Fun Palace pop-up

Fun Palaces is a movement campaigning for culture by, for and with all – with a firm belief that community belongs at the core of all culture – and an annual weekend of events, where arts, crafts, science, tech and digital are a catalyst for community engagement and full participation for everyone, from the grassroots up.

Fun Palaces are made by local people for their own communities, bringing together arts and sciences, crafts, tech and digital, free and fun, linked by the the Fun Palace network – Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist.”

In 2016, Exeter Library got on board late on, and at short notice organised a fun weekend of art and science related activities. We got involved with Particulart on the Saturday. The weekend mostly attracted children, and we swung the earth a lot and made carbon dioxide pompoms. Sadly I don’t have many photographs, only those @ExeterLibrary tweeted.

Popping up in an allotment shed

Clare was at the Greenbelt Festival over the August bank holiday. As part of a fantastic weekend, she gave a Pecha Kucha talk about her art work, and “Particulart: Up in the Air” popped up in the Allotment Gallery.

There was visual art dotted around the site at Boughton House near Kettering, including three venues in shed down by the lake: the Garden, Allotment, and Potager Galleries. The Allotment Gallery hosted a series of installations from different artists over the weekend. Particulart took the 12-4pm slot on the Sunday.

Clare had a series of great conversations across the ages and genders, from small children attracted by the inflatable globe and hanging molecules that could be swung, to young people interested in data and/or science; from knitters gaining new ideas for how they can use their craft in activism, to a mechanical engineer thinking about communicating data and information, and a psychotherapist pondering the benefits to mental health of knitting and making generally.

Half way through, she was approached by a woman from Radio 4 who asked her whether she would record some of the Daily Service for Wednesday, part of a special week of programmes from Greenbelt. So her voice can be heard reading some prayers halfway through “A Different Type of Power: The Power of Art”.

The mechanical engineer provided one of her favourite quotes: “When I read the board outside, I had no idea just how amazingly cool this was!” Her other favourite quote was a throw-away line from a couple of women as they went on to their next thing: “I love Greenbelt!” Presumably because Greenbelt is the sort of space where they can happen upon stuff like bonkers installations involving knitting, chemistry, contemplation, and gentle protest. Clare loves Greenbelt too!

Here are some photos of the shed, with thanks to Sue Holden.

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The Allotment Gallery at Greenbelt, down by the lake at Boughton House.

Attack of the killer carbon dioxide molecule!

What hangs inside and lies beneath.

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“Exhausted” photos

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"Exhausted" appeared as part of an exhibition of electric cars...

...called "Test Drive the Future", part of Oxford Festival of the Arts and Low Carbon Oxford Week.

It highlighted the issue of poor air quality in cities...

... caused by fumes from petrol and diesel vehicles.

Vehicle emissions include (from L-R): nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon (aka particulate matter), and carbon monoxide.

The "Up in the Air" pop-up put in a appearance too, to highlight the need to think about how to source that electricity.

We made pompoms...

...and more pompoms!

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Thanks to Jenny Carr from Oxford City Council for photos 2,4,7.

“Greenhouse Effect” photos

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Amazing knitting of greenhouse gases from Jacqui...

...hung in a greenhouse to simulate the Earth's atmosphere and the greenhouse effect.

The weather was a bit overcast, but it was warmer inside the greenhouse than out.

The greenhouse was set up in Bury Knowle Park in Headington, Oxford as part of Low Carbon Oxford Week.

It was also World-wide Knit in Public Day, so we had some materials for DIY carbon dioxide.

Children could make pompoms and hang them in the greenhouse to illustrate global emissions and increasing concentrations in the atmosphere.

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Popping up at TEDxExeter with ideas worth spreading

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TEDxExeter - Set-up in the Great Hall

Knit-your-own carbon dioxide

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Clare hand-waving at a group of school children
Photo: Sue Holden

Talking climate change and flood risk
Photo: Sue Holden

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On 15 April, Clare was honoured to be able to show Particulart at TEDxExeter.

For those who haven’t come across the TED talks phenomenon yet, do check out TED.com.  TED is dedicated to ideas worth spreading. It started as an annual conference, but is now much more. TEDx is a programme of local, self-organized, independent events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

TEDxExeter has been held each year since 2012. In 2016 the theme was “Dreams to Reality”, and it featured a wide range of wonderful speakers. Danny Dorling showed us how different ways of mapping the world can communicate many different hopeful realities. Alan Smith, data visualisation editor at the Financial Times, gave a really engaging talk about statistics are about Us – the community not the individual – and how they can highlight gaps in our understanding of the world, our country, and even our local area. TEDx events also show a few TED talks as part of the programme. Among others, we got Al Gore on “The case for optimism on climate change”. A nice lot of Particulart-relevant material!

The main focus of the day is on the speakers and performers, but there are generous breaks for coffee, lunch and tea, to enable speakers, performers, delegates, sponsors, stall holders, team, and volunteers to mingle and connect. Particulart was one of many stalls in the break-out areas. Others included sponsor stalls, the FabLab hosted in Exeter Library, the Met Office Informatics Lab, and an exhibition of prints from Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.

Clare had some great conversations during the day, especially with many of the school children and young people. She also took the opportunity to talk about her new artwork about flood risk, which was of particular interest to a group from Route 39 Academy in Clovelly, with memories of flooding on the north coast of Devon in recent years.

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The Great Hall during the breaks; we’re over on the right of the image
Photo: Tim Pestridge

Pop-up in Exeter Cathedral

Holy Ground happens once a month in Exeter Cathedral, usually on the second Sunday. The format is a service of Holy Eucharist at 7pm, followed by refreshments, then from about 8pm there is a choice between a silent meditation and a talk or panel discussion.

The evenings very often engage in social issues, which is why this December it was moved to the first Sunday to coincide with the Paris climate negotiations, and why the “Up in the Air” pop-up made a special appearance.

The service started by celebrating the beauty of creation, but then highlighted our culpability in destroying much of the Earth we are supposed to cherish. The congregation had the opportunity to make a response, following footsteps around the Cathedral, considering our own carbon footprint, and engaging with the pop-up.

In the second part of the evening, Martyn Goss from the Diocese of Exeter and European Christian Environmental Network spoke about ecotheology and climate change. We had a live Skype link to a colleague of his on the ground in Paris who could give us a flavour of the negotiations.

It was a privilege to be part of it. Here are a few photos by Clare and Sara Traynor.

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Two 'suns' shining above the pop-up at the far end of the Cathedral

The view from the Lady Chapel

Engaging with the pop-up during the Holy Ground service

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Video installation in Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral is hosting an “Up in the Air” video installation for the duration of the Paris climate negotiations. I’m proud that it is part of ArtCOP21, the global climate art festival:

Climate change is often seen through a policy or scientific lens, and solutions are discussed only in political offices, boardrooms and negotiating halls. ArtCop21 launched ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris, aims to challenge those tropes. Climate is culture. What is required is the active engagement of citizens worldwide in the urgency, value and opportunities of a transition away from fossil fuels and the embracing of a greener, sustainable future economy.

There will also be an appearance of the “Up in the Air” pop-up at the Cathedral’s monthly Holy Ground service at 7pm on 6 December.

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Photos – Pop-up at the Green Fair

A few pictures I’ve gleaned of the pop-up at the Exeter Green Fair on 5th September.

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Clare talking about something

Stepping inside the 3D graph!

Making pompoms at the back

This photo was taken by the Express and Echo

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Photos – Knit your own carbon dioxide workshop

Diana helped with a workshop mid-exhibition. We had a great time learning a few new knitting stitches and techniques, and though we didn’t finish a whole knitted carbon dioxide molecule, we did manage to make one out of pompoms!

The conversation flowed over a whole range of ideas and issues. Chloe Uden from RegenSW told us about the SWIMBY musical about the Transition movement. It’s going to feature someone knitting in a corner throughout!

Composer Emma Welton brought some hi-tech equipment to record the sound of knitting. Her interest is also in energy generation, so she has been recording wind turbines, hydro-electricity, and large-scale power stations. Looking forward to hearing what she creates out of it all.

Photos by Clive Chilvers.

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Mid-exhibition workshop in the gallery itself.

Knit your own carbon dioxide - a tangle of black and red yarn, needles and patterns.

Following the pattern for atoms. You can download your own patterns for atoms, bonds and moecules on this website.

Oxygen atom taking shape.

Clare knotting.

We didn't manage to finish a whole knitted carbon dioxide, but we did make a pompom!

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