The art of the Exeter University Business School

I went to a talk the other day which was held in the Exeter University’s Business School ‘Building:One’. When I was an undergraduate there wasn’t a Business School at Exeter! The Business School was opened in 1998 and it is an impressive suite of buildings and even today 18 years after it opened it still looks new and fresh.

I really like the ‘World in our Hands’ sculpture on the piazza in front of Building: One

The sculpture neatly ties in with the School’s top MBA (Masters in Business Administration) which is entitled the ‘One Planet MBA‘ about which the University says ‘The One Planet MBA equips you to harness innovative business thinking and new business models that can deliver organisational growth whilst addressing global economic, social, environmental and technological challenges.’

I did my MBA at the Open University (whilst I was working for the National Trust) at about the same time the Exeter University Business School was getting going and whilst that was a very good experience and course it wasn’t so strong environmental and social issues.

A silver globe by the entrance of Building: One which is constantly fed with a stream of water – life on our planet is inextricably linked with water

Kurt Jackson – revisiting Turner at the RAMM

Kurt Jackson is a contemporary British artist who lives on Cornwall. He has visited 12 locations in Devon and Cornwall where JMW Turner worked in the 19th century. He has then painted his depictions of the places where Turner went in an attempt to explore the changes and bring in an ‘environmental slant’.

His paintings along with the Turner works are currently part of an exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter.

Some more background detail

Jackson’s depiction of the source of the Tamar and the Torridge
‘fog, rain and bog’

Through the trees to Okehampton Castle behind

Exeter Quay

I really enjoyed the exhibition and will be going back again – it runs at the RAMM until the 4th December – entry is free

The Rhinos of Exeter

I spent much of Thursday walking around Exeter looking out for the Rhinos! It is a modern art project highlighting the plight of rhinos in the wild run by Wild in Art, Torbay Council, Exeter City Council and Paignton Zoo and sponsored by Stagecoach South West. It follows on from a similar project about gorillas held in 2013 – see here. For more details about the Great Big Rhino Trail see here. The project is being hosted in Exeter and Torbay – in total there are 40 full size rhinos and 53 baby ones. Here is a selection of photos of the ones we found in Exeter.

Rhinos 45
Targeted – outside Exeter St Davids Station

Rhinos 18
Paladin – Exeter Central Station

Rhinos 16
This is Rocking Rhino at Exeter’s Underground Passages. A nice personal story attached to this one. I am a member of the Devon and Exeter Squash Club – the artwork on this rhino was designed by 8 year old Harry Lings, whose father Adam is the owner of the Squash Club. The painting of the design was done by Cat Brewer, a graphic designer and member of the Squash Club!

Rhinos 5
Dino Rhino outside Exeter Cathedral

Rhinos 6
Charge on Fore Street – I really hope rhinos fare better than poor BHS has

Rhinos 2Detail from Aquamarhino in Princesshay – free swimming fish

Rhinos 3
On the other side – netted …..

Rhinos 8
Symbiosis also in Princesshay

Rhinos 11
Cath – representing Exeter Cathedral in Southernhay Gardens

Rhinos 14
Finding Faru also in Southernhay Gardens

Rhinos 44
Hope at Exeter Quay

Rhinos 40
Horn detail of All Creatures Great and Small in Harlequin’s Shopping Centre

Rhinos 32
Precious in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Rhinos 20
Castle Siege at Exeter Castle – perhaps my favourite – I love all the detail on it

Rhinos 22
Not everyone likes being under siege

Rhinos 31
Unfortunately someone vandalised this one – RhinoBeta3107 – the moving rhino currently outside Exeter Library

Rhinos 28Maximus outside Exeter Library

Rhinos 41Glimpses in the Guildhall Shopping Centre

Rhinos 1

Finally a Flickr album of all my rhino pictures

A great way to see the City of Exeter and a great way to highlight rhino issues and conservation.

The project runs in Exeter and Torbay until the 9th October.


19240 Shrouds of the Somme

The art installation in the grounds of Northernhay Gardens in Exeter which is remembering the 19240 Allied Servicemen who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago is both an amazing and a deeply sobering experience. It runs until the Thursday 7th July – it is not be missed if you live reasonably local to Exeter. You can find out more details about the project and the artist Rob Heard by visiting this website. Here are some photographs I took yesterday afternoon.

19240 Somme 1

19240 Somme 2

19240 Somme 3

19240 Somme 6

19240 Somme 4

19240 Somme 5

19240 Somme 7

19240 Somme 8
Double click this image to enlarge

During my visit there was a retired Serviceman reading out the names of those who were killed along with their ranks and Regiments.


What do these books all have in common?

The answer I am looking for is NOT that they are all nature / wildlife books ….

Carry Ackroyd 1
The excellent British Wildlife series

Carry Ackroyd 2
Four recent books including the just published Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss which I have just started reading

Tweet of the day
Tweet of the Day which I often feature in this blog – see here and here for example

Got it?

Nature's powersAll the books feature the art work of Carry Akroyd – the very talented and successful artist who lives in Northamptonshire. I have known Carry for many years (I used to live and work in Northamptonshire for the Wildlife Trust where we first met).

Wicken Fen
I was even lucky enough to be given one of her paintings when I left the National Trust at Wicken Fen and moved back to Devon.

Check out her website here

Her paintings and prints capture the essence of our wildlife and make it more likely that more of us will want to conserve it

Bruce Munro at Waddesdon

Our trip to see other Christmas / Winter visitor attractions took us to  Waddesdon Manor which we manage in partnership with the Rothschild Foundation. In addition to their Christmas ‘offer’ (more later) they are also hosting an installation exhibition by the British artist Bruce Munro. It now runs until the 4th Janaury 2015.

Inside the Manor House – Snow Code

Ferryman’s crossing – by the Aviary

Eden blooms 1Eden Blooms

Eden blooms 2 Eden Blooms 2

Moon harvestMoon Harvest

Good seedGood seed

Field of lightField of Light

Gathering of the ClansGathering of the Clans


If you are thinking of going to Waddesdon Manor and / or the Bruce Munro – please check the Waddesdon website – you might find it is sold out / fully booked even for NT members ….

Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace

I’ve been away for a couple of days with my fellow NT Devon General Managers on a fact finding trip to see how other properties and organisations attract visitors, present their places and provide a Christmas offer. We visited four places – 2 NT and 2 non NT. This blog is about the Ai Weiwei exhibition that is being hosted at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. A later blog will feature the Christmas offers we visited at Killerton, Tyntesfield and Waddesdon. Lets see what we do after our visit – there are some brilliant Christmas offers around and lots of our places make an excellent backdrop to help people enjoy and celebrate Christmas in their own ways.

BlenheimThe amazing entrance to Blenheim Palace – the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the accidental birth place of Winston Churchill

Ai Weiwei has a large exhibition at Blenheim running until the 14th December – for more details see here. I really like to see the amazing spaces that so many large mansions / houses can offer as a location for art exhibitions – they enrich the visit enabling people to get two things for the price of one! I often blog about such exhibitions e.g. Hestercombe – see here and Peter Randall Page at Whiddon Deer Park – see here.

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist currently under house arrest in Beijing. He first came to my attention a few years ago when he exhibited ‘Sunflower seeds’ at the Tate Modern. The Blenheim exhibition contains dozens of pieces of his work. Here are a few examples.

ChandelierThe huge chandelier in the main entrance

Han Dynasty Vase with Coca Cola logoA replica Han Dynasty vase ….


He XieHe Xie – a couple of thousand porcelain crabs – in Chinese ‘crab’ also means freedom

Chinese zodiac symbols CockerelOne of the 12 Chinese zodiac symbols in bronze plated with gold

BubbleAn outdoor installation – Bubbles

Bowl of pearlsA bowl of pearls – mimicing a bowl of rice

Divina PropoerDivina Proportione in front of a Christmas tree

WeiWeiThe man himself

Finch Foundry’s craft fair

Yesterday saw the Craft Fair at Finch Foundry – the weather was unbelievable – more beach than Dartmoor! There were about a dozen stalls offering a range of things from wine through food, woollen goods and crafts.

FF Craft stallAll the stalls on the Finch green

HoopoeInside were the works of two artists – here is Hoopoes by Diane Bailey

HareAnd here is a hare by Marielle Ebner-Rijke

MartynThe Foundry was also open – here is Martyn giving a demonstration

FoundryGarden looked fantastic in the sunshine

BottleAnd sometime later at home …. the sun set on the bottle of Eastcott sparkling wine I bought earlier ……


Coleton Fishacre – what a gem

Went to Coleton Fishacre yesterday for the first time. What a gem of a property. Every year Lydford Gorge (one of the properties I am responsible for) and Coleton Fishacre compete for which place gives the public most enjoyment in the National Trust’s visitor survey. Both places score very highly and both come within the top 5 nationally – I have often wondered what it was that made Coleton Fishacre so special – now I know.

A lovely house in a beautiful location and not a all pretentious with a simply fabulous Arts and Crafts’ garden. If you haven’t been I really recommend a visit – it is very close to Brixham and the another NT property – Greenway.

I took loads of photographs – you can see the best ones in my photo album here.

Coleton FA 45The house looking across the upper garden

Coleton FA 43The start of the water feature

Coleton FA 57A motif near the house

Coleton FA 36A sphinx

Coleton FA 6A pattern on a bedstread

My favourite art gallery

Went to the Peggy Guggenheim modern art gallery when I was in Venice – in my view it is the best collection of modern art I have ever seen. Fabulous place – really recommend – here are a few terrible photos.








Man Ray

Man Ray













A truly brilliant gallery with most of the top artists – also a great catalogue to accompany the art. A must visit place.

Final observation – it appears to really help if your surname begins with an M but this is not essential.