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How our social enterprise has been supported!

Art and Energy are grateful for all the support we’ve been given over the last twelve months!

 Art and Energy has received all sorts of support advice and good will and it has made a huge difference to out work and what we’ve been able to do.

 

 

In particular we’ve been grateful for support from:

  • Our team, our board and the wonderful volunteers who work with us and without whom we wouldn’t exist!
  • Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs  & The Enhance Social Enterprise Network supported by ERDF – who have given us advice and training in this first year as a CIC
  • UnLtd – for helping us learn new skills and develop our social enterprise
  • The Solar Group at The University of Exeter in Penryn – who help us with testing and help us understand the tech better
  • The Fab Lab in Plymouth – who are helping us develop new ways of fabricating our solar artworks
  • Exeter Community Energy – for helping us get hold of kit to run our workshops
  • LOF Solar – who supply our colour solar cells
  • LaserCutZ – who cut our solar cells
  • Plymouth Energy Community – for helping us develop our work in Plymouth
  • Kaleider for generously support and hosting us at their studios
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Chris Moss from Mav3erick helps us think about our brand

This week, we’ve been having Christmas dos in various places and catch up with people who’ve made our first year developing Art and Energy so rewarding and exciting.

We’ve also been thinking about next year and planning what to do and how to do it. 

Art and Energy has been the name we’ve been using throughout 2018 and because we’ll be doing more public-facing work in the coming year, we wanted to check in with our friends to see whether or not this is the name we should continue to use in the future.

We like Art and Energy – because it sort of says what we’re about, but a fair few people have said that it’s been difficult to find us online. There are a number of ways to sort that out – not least, doing some SEO work – but, it may be that we should have a new/different name.

What do you think? 

Some questions we’re thinking about are:

  • What words do we associate with Art and Energy?
  • If Art and Energy was an animal, plant, person, place, vehicle what would we be and why?
  • What are our values?
Thank you so much to Chris Moss, Drew Ellis, Jenny Ayrton, Amy Shelton, Ellen Rodger, Simon Uden, Clare Bryden and Ibi Feher for coming along and helping us to think about these things.
 
Photo credit: Ibi Feher Photography

This year so far been rather wild!

At the beginning of the year, Naomi and I had an idea – more or less scrawled out on a hodge-podge powerpoint and it felt really amazing to have the support an validation that came from Exeter City Futures Velocities Programme to help us develop from that starting point.

Over the course of the year, we 

We’ve told the story of what we’re trying to do all over the place and at one lucky event – The Like Minds festival with support from Set Squared, we met Chris Moss who generously offered to help us think about our branding options and the next steps for our future hence this blog post and this gathering.

Over the coming year, we’re looking forward to exhibiting our first solar panel artworks at events and places across the UK and we’ll announce the dates in the early part of 2019.

We’re also  planning to deliver a number of ‘Make Your Own Solar Panel Artwork’ workshops which we’ll share the dates for too.

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Art and Energy awarded RSA Catalyst funding

The RSA has been at the forefront of social change for over 260 years, so it is a huge honour and also ridiculously exciting to have been awarded a seed grant from the Catalyst programme.

Over this Autumn, this support from The RSA’s Catalyst fund will help us to work with Ian Hankey from Plymouth’s Fab Lab and Katie Shanks from the Renewable Energy Department at the University of Exeter to test a variety of etching processes that will hopefully lead to the production of the first small solar panel artworks made in the UK.

“The panel felt that this was an interesting project with an innovative approach to design, and it aligned with the RSA and its commitment to design. The panel were excited to invest in this stage of research to catalyse this idea to the next level.” Review Panel

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Fab Lab Plymouth set to support Art and Energy through EU programme

We’re being supported by Fab Lab Plymouth through The Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab (an ERDF project) to work with master glass maker and fab lab technician Ian Hankey to explore some of the technical challenges of making solar artworks.

Over the next 6 months, we’ll be exploring the potential to etch and overlay PV surfaces, combine different colour cells, metalise cells in new ways and use concentrators. This will lead to the display of works and techniques along with a how to manual for crafts people.

We are extraordinarily grateful for this invaluable support and we hope will result in useful learning that we’ll be able to share with energy managers, developers and creatives who are interested in pioneering new works with this medium.

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School of Social Entrepreneurs supporting Art and Energy

School for Social Entrepreneurs brings together people who want to change things for the better. People tackling urgent issues like poverty, education, inequality, health, climate change and much more.

Following a rigorous application and 2 stage interview process, we were absolutely delighted to be accepted on to one of SSE’s courses and join the fellows network of incredible pioneers across the world working towards fixing some of society’s problems.

Art and Energy is still such a new company and we have so much to learn that we are really grateful to Lloyds and Big Lottery for supporting SSE to deliver this support.

We will start meeting up for training and peer support activities in September this year and the course will run for a year helping us to face all the challenges that come with being a start-up and helping us achieve our vision for city regions to have beautiful green technology that generates energy and also represents the unique culture of the place and designers working with solar PV to enhance our spaces with sustainable energy installations that local people want to live with.

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Start-up support from Velocities

Naomi Wright and Chloe Uden Picture by Matt Austin
Exeter Velocities Logo

Art and Energy are delighted to announce that we’ve been selected to participate in Exeter City Futures prestigious Velocities programme to support new ideas.

Exeter Velocities is a start-up accelerator offering support and funding for entrepreneurs with ideas to improve mobility and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It does this through three programmes that focus on supporting the development of a start-up as it moves from idea to impact – Nurture, Advance, and Immersion.

 

Each year, the Velocities programme aims to help up to 30 start-ups who are developing innovative solutions to the way we travel and power our lives for the better.

By providing these businesses with advice, mentoring and funding, they aim to generate positive social impact for Exeter and its surrounding areas. Exeter has specific challenges with transport and air quality which are common to major conurbations around the globe.

By working with the City of Exeter, start-ups can access a real-word testbed for ideas and solutions and measure their positive impact.

Exeter City Futures Velocities programme

Our initial proposal to the Velocities programme was to create: “A beautiful low carbon energy system that supports our journey to energy literacy and increases the well-being of all.”

So, over the next 15 weeks, Art and Energy will be working hard to test and refine our ideas, to define what we’re doing, what out value proposition is, and figure out how to achieve our goal.

“In October 2017, it occurred to me that solar panels could do so much more for us that just generate energy!”

“With new developments in the technology, we can now include colour, shape and line in our panels.”

“This means that we can create art; and if we can create a new medium for artists of the future, perhaps solar panels will be able to reflect our diverse communities and cultural identities.” 

Chloe Uden, Founder of Art and Energy

Chloe Uden Photo by Matt Austin