Ginkgo was appointed by East Devon District Council to develop a cultural strategy to encourage greater public use of the area between the city of Exeter and the Estuary for recreation and as a community resource. The project is linked to the £30m flood defence improvements being undertaken in Exeter between 2015 and 2017 over a 6-mile area between Cowley Bridge and Countess Wear.
Research has included discussions with the Countryside Ranger, local businesses, Devon Wildlife Trust, Exe Estuary Management, Devon Youth Service, University of Exeter, Spacex Gallery, the British Dragonfly Society, Active Devon and the sustainable transport officer at Devon County Council. Ginkgo commissioned local curator Matt Burrows at Exeter Phoenix to commission an emerging local artist (Nick Davies) to undertake an action research residency to inform the art plan.
A day event, ‘Testing the Water’ was held in September 2015 to bring together people to discuss and develop thinking about what the park could be to provide creative grounding for further project development.
A creative programme has now been developed focusing on three themes: enriching biodiversity, play and shelter.
The strategy has been funded by Arts Council England and the Environment Agency and is steered by an advisory group including officers and councillors from Exeter City Council, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, Exeter Canal and Quay Trust, Exeter Cultural Partnership and the Environment Agency.