Updates from Exeter

Like the other teams, we launched our first version of Hidden Exeter in late autumn 2020, just as new lockdowns were beginning to be announced across Europe, limiting the potential for full-scale promotion of all our apps. So we kept things quite low key and kept working! In December 2020 Fabrizio Nevola and Kate Osborne presented the app as part of a series of online lectures promoted by the remarkable medieval priory at the heart of the city, St Nicholas and a video of that presentation can be viewed here

In spring 2021, with David Rosenthal, we tested using the Content Management System (CMS) for the app in teaching at the University of Exeter – developing a workshop activity in which students worked in groups to create itineraries, in so doing learning about placed-based interpretation and enjoying seeing and sharing their work in the app. We’re hoping to do this again and hope to offer an educational version of the Hidden Cities CMS to partners working with us in the future. 

This experience further fed into an Erasmus+ funded project running from May 2021, in which a group of student interns worked with museum professionals from our project partners, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), and the team at St Nicholas’ Priory to research and write a new walk that will be published in the Hidden Exeter app in January 2022. We’ll be doing a launch in due course. Also, in 2022, we’ll be working with RAMM to organise a popup exhibition on the High Street as part of the city’s post-pandemic cultural recovery plans. We’ll post news about this soon. 

There’s also another new walk just out – this time led by Joan Redwood, a baker’s widow. Joan is a real-life character who left a will and inventory of her household goods from which the basics of her life can be reconstructed. Set in 1586, her journey to eight historic sites sheds light on her life as a wife, mother and now a working widow.  Walking with Joan, users of the Hidden Cities app will encounter the city’s corn mills and a climb up the blood-soaked Butcher Row.  They’ll also take a sneaky look through a parlour window and pause for thought in a church porch.  Along the way, the walk uses rare snippets of information from Exeter’s archives to shed light on the way a selection of Elizabethan women negotiated their world.   

Over the course of the past few months we’ve done some good user testing events, including the Futures2021 weekend in Exeter (September 2021) and have enjoyed media coverage including in the Devon Life magazine and radio coverage on BBC Devon.  

As with all the cities – you can download Hidden Exeter from the AppStore and GooglePlay, and Apple users will find a map tour searching for ‘Exeter’ in the Maps app on their phone or device.

Fabrizio Nevola 


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