Monthly Archives: August 2021

How can you support heritage this Summer and Autumn in the south west? Some events to add to your calendar

It has been three months since the reopening of heritage sites across the UK. At the University of Exeter, the galleries at the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (BDCM are now open every day from 10am to 5pm and the Northcott Theatre is hosting a variety of theatre productions and stand-up comedy nights, throughout the remainder of the summer and into the Autumn.

In the city centre, The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) is hosting a mix of online and physical events. In August and September, the museum is running two one-day-only virtual events: ‘Taxidermy explained: Preserving and recreating RAMM’s beaver’ (25th August), and ‘The art of hand-modelled plaster with Geoffrey Preston’ (22nd September). Leading into October and November, the monthly one-day-events include ‘Feathers, Fashion and Feminism with Tessa Boase’ (21st October) and ‘Farthing Breakfasts and Penny Dinners with Julia Neville’ (17th November). On the physical front, the RAMM is hosting a guided mindfulness event every Sunday from the 10th of October to the 28th of November. The six free sessions invite you to explore artefacts in the museum collection using mindfulness. For a wider programme of RAMM’s Autumn events, see their website.

Venturing into the winter, Exeter Cathedral are hosting their annual Christmas Market from the 18thof November until the 18th of December. Follow the Cathedral’s social media pages (@ExeterCathedral) for updated information as the event approaches.

Moving to Somerset, Wells Cathedral are hosting the Festival of the Moon from the 12th of October until the 3rd of November. The ‘Museum of the Moon’ is a touring artwork by Luke Jerram, which fuses lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer, Dan Jones. The event will be led by Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut. Tickets cost between £25 and £40 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

At Powderham Castle, the ‘Forest and Feasts’ art exhibition will take place from the 12th-23rd of September. The event features work from over 400 local artists and art groups in Devon. Then on the 2nd and 3rd of October, the castle will host its Food Festival, an event that has been taking place for ten years. Entry costs £4 for children, £9 for adults and £22 for families and can be purchased via: Leading into November and December, Powderham is hosting two ‘Music in the Castle’ events. The first, on the 15th of October, features Meraki Duo with Meera Maharaj – flute and James Girling – guitar. The second event, on the 17th of December, features the 8 voices of Powderham Consort with Divertimento and David Davies – organ. In addition to this, the Michaelmas Fair will take place on the 4thof November. For further information, check out Powderham’s event list.

Exeter City of Literature will be continuing their series ‘Quay Words’ into the autumn on the 1st and 15th  of September. The events are held online via Zoom and are free, but places must be booked in advance. Also in September, the Budleigh Literary Festival is returning for five days of literary talks, workshops and readings. The event will run from the 14th until the 18th of September and you can book here.

Be sure to check out the Exeter Arts and Culture exhibition ‘A Language of Seeds’, developed by Devon-based artist Léonie Hampton, which is coming to an end on the 5th of September. Other exhibitions such as ‘Turner’s Travels,’ which digitally showcases a series of 19th century engravings in the University’s fine art collection, are ongoing.

In addition, watch this space, or visit the Charles Causley Trust’s website, for news on our Heritage partner’s upcoming International Poetry Competition.





















The Annual Heritage round up: The University of Exeter’s heritage achievements in the 2020/2021 academic year

The start of the 2020/2021 academic year marked the beginning of a new hybridity in the heritage sector. As the Coronavirus pandemic shut universities, museums and heritage sites across the UK, the sector launched a commitment to a new age of digital heritage that would prove essential for heritage practice over the next year.

Exhibiting, exploring and preserving heritage has shifted dramatically at the University of Exeter. Beginning with the Hidden Cities project, a collaborative project funded by the university and a number of heritage institutions across Europe, historical monuments and sites were brought to screens. App users were able to explore a series of European cities (including Exeter) and their histories from their isolation at home. At the time, co-creator Professor Fabrizio Nevola, Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies at the university, said that the project illustrated the importance of digitizing heritage during the pandemic, in order to continue the investigation of spaces that were not accessible.

Where physical heritage work was halted, digital heritage practice allowed for new creative projects. As part of the Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and BBC series, ‘Culture in Quarantine,’ Exeter Professor Naomi Sykes and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Sean Doherty co-produced an animated film that told the story of one of Britain’s most mysterious animals — the hare. The entire project, which drew artistically from the 1978 film Watership Down, was conducted remotely. The film can be watched via the BBC Arts and culture website.

As creative projects were digitised, so too were heritage events. In April 2021, PhD student Bradley Osborne and colleague Dr Arabella Currie led a virtual symposium on the work of Cornish-born author William Golding. Famous for his first novel Lord of the Flies (1954), some of Golding’s work is held in the university’s Special Collections and archives. In examining a range of papers by national and international academics, the digital event sought to reframe Golding’s work and re-establish it as a viable field of study for future scholars.

In addition to its literary heritage, the pandemic called for further exploration of the heritage within the walls of the university. This year, the Northcott Theatre hosted a virtual event exploring the stories of women newly discovered in the theatre’s archive collection. The live streamed event, which featured a panel of women who are developing Exeter’s current arts and cultural landscape, showcased stories that had been discovered as part of the archival project. From this, the event emphasised how the knowledge collected can be used to shape the future culture of Exeter and the South West.

On the Arts and Humanities front, the University was awarded £200,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to take arts and humanities research beyond higher education to drive social change. The award was given to Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Performance Studies, Pascale Aebischer, who will work with a huge range of academics throughout the UK on Covid-19 projects supported by the AHRC with over £16 million. The two-year programme will help connect, support and showcase over 70 AHRC projects which broadly cover three themes: the impact of Covid-19 on the cultural and creative sector; ethical, regulatory and human rights issues in responses to Covid-19; and communication and public health during the pandemic.

On partnership, the university has renewed and formed several Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’s) with south west heritage organisations over the past year. In September 2020, the university signed an MOU with The Charles Causley Trust, following previous work together as part of the Trust’s Festival of Arts and Literature, maximising the Causley Archive held in the University Special Collections and developing partnership working with English Heritage. The university also renewed its agreement with Cornwall Museum’s Partnership (CMP), signed a new partnership with the National Trust and with Wells Cathedral. An MOU with English Heritage is pending.

From January to May 2021, the University of Exeter worked with heritage partner The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) on a Strategic Priority Fund project to develop collaboration and the way in which heritage and culture is collated across the city with the City Council. In addition to this, alongside longstanding heritage partner Exeter Cathedral, the Digital Humanities Lab at the university successfully digitised the Exeter Book, a tenth-century anthology of poetry. In creating a new website, images of the ancient text are now accessible to view in incredible clarity. The launch of the digitised book took place over Zoom, with colleagues from the cathedral and the university present.

During the last academic year, the university have carried out six Professional Pathways internships and two Widening Participation (WP) internships, one of which has been extended until the Autumn.

To read more about the rise of digital heritage in the sector, see our recent blog pieces written by Exeter students: For heritage news at the University of Exeter, see:

Internship work in the Heritage Sector: University of Exeter interns Anna Craig and Ani Kvantidze discuss their internship experience with heritage partner, Wells Cathedral.

As part of its scheme to research new audiences for a major new outreach and inclusion project, Wells Cathedral ran a four-week internship project through the IKEEP (Intrapreneurial Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Pathway) with University of Exeter interns.

Wells Cathedral is home to a thriving spiritual, musical and historical community stretching back nearly 850 years. The Cathedral has an international reputation and is the recipient of several tourism awards, having recently achieved a Silver Eco Church Award.

Described as the ‘most poetic’ of the English cathedrals, Wells was the first to be built in the Gothic style. The iconic West Front with its 300 medieval carvings and the 14thcentury Scissor Arches are highlights of the Cathedrals architecture.

The interns’ main priority was to identify areas across Somerset where cases of rural isolation, digital poverty, affordable housing, low skilled employment and unemployment are highest. In doing so, they identified groups operating within these areas, including community groups, schools, outreach programmes. From this, they designed a consultation questionnaire to ascertain the core needs of the identified groups around education and employment, alongside areas of operation that the Cathedral could potentially support through its music, education and volunteer programmes.

In carrying out consultation with the identified groups, the students produced a report that identifed groups that would like to engage further with the Cathedral and also recommendations for the type of engagement that they would find most beneficial.

According to Jonathan Sawyer, Development Director at Wells Cathedral, the limited time available to produce the project outcomes meant that the onus was placed on the interns to work collaboratively to devise, agree and deliver a project plan to meet the agreed deadline. Jonathan tells us that, “each of the interns used their initiative to creatively circumnavigate challenges that arose, particularly around obtaining responses to consultation in a very short time frame.”

Telling us about her experience, Anna Craig said that one of the most rewarding experiences of the internship was interacting with charities and finding out about the amazing work they accomplished: “by getting to know such a diverse set of organisations I feel I can now adapt my communication style to fit any group,” Anna told us.

However, Anna admits that the internship posed challenges: “despite formulating our survey with the intention of using phone surveys, many organisations did not have the time to chat with us. However, we successfully adapted our strategy, making a new online survey which organisations could complete in their own time.”

Discussing the skills that they have gained, Ani said: “I have definitely gained valuable skills [from the internship]. Firstly, I learnt to work within a large organisation. I learnt to work and communicate within a team, while taking initiative and working independently. I had a chance to take part in brainstorming sessions and plan the project as a team. I also advanced my research and analytical skills. I learnt to prioritise tasks and make decisions.”

Both Anna and Ani emphasised that the internship experience improved their understanding of the heritage sector. For Anna, the internship gave her a whole new perspective — she told us that: “previously, I viewed [the sector] as a purely cultural and historical field. I now understand the integral role of heritage within local communities in creating a sense of unity within localities. Wells Cathedral has fuelled my passion to work within the heritage sector, and I look forward to seeing the results our research project brings.”

According to Ani, after this internship, they realised how much work there is in the heritage sector: “thanks to the format of the project, I actually had a chance to communicate with the local communities and I got an impressive insight into what their reality is. I also got an insight into the organism of the heritage sector, and I realised that engaging the local communities is the most important aspect of it.”

On reflection of the Wells Cathedral outreach and inclusion project and the internship experience, Jonathan Sawyer told us that, “throughout the work, the interns all showed great maturity and professionalism which resulted in a piece of work that will directly influence and contribute to a multi-million-pound project, and for which they should be very proud.”

To find out more about Wells Cathedral, see: and for more information about internship opportunities at the University of Exeter, see: