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Art and Energy at the Smart Energy Marketplace

A huge Thank you to Regen and their current EU programme ZebCat which allowed our little start-up to have an exhibition at the prestigious Smart Energy Marketplace this June.

Our stand was wonderfully busy all day as we introduced people from the energy sector to the potential aesthetic versatility of materials they know and love as well as to a host of projects by other magnificent artists from around the world.

Attended by over 500 leading companies from across the clean energy and built environment sectors. Now in its eighth year, the event has evolved to provide a platform for industry experts to focus on the energy system as a whole, including energy efficiency, the gas network, electricity systems and disruptive new technologies such as energy storage and electric vehicle infrastructure. The exhibition featured leading businesses, developers, buyers, supply chains companies, professional services and communities. The exhibition was a really vibrant place for networking and doing business and we look forward to continuing conversations with new Art and Energy friends over the coming year.

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Art and energy outdoors

Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC) is pioneering an renewable energy experiential learning programme for school children. 

This year Art and Energy delivered a workshop for children from St Chistopher’s School.

Each child was invited to explore the Archimedes Screw Hyrdo plant at Totnes Weir and then challenged to make their own water wheels using only some string, some secateurs and anything they could find on the river bank.

“Art and Energy ran a brilliant water wheel workshop as part of Tresoc’s Renewable Energy Experiential Learning Programme with St Christopher’s school. It was a perfect way to creatively experiment with water, energy, and other materials. The children really enjoyed themselves.” Sally Murrall-Smith, TRESOC

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Dan Arnold imagines a butterfly car port

Hiya Dan!

Welcome to the Art and Energy team, can you tell us about you and your work?

Hello! Thank you very much, what an amazing thing to be part of!

I’m an artist and collaborator currently based in Penryn, Cornwall. My practice and research has taken me all over the world and I continue to seek inspiration from the natural processes that surround us and the collaborations that occur within the interconnected web.

My practice lies at the ever changing membrane between art and science and the processes that we find ourselves part of.

I make large scale sculptures and installations, films, animations and murals increasingly through a process of collaboration.

I’ve worked with NGOs, charities, Arts Council England, Glastonbury, schools, universities, planetariums and museums around the world. 

So, you’ve spent the last week with us speaking to people in Exeter about Art and Energy and developing ideas for projects that people in Exeter are interested in.

You were focusing on developing an idea for a solar carport. Can you tell us about it?

Sweet, yeah!

It’s been great talking to people in Exeter over that week. It’s super important that any project involves the local community otherwise there’s a high risk of alienating people or producing something that has no relevance to them.


That’s not what art is for, its another language and potentially powerful tool for change, that should be used to communicate and bring ideas together rather than sit on an overly intellectualised pedestal and only let the elite in.

Yeah, so solar car ports. Rad.

For me it’s important that large pieces of artwork also have a functionality about them – that they’re layered rather than just pretty (or ugly).


We’ve talked about the cabbage white butterfly and its super rad wings.

This led to the idea of using the butterfly’s chrysalis as a starting point for a from for the carport.

A chrysalis is a transitional object by nature and I like that; designing a functioning sculpture that converts energy and provides a space for ideas to grow (as well as other species).


A carport also needs to function when it is not charging a car, it’s a waste of resources for anything not to be used as much as possible.

It could also provide a meeting point for people, somewhere to interact and also charge phones etc, a space for ideas.

Part of the roof and the underside of the structure could also provide habitats for a struggling insect population and parts of the roof could be living.

The whole space an ecosystem and habitat for several species including ourselves as well as functioning as a source of power for the objects we use.

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Open doors at 6 Paris Street, Exeter

We’d like to invite you to help us launch our new venture: Art and Energy.

Art and Energy are reinventing solar photovoltaics as an art material for the future.

At the moment solar panels are making our world look like something out of minecraft. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

 Art and Energy are working with a team of partners and experts to create custom solar panels that can incorporate art.

We’re holding a week long event at 6 Paris Street in Princesshay, Exeter on 14 – 19 May

We hope you’ll come along to:

  • See what can be done!
  • Get creative with some materials
  • Help us decide what sort of art and energy project to develop in Exeter
  • Get free energy advice from Exeter Community Energy


We will be open:

Monday 14th May  – Saturday 19th May

10am – 3pm each day

Just pop in or come to a special activity

10:30 – 12:00 – Energy Walk around the city every day

12:00 – 2:00 – Free energy advice from Exeter Community Energy

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Looking for ways to make solar cells more beautiful…

In the knowledge that in order to make works of art out of solar pv we need to test the materials – what colours can we find?  How do we cut it? How do we use it with light concentrators for most affect.

 This journey of discovery is exciting and interesting.  We are learning so much!!

On a visit to GB sol to find out how they make bespoke solar panels we found a wide array of colours and finishes.  These are not often required for normal projects, but they will be great for beautiful ones.

The Fablab in Exeter library has been fab indeed and we have been cutting solar cells  with some success – but straight lines work better than curves.

A visit to lasercutz in Honiton has lead to finding a different laser cutter: A pulsed fibre Galvo laser cutter will soon be in action cutting some curves for us.  We’ll show you our results soon.

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Visit us at Smart Energy Marketplace

Art and Energy will have a stand at Regen’s Smart Energy Marketplace in Sandy Park, Exeter this year.

Please come along to our stand between 10 and 4 on the 19th June 2018.

If you are happy to answer some questions for us, we can even get you a free ticket to the event!

Smart Energy Marketplace is the largest smart and renewable energy event in the south-west, taking place on 19 June at Sandy Park Exeter and attended by over 500 leading companies from across the clean energy and built environment sectors.

Now in its eighth year, the event has evolved to provide the perfect platform for industry experts to focus on the energy system as a whole, including energy efficiency, the gas network, electricity systems and disruptive new technologies such as energy storage and electric vehicle infrastructure.

So of course, we’ll be there talking about re-imagining solar PV as an art material for the future and exploring ways that the energy industry can get involved.


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Welcoming Toni Hankinson


We are really happy to be joined by creative producer Toni Hankinson who is working with us and partners Kaleider to develop a project to explore the questions:

To what extent people can learn about energy through creativity and sharing?

Can people produce beautiful eco-reminders that they want to live with?

Through a creative lampshade making workshop, in which the images created on the lampshades illustrate the personal energy stories of each individual participant. Participants will then take their lampshades home, monuments to the learning that has occurred able to act as eco-reminders for the future.


We asked Toni to share a bit about herself;

“After completing a Fine Art degree in Lincoln I worked as a Producer for digital art festival; it opened me up to the possibilities of cross industry collaboration with a programme of incredibly engaging, interactive art work. Excited by this I continued working as a Producer for several years, working across the cultural sector on a variety of projects. I took a job with an energy company to pay some bills, and soon found myself engaged in the huge changes in the happening across the industry; 3 years later I was working full time on the companies renewable energy scheme. I was passionate about energy but, missing my creative work, I embarked upon a Masters degree in Creative Producing. Through this I found a way to combine my creative skill set with my passion for energy and sustainability.”


 Can you tell us about your course at The University of the West of England?

Well, It’s delivered in collaboration with Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, the Creative Producing Masters degree and has a unique focus on becoming a producer, specialising in the growing market for creative experimental technology innovation.