What is important to our city’s different communities? What’s missing, and what do they want to see more of? Where do they feel unseen and unheard? And how can we work together to make culture in Exeter more interesting, relevant, representative, accessible and appealing to anyone who lives here?
Charting a direction, together
In 2021, we began a series of creative conversations with some of our city’s cultural and heritage communities, looking for answers to these questions.
In November that year, we gathered with members of Exeter and Devon’s Hindu, Polish and Windrush communities. Supported by Devon Diversity Consultants, we spent two fantastic days together, exploring what culture means to us all and dreaming up ideas for future projects.
Spending time at the Northcott as well as the Barnfield theatre buildings, we talked, laughed, played games, told stories, shared elements of our cultural heritage and kindled some brilliant ideas for future collaborations.
Local visual artist Monic Shanta Brown joined us on our journey, encapsulating our thoughts and ideas in a stunning visual process map and a participatory performance piece. (We also, of course, ate a lot, courtesy of catering from the superb local Dinosaur Café.)
From these conversations, the Encompass group decided to create their own cultural festival to celebrate Devon’s Caribbean, Hindu and Polish communities, called The Story of Us.
The Story of Us
Nearly a thousand people from across the South West came together in September to explore the creative and cultural connections between Devon’s Caribbean, Hindu and Polish communities as well as what makes them unique.
From a moving poetry recital and a lively Garba dance workshop opening the day through to a late afternoon of mesmerising contemporary sitar and poignant Polish choir, festival co-creators Encompass, a group made up from members of Devon’s Caribbean, Hindu and Polish communities, worked exceptionally hard to deliver an enlightening and entertaining programme that brought to life heritages and histories from throughout the county for everyone to experience.
Explore the day
Check out poems and stories told by Encompass
We filmed members of the Encompass group reciting their favourite poems as well as telling poems and stories they created themselves.Watch Now
The Story of Us was realised in creative partnership with South West-based theatre company Beyond Face with project guidance from Sandhya Dave of Devon Diversity Consultants.Full List of Thanks
We welcome new members!
If you belong to one of the communities we are working with for this project (Hindu, Polish or Windrush) and are interested in getting involved (or know someone who might be), please contact our Projects & Participation team.Email Us