Tidelines is a community-led CIC (Community Interest Company) led by Anne-Marie Culhane working with Jo Salter and an advisory board, bringing together arts, science, action and research working with communities and the public.  Tidelines has been working with people of all ages creating ways to come together in collaboration to celebrate and care for the Exe estuary and coast, and to find ways to adapt and respond collectively to the changes caused by climate change and the catastrophic loss of species that is impacting the place we live.

Tidelines started in 2020 with pilot funding from EU socially-engaged universities fund, University of Exeter and have received subsequent funding and support from East Devon Council, Global Systems Institute, Creative Peninsula – University of Exeter,  Marine Biological Association, RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum), Exeter City Council, Westcountry Rivers Trust and British Ecological Society.

Some example projects: 

Exe Estuary Box 2020 –  during lockdown
A box of creative activities was posted or cycled to 350 people/families around the Exe during lockdown to gather questions, concerns, views, creative and emotional responses to living in the Exe estuary. Boxes were returned to us and presented at two outdoor pop up exhibitions on either side of the estuary and as an online resource (personal maps, questions, almanac). People’s concerns, interests and questions helped to form the basis for future Tidelines’ work (such as A Body of Water and Salmon Run). Some of the responses to the Exe box activities can be found here.

The Sea Around Us 2020. – during lockdown
A mass reading project (100+ participants) during lockdown of Rachel Carson’s remarkable book on ocean systems  The Sea Around Us working with the Devon Libraries service with libraries in Dawlish, Exmouth, Topsham, St Thomas.  Discussion events took place online and in person with earth systems scientists and marine biologists from Marine Biological Association and Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter. More about the project here and here.

High Water 2021
60 contributors from around the world took part with an online audience of 200 over 12 hours + from high tide to high tide on the highest tide of the year in the Exe sharing stories of oceans, tides and climate change.  Contributors include sailors, marine researchers, artists, poets, musicians, an ex-lighthouse keeper and swimmers. Working with art.earth and Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth. Watch segments of the day here.

A Body of Water 2021 
A creative lab day with 20 people from different estuary towns and villages in the Exe and South West Water, RSPB, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Marine Biological Association, sound artist Kathy Hinde and visual artist Shelley Castle exploring water quality on the Exe. This contributed to the forming of ESCAPE, an active citizen campaigning group on sewage pollution in Exmouth and the Exe. More about the Body of Water lab day here.

Wider than a River and Not Quite the Sea, 2021 A sustainable visitors guide to the Exe estuary illustrated by Shelley Castle and created from interviews with Exe residents about what they love, what is important to them and what are the small things that locals value. Funded by University of Exeter Social fund. More info here.

Salmon Run 2022 & 2023
Atlantic salmon are a keystone species which tells us about climate change, changing water temperatures in seas and rivers, water flow and water quality, biodiversity loss and barriers to movement in the river, in particular the weirs. Salmon occupy a critical and important place in our river’s ecosystem, culture and history. Salmon Run is a relay from the mouth of the Exe running to the Atlantic salmon spawning grounds in the wooded valleys of Exmoor, a journey of 50 miles, connecting to and empathizing with the migration of Atlantic Salmon in our river. Salmon Run includes a live run/ceremony/performance with over 100 participants,  a podcast, graphic artwork and lino cuts. In 2022 it was funded as a pilot by Creative Arc, a collaboration between the University of Exeter, Exeter City Council and The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery and Creative Peninsula. In 2023 it evolved to include a 5km community run as one of the relay legs and an Ultra run with athletes completing the whole journey. Runners aged from 3-72 took part.  In 2023 Salmon Run was funded by a Aviva Wild Isles Crowdfunder, Westcountry Rivers Trust and Creative Penninsula. This work links to onward engagement opportunities with Westcountry Rivers Trust and Friends of the River Exe (FORE). We work on Salmon Run with Wild Running CIC

Listen to project podcast about the life and culture of Atlantic Salmon on the Exe including voices of fisherman, female angler, fisheries experts and scientists here.
Salmon Run is an annual event on World Rivers Day in September. See blog on 2023 here and 2022 here.

Alive, Alive O! 2022 & 2023
Working with Sophie Nedelec, marine bio-accoustics researcher, composer Emma Welton, singer Sarah Owen and community singers and swimmers to explore sound and song as a restoration cue for blue mussel colonies in the Exe.  As part of Alive Alive O! we learnt more about their habitat in the Exe and their vital part in a healthy ecosystem as a keystone species with Martin Syvret, aquaculturalist and Jason Ingham, inshore fisherman. Activities included talks, singing, sound recording and performance at different locations around the estuary. Funded by the British Ecological Society and University of Exeter. More info in blog posts including 2023 here and 2022 here

Please also look through the blog to explore smaller events like an an online event around Changing Sea Temperatures with swimmers, Met Office, Marine Biological Association during lockdown as a response to increased sea swimming during this time and blogs by local people in the area about things that are of particular interest to them. The notebook includes additional images and notes from creative research we have undertaken.

Tidelines has helped to spawn the Friends of the River Exe group in 2023 and ESCAPE  (End Sewage Convoys and Pollution Exmouth) and continues to explore creative, interdisciplinary working and partnerships locally and further afield. Tidelines website for information, events, blogs and other project partners: www.tidelines.uk.



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