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'Re-boot'  Uncovering Exeter’s layers of History

The Re-boot project was inspired by the tragic fire at The Royal Clarence Hotel in October 2016. The digital art project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and designed by Daisi, to offer a creative and exciting way for local children and young people to work with 4 artists and a poet to respond to the historical buildings of Exeter. 

As one of the Re-Boot artists I was particularly interested in the history of numbers 41 and 42 on the High Street. Built in 1564, and now Laura Ashley, they were both Apothecaries and then Chemists for most of the 300 years between 1660 and 1974. Forerunners of our more scientific pharmacists and doctors, Apothecaries tried many creative means to heal dis-eases of every kind, by both medicinal, magical and spiritual means. 

Inspired by medieval illuminated manuscripts, in my 'Re-Boot' workshops with St Luke’s Science and Sports College, Clyst St Mary Primary School, The Pelican Project, and the Atkinson Home, we created the 3 volumes of the ‘Apothecarists Recipe Book’. All the participants imagined possible Apothecarists healing recipes, and the fantastical recipe book pages were created with a combination of painting, drawing and collage. Each recipe was further illustrated by the digital animations below.

The Apothecarists Recipe Book 

Volume 1- The Magical

Digital Animations by Year 6 Students

at Clyst St Mary Primary School, Exeter, Devon

The Apothecarist's Recipe Book 

Volume II - The Fantastical


iMovie Digital Animations

by young people of the 'Pelican Project' Exeter, Devon

The Apothecarist's Recipe Book 

Volume III - The Medicinal

Digital Animation by Year 9 Students

at St Luke's Science and Sports College, Exeter, Devon

I also ran drop-in workshops at Exeter Cathedral and St Nicholas’s Priory and with St Jame's Brownies, creating Take-Away Healing Amulets. Participants created little boxes and wishing scrolls containing their own magical and healing wishes.


The whole project culminated in October 2018 with an exhibition at St Stephens Church on Exeter High Street, and an interactive augmented reality display in the windows in Paris Street, Princess Hay, Exeter, created by artist Cara Roxanne using elements of all the young people’s artwork to create an Apothecary and a street scene inspired by the Cathedral yard. Passers-by could access the animations through trigger points in the scene using the HP Reveal app on their mobile phones.

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