), Dan Bebber and Ben Temperton (Biosciences) collaborating to focus on the communal and microbial ecologies of cider-making in Devon. 

Commissioned by Arts and Culture Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery Exeter, the project seeks to acknowledge a more-than-human social world by exploring the participatory and collective dimensions of wassailing, a traditional custom for ensuring a good apple harvest. Outputs include a new wassail song, by singer-songwriter Jim Causley, reflecting on the human-microbial relationships of cider-making. Here’s to Thee serves as an example of how interdisciplinary working naturally complements community-focused projects and increases their impact.

For more information, visit HERE'S TO THEE 2020-22, and Arts & Culture Exeter | Here's to Thee.

Key researchers

Additional outputs

Songs: Jim Causley. The Halstow Wassail. 

Ceramics: Abigail North. The Halstow Wassail bowl. 

Book, textworks and posters: Simon Pope.