Tag Archive | Exeter

Ernest Cook – Art and Energy outdoors

Ernest Cook has been supporting Regen’s Art and Energy work outdoors.


Project overview

In collaboration with Regen, 12 1st Year students on the university-level Foundation Degree Graphic Communication course at Exeter School of Art (part of Exeter College), undertook a project to explore sustainable energy.


Following a day’s workshop outdoors at Bidwell Woodland which involved an energy walk, a challenge to make a water wheel, and a highly informative briefing about the energy system and the future of energy in our homes and localities from Regen’s Chloe Uden, students researched the various forms of sustainable energy which were being used by Andrew Lithgow in his Off-Grid home.

It was decided to give the Exeter students a challenge to deepen their understanding of sustainable energy by setting coursework assignment to re-design the identity for local Sustainable Energy Groups.

After choosing one specific community group to re-brand, students investigated their work, online, through calls and sometimes visits. They then developed a logo design and refined it, the brand identity was then applied to stationery, advertising, web site pages and a range of other touch points.

“This was a particularly interesting and exciting project for the students to work on as they were able to gain greater awareness of the importance of sustainable energy technologies, whilst working on a potentially “live” design brief.

The students really appreciated the opportunity to show their work at Regen’s Smart Energy Marketplace on the 28th of March 2017 where they received positive feedback from many of the visitors and community energy groups who visited. Subsequently students have been given paid industry-based, live briefs by visitors to the event.” Nigel Lowe, Course leader

Examples if water wheels made in outdoor workshop



Making connections with Community Energy Groups

3 local Community Energy groups followed up with students following the marketplace event – Teign Energy Communities, Tamar Community Energy and 361

Students were also offered the opportunity of paid work to create images for an energy podcast.

“I Just wanted to let you know that I met the Art students on Thurs last week who did the community energy re-design project and Nigel. Good session! There was one person who had designed for TECs so we looked at all the re-designs and their rationale. The wide age range was very interesting.

I enjoyed meeting them and hearing what they had to say about the way we present ourselves on our websites in particular. I took plenty away with me. It was good to hear how much they had enjoyed engaging with the project and your workshop with them had been very helpful and motivating. One woman had even been moved to put polar pv on her roof!”

Helen Chessum – Teign Energy Communities

Photographs of work displayed at Smart energy Marketplace


 Other outcomes:

The start of an art and energy outdoors conversation in Exeter 

In addition to the project outlined above, and as a result of the success of the first outdoor workshop with young people, Regen trialled a ‘drawing energy outdoors’ session with 5 local ‘creatives’ in Heavitree taking them to Heavitree Pleasure Ground.

The day long workshop included:

  • Drawing energy Pictionary
  • Discussions about how we know about energy in our environment
  • Short challenges to ‘see’ and draw a particular energy type – sharing the results and experience with others in the group
  • A longer challenge to incorporate the learning within the artists’ ‘usual’ landscape drawing approach.

Feedback from participants was very positive:

Josie Ashe (an illustrator) spent time following the workshop to develop their ideas further:

“The most interesting elements for me were different starting points and different directions often leading to consensus. Most interesting element was group energy! I felt I learnt something, even in one workshop and I will endeavour to change my way of working to try to be more fluid.

I would love to do it again sometime

I’m not sure what could be improved, Perhaps a way to share ongoing work and so help build and stretch ideas if ppl were interested.

Working outside much more relaxing, I found my ideas were less constrained. Inside seems more detailed, more structured thinking and observing.” Josie Ashe

Sarah Connors (a craft maker) was keen to repeat the experience more regularly and suggested a monthly get together as she felt it was valuable session but the subject matter demanded more attention.

“The most interesting parts of the day were talking though everyone’s interpretations of different energy and also the very different styles and methods that people used to create art. It opened up different ways that I might record when drawing or painting. It might be nice to have a 3-d materials session. Outside the natural energies really dominated!” Sarah Connors

Liese Webley (a local artist) particularly enjoyed the opportunity to spend time socially and investigating a new subject in collaboration with others. Being outside, kept that subject matter very present.

“I found it really helpful to have a discussion on representing energy in a visual way… alternative sources like the aesthetics of solar panels. The workshop made me think about the energy in a new way. It was great to be creative with others…very inspiring.

As it was a windy day it was brilliant to be outside in the elements thinking about energy natural and man-made sources” Liese Webley

Naomi Wright (a local artist) took the theme back to her local art group in Crediton where they pursued the theme and discussion further.

“It is the beginning of term and we stand about discussing our theme for our classes ahead. I suggest art and energy, it interests me for all sorts of reasons. I say I’ve been on a similar themed workshop with some college students outdoors as part of Regensw’s art and energy programme. I wonder whether it will interest the class. We think about the wide range of meanings for energy. Energy is everything, I say, remembering a recent workshop. In a physical sense, binding the molecules of our being, energy fixed from the sun, in the movement of a river, the heat from a fire, in our food, in the every-day. We have our own energy, in the spirit of the land, in ley-lines, in happiness, in despair.

So the term at Crediton arts centre has taken this as a theme…. A couple of us are working with an old luccombe oak that has had to be cut down in the local park. We think of the power within, the height and weight of it, the history in it, the energy held beneath in the ground. The dying energy, used by fungus, the last of the leaves to be photo-synthesising.

Others in the class discuss their drawings through the eye of an energy lens. Lines are energetic, directional, growing. The still life is far from still as vegetation takes on a new meaning, pots spin, and all the senses are enlivened.” Naomi Wright

Making energy art outdoors with pupils from St Christopher’s Prep school in Staverton

Through the art and energy outdoors project that we did with support from Ernest Cook, we also made links with Totnes Renewable Energy Society who have been developing an energy educataion week for primary children.

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (Tresoc) launched its ‘Renewable Energy Experiential Learning’ (REEL) programme, designed to stimulate education in renewable energy technologies and wider energy issues in local primary schools. The programme brings together many local organisations and businesses with expertise in technology, investment, sustainability, ecology, learning and sharing. These include: The Bio-regional Learning Centre, Regen, Hydrosense, Fishtek, Beco Solar, South Brent Community Energy Society and Dartington Hall Trust.

REEL, kicked off with a 3-week pilot project at St Christopher’s Prep School Staverton for key stage 2 students, and included practical, hands-on making, site visits, critical thinking ideation and presentation of learnings. It focused on the landscape-scale renewable energy schemes currently generating electricity for local people: hydro, using Totnes Weir; solar, using Dartington Hall Trust Solar Farm; and, wind, using South Brent Community Energy Society Wind Turbine. Victoria Kennington,

Regen worked with the pupils outside next to the hydro project at Totnes weir to play with found materials and explore how they interact with the water flow.

Head at St Christopher’s commented “We were very excited to be part of the REEL pilot project at St Christopher’s as we look to increase the STEM opportunities for our pupils. Year 6 are looking forward to using their science and design technology skills over the course of this three week programme and learning more about the sustainable and renewable energy projects in their local area”.

Chloe’s approach as a guide allowed the students to think for themselves out in nature… each experimental water wheel was unique – most importantly, they had fun!” Jane Brady, TRESOC

Tresoc aim is to gradually offer its education programme to all local primary schools and expand the focus from key stage 2 to key stage 1. ‘The water wheel recipe’ Regen developed for the Ernest Cook project and then re-tested with Staverton pupils will be incorporated into the ‘REEL’ proramme and used in future projects.

Future Plans

Having established links with Bidwell Woodland in Rattery, we would like to extend the project with a more in depth investigation of energy outdoors across the period of a year.

Being able to spend an extended period of time with a range of people in one outdoor space would allow us to tell the energy story of a particular place through a variety of voices and that shared investigation would be really rich.

Job opportunity at Kaleider!

Kaleider needs an exceptional Producer with the skill, tenacity and passion to produce Kaleider, it’s productions and the work the company commissions.

It is a full time, permanent position, £30k – £34k dependent on experience.

All the details are available on their website.

Kaleider is a production studio based in Exeter U.K. They bring people together to make extraordinary live experiences, products and services. They make their own work, produce work, commission new work and provide support for artists to develop, push boundaries and take risks with their ideas.

Kaleider hosts a number of Resident artists, researchers, scientists, creative technologists and young people and Kaleider Residents are able to use Kaleider as a co-location base to work from. But Residents are not limited to being Exeter based and they make up the core of Kaleider’s broader network of people, groups, and businesses with differing backgrounds but with a shared desire to turn and face some of the world’s great challenges.

Often the work that comes out of Kaleider is playable, and tries to interrupt people in their everyday contexts. Kaleider is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (2015-18) and is funded by Exeter City Council.

Sustainable Energy is Super! Poster project with Exeter College design students

Chloe Uden from Regen SW has been working with  Exeter College students to get fresh perspectives on how sustainable energy is super!

The ‘Sustainable Energy is Super’ poster design project was a fantastic experience for the Foundation Diploma Graphics students on so many levels. Firstly, the students had the opportunity to work on a “live” project for a real client. This provided the students with design industry experience as they were able to take a detailed brief, and working to a strict deadline, present their initial ideas and later their final outcomes to the client.”

“It enabled the students to learn more about various sustainable energy sources. We know that the sustainable energy sector will grow over the coming years and will provide work opportunities for these students, so it is really important that they are comfortable with the language and thinking which will emerge in our transition to a smart, low carbon economy”

“At Exeter School of Art (part of Exeter College), we are very keen to work with local businesses and organisations to provide industry experience for students in order to prepare them for future employment. This project project really fulfilled that initiative.” Nigel Lowe, Programme Manager for FDA Graphic Communication

Students were set the following brief:

Sustainable energy is SUPER!

We would like you to make a poster which shows a sustainable energy superhero.

There is no bigger challenge for society than climate change and no more important response than a rapid shift to clean energy. Such a dramatic shift in our energy system has big impacts on people: on their bills; in the way they use energy; and on their landscape. There is no path to a clean energy system that does not include the active participation of communities and the public.

Artists have played an important role in every cultural change, helping to draw us in, focusing our attention, inviting us to spend time with new ideas and allowing us to respond both meaningfully, constructively and creatively. Creative practitioners have a key role in enabling people to engage with the complex and challenging implications of climate change and clean energy.

“Over the past 200 years non-renewable energy resources have helped to bring about great advancements. But their consumption has also brought great blight upon the health of the planet and her inhabitants, and our easy access to them is soon running out. But change is just around the corner…

Right now is a great time to help contribute to this change. The more we can increase public awareness and acceptance of renewable energy and local applications, the more direct our path will be to a truly sustainable planet”                      Land Art Generator Initiative

So how does creativity inspire us to act? Well, creativity has proved a powerful tool for seducing, provoking and persuading us to drive 4x4s, buy into the latest fashion trends and drink water that comes from the other side of the world. If creative communications have persuaded us to consume in a way that impacts our planet for the worse, then it can be used to inspire us to try out things that have a more positive impact on the environment.”     Do The Green Thing

The brief:

  1. Choose an elemental force OR renewable energy technology
  2. Create an artwork according to the submission specifications
  3. Submit your artwork :

Tell us your name and your contact details

  • Tell us which sustainable energy resource or technology you have chosen.
  • The artwork should be 1110 x 1505 pixels (portrait).
  • Supply us with a JPEG for web – a .jpeg or .png of your poster design at 72ppi. This is for our website, our newsletter, our social channels and online press.
  • Supply is with a PDF for print – a .pdf of your poster design at 300ppi (if possible). This is for our any events we exhibit at.
  • Give us a short quote about your poster

Questions that may help you develop the sustainable energy superhero persona:

You have chosen an elemental force: Solar (heat), Solar (light), Solar (photosynthesis), Lunar (tidal), Wind, Wave, Hydro, Geothermal, Biomass, Biogas (landfill), Biofuel, Waste, Kinetic, Gravity, Algae

  • Write as many words as you can think of that you associate with this energy
  • Where do you feel this energy source?
  • How does it affect you?
  • What does this energy source do? How does it affect its surroundings?
  • How do we harness electricity from that elemental force?
  • Do you have any personal associations with this energy source or energy harnessing technology?
  • What if you could affect stuff in this way?
  • What would your back story be? How did you get these powers, what was it like?
  • What would your superhero name be?
  • What would you wear?
  • What would you do for the benefit of humanity with these powers?
  • What would threaten you?
  • How would you disguise/protect yourself?

Resources that may give you some inspiration:

What we will do with your artwork:

  • We will add some context: why sustainable energy is important
  • We will share your poster through all our channels to our subscribers at our events and in our publications.


Responses from students were:

"I wanted to take a more adult approach to the super powers of renewable energy; to appeal to first time buyers." Matt Bell - Instagram: thyearofgrey

“I wanted to take a more adult approach to the super powers of renewable energy; to appeal to first time buyers.” Matt Bell – Instagram: thyearofgrey


"I wanted to make my project interactive and engage people with the idea of renewable energy" Meg Thomas

“I wanted to make my project interactive and engage people with the idea of renewable energy” Meg Thomas



“This project really opened my eyes to renewable energy, now I’m excited I have designed something that will open other people’s eyes!” Robert Owens



“I was informed about global warming by the end of this project” Elliot Peckham



“I was surprised about how much I enjoyed and learnt on this project, allowing me to learn about renewable energies and create a piece that reflected this.” Liam Mead



“I really enjoyed this brief as it gave me the opportunity to express my interest in green energy through illustrative means” Callum Goddard



“This was a project I was expecting to really struggle with. However I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I hope it really spreads the word.” George Thomas



“I was rather overwhelmed by the brief at the start, but once we all understood more about renewable energy, I found it really interesting and enjoyable to relate to” Ollie Slee



“This project was a lot of fun and researching that renewable energy is actually affordable was eye opening for me” Calum May



“I had a lot of fun on this project and learnt a lot about the different types of renewable energy” Ben Vizor http://www.behance.net/benvizor


"The focus on Superheroes initially seemed daunting, but this project actually meant I had to visualise and interpret energy in a way I never had before." Harrison Pidgeon

“The focus on Superheroes initially seemed daunting, but this project actually meant I had to visualise and interpret energy in a way I never had before.” Harrison Pidgeon


Next steps:

  • A prize will be awarded to the winning poster
  • Students will submit their designs to http://www.dothegreenthing.com
  • We will share the files with community energy groups and the Regen SW network
  • We will explore options to display the works around Exeter City Centre

Energyscapes: a seventeenth-century city

Future Works


The energy provided by wind and water was essential to all members of local communities in the past. Everyone had an interest and a shared responsibility to ensure that watermills and windmills were maintained. This image is an early prospect of the City of Exeter, published in 1617 in the sixth volume of Civitates orbis terrarum by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg. It depicts the network of watermills located beyond the city walls, in celebration perhaps of the technical control of nature achieved by altering the flow of the water through the landscape. In other words it represents an early ‘energyscape’ bringing power and sustenance to the early modern city. Images like this are important for inviting us to ponder today the long history of renewable energy sources in the landscape, and to consider how concerns about energy security faced communities in the past just as they do today.


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Art gives renewable energy to our actions

It’s a bright fluttery day in Exeter. I’m in a meadow watching the fresh-faced artist Helen Morse Palmer with a mallet knocking the stem of a red windmill into the ground. 1500 of these mills catch gusts of a breeze like prayer wheels.

Tck tck tck tck tck tck


There is a wow factor to this installation that’s been created with children from 5 schools in Exeter. You can see it from vistas all across the city and up close, there is a friendly, celebratory air that reminds me of childhood trips to the beach.

Surrounded, as it is, by redbrick 1930s council houses, it certainly adds something delightful to the location, and it has become a landmark moment in my memory.


15 years has past, and my recollection of that enchanting day is fairly strong, unusually bright in the fog of other events and experiences. Perhaps this is one of art’s most potent impacts.

What leaps out for me in my memory is the red, I recall the mills like giant poppies. I still have a sense of the wooden stems and plastic blades standing at waist height and my wandering, grass underfoot to the heart of the swirl of them and looking out at the city that is still new to me.

I noticed the wind; a mostly invisible force and source of much of the beauty in this piece. Here, in my present place in time, I often hear people say that ‘one of the reasons we as a society don’t value or even understand the role of energy in our lives is because we can’t see it’. There, the me in the past can clearly see the subtle, volatile and impetuous character of the wind as it tickles past. I can see humanity’s ingenuity and playfulness and I can see the awesome power of a community working together to create something beautiful.

“Encounters with art can make a lasting mark in memory. They evolve in the mind and resolve into meaning. It seems to me that many actions in life have a root in that which has meaning to the person. The memory of a work of art, piece of music or act of theatre, can continue to give us energy and impetus long after the event. Perhaps art is a source of renewable energy for the soul”

Time has past, tck tck tck tck tck,

I set up an arts and energy programme in 2013; moved to action no doubt by memories like this one.  10 years working in the sustainable energy industry and I know that art engages my heart and mind far more effectively than any report dressed up as it may be in emotive, press-worthy language.

My hope is that our communities and artists can find ways to work together to harness the power of beauty in our transition to a low carbon future. I hope that our arts and energy programme will help to share these arts products further afield and maybe there will be more landmark moments for more of us on our difficult journey.

And you?

  1. What are your first memories of energy?
  2. What works of art have left an indelible mark?
  3. Have any of these experiences inspired you to do something?