June 2023

Bare Life is a multi-site contemporary art project, taking place in art venues, empty shop spaces and public contexts around Exeter city centre from 16-25 June 2023.

Initiated by students on the MA Curation course at University of Exeter, the aim is to reflect upon the harsh cultural climate we find ourselves in, post-pandemic, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, with war in Ukraine, a hostile environment for migrants, the NHS in meltdown, widespread industrial action and a growing alienation amongst young people from the workplace and consumer culture. 

With a sub-title of ‘art despite everything’, each of the five curatorial projects in Bare Life engages with a different aspect of this contemporary moment in a spirit of optimism and solidarity, placing an emphasis on giving a voice to artists. The aim is to provide a positive and mutually supportive platform, working in collaboration with local communities and young people to envisage a better future.

Art Despite Everything

16—25 June 2023

University of Exeter
MA Curation

Bare Life


P s cant play 3 Karine


Karine Kachatryan


Imogen Patel

Imogen Patel: Sense of Belonging

Sense of Belonging brings together the works of Imogen Patel, a multidisciplinary artist whose practice navigates the complexities and tensions surrounding her South Asian identity within the dynamic landscape of contemporary, post-colonial Britain. 

Francesca Rubke What is important to you when you die copy 2022


Binjie Wang


Fiona Anderson, Lauren Bill, Kirsty Cracknell, Jami Dzharova, Holly Foster, Beatrice Ogbekhiulu, Ella Pammenter, Francesca Rubke, Lily Wolter, + anonymous

The Art of Nursing

The Art of Nursing project presents the artwork of ten student nurses from the University of Exeter's Academy of Nursing programme. 

Promised Land 004 Eleanor


Eleanor Lionel


Damilola Lemomu

Transient Lives

Transient Lives is a project consisting of a video installation of the film Promised Land by Damilola Lemomu and an ‘in conversation’ session with the artist at Bookbag about issues of immigration and integration.

AVM1 Guolin


Guolin Qin


Bebe Ashley, Matta Dart, Ellie Niblock, James Purvis, Same Year

Art Vending Machine

The Art Vending Machine (AVM) is a curatorial project run by Art Work Exeter, dispensing packet sized art created by local and international artists. Located at the Exeter Phoenix the AVM is stocked with zines, micro-ceramics, carvings and digital media all sure to surprise. 

Do Nothing1 Guolin

Curator & Artist

Guolin Qin

Do Nothing

DO NOTHING reflects upon the recent Japanese phenomenon of a "low desire society" which has emerged as a reaction against the workplace culture of "Shachiku", where an employee is completely subservient to their company, never complaining about overwork or any other issues; a wage slave.


For addresses of venues, please see drop-pin descriptors below the map.

Bare Life locations

16–25 June 2023

Opening daily: 12–5pm

Imogen Patel: Sense of Belonging

3-5 Paris Street Exeter EX1 2JB

Open daily, 12-5pm

Transient Lives Do Nothing

Unit Su43
(former MEAT59), Princesshay Shopping Centre, 26 Bedford Street, Exeter EX1 1GJ

Open daily, 12-5pm

Art Vending Machine

Exeter Phoenix
Café Bar, Gandy Street, Exeter EX4 3LS

Open daily, 10am-5.30pm (except Sundays, 11am-5pm)


The Art of Nursing

Positive Light Projects
184-187 Sidwell Street, Exeter EX4 6RD

Open daily, 12-5pm

Thanks & Credits

Lucy Elmes; Nathan Gale, Trystan Thompson and Radley Cook, Intercity; William Hibberd; Brendan Barry and George Barron, Positive Light Projects; Olya Petrakova and Yudi Wu, MakeTank; Stuart Crewes and Robyn Lawrence, Art Work Exeter; Hannah Overton, Princesshay; Marie Clancy, UoE Medical School; Jon Primrose, UoE Drama; Bookbag; Sarah Campbell and Naome Glanville, Arts and Culture