Kick Starting the Exeter City FC trail at the Park

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In October we will be meeting the children in the Kick Start programme that is run by Jamie Vittles at Exeter City Football in the Community. To avoid taking them too far away from the Park, especially since one of the main attractions of the programme is that they can spend time at the Park, we have designed a new trail of ca 12 locations that include the director’s box, the Flybe stand, the Brazilian flags, the Big Bank and its heart (as two separate locations), a goalpost, the Old Grandstand, the media suites, the changing rooms, the St James Stand, the Flybe stand again with a different story), and the Fountain Centre. We were offered, as always, absolutely invaluable help by Lewis Jones, Martin Weiler, Jamie Vittles, and Paul Farley, and also, this time, by Andy Bratt whose tour notes were a great stimulation in determining how to design this experience. I should also take this opportunity to thank Mike Blackstone, who has made all his materials available to us. We have drawn many facts and stories from his work and owe him a big thank you!!

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Having identified the locations, and written the stories attached to them, covering, as in the other longer trail just over one hundred years of the club’s fascinating history, I needed to  geocode the new locations and was again reminded of the strange alienation one experiences by juxtaposing one’s presence on a map with just ‘being’ in an environment. Tomorrow it will be testing times again, and somehow I can already tell from the way the tool has mapped the geocoded sites that I may need to take quite a few more readings. The problem is that the area is very confined and, perhaps because it was again a cloudy day, the satellites struggled to produce accurate readings.

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So – more on this soon – but in the meantime, having covered the origins of the term Grecian, Sid Thomas and the history of the grounds, the Brazilian match and Dick Pym, Cliff Bastin, the Trust’s history, Arthur Chadwick, Alan Banks, Tony Kellow, Edward Reid, Scott Hiley, Paul Tisdale, the Fountain Centre and a few anecdotes here and there, what would you add? The aim is that the children will add some locations and histories, so let us know if you feel that any stories can  be added by us now or by them in October.

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We have come a long way in this project, and couldn’t have done so without the help of many individuals, some named, others not, and the support of St Sidwell’s Primary School and St David’s Primary School; Exeter City Council and Dave Adcock; and absolutely everybody at the Trust and Club where we have felt hugely welcome and supported at all times. We could not have done this without the help of our funders, REACT-Heif and the support of the REACT team. Watching very talented and profoundly dedicated staff teach football at my daughter’s school inspired me to use the RAMM time trail tool to write the history Exeter City FC into the streets of Exeter. They are thanked too, even though they may not know of the significant role they played in this project. Last but not least, our project has now come to an end. We will continue to share the results of our research and let you know what our next steps might be. As for myself, apart from sorting the geocoding, refining the trail for Jamie’s children, testing the whole thing, I will be writing an article on presencing in relation to these trails for a Brazilian journal entirely dedicated to the study of presence, and analysing the role of trails for archiving in my book Archive Everything. As for the team, we have plans to market the tool. So it’s not a good-bye yet.

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About Gabriella Giannachi

Gabriella Giannachi is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia at the University of Exeter, which promotes advanced interdisciplinary research in performance and the arts through collaborations between artists, academics and scientists from a range of disciplines. Her most recent and forthcoming book publications include: Virtual Theatres: an Introduction (Routledge: 2004); Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, ed. with Nigel Stewart (Peter Lang: 2005); The Politics of New Media Theatre (Routledge: 2007); Performing Presence: Between the Live and the Simulated, co-authored with Nick Kaye (MUP: 2011), nominated in Theatre Library Association 44th Annual Book Awards (2012); Archaeologies of Presence, co-edited with Nick Kaye and Michael Shanks (Routledge: 2012); Performing Mixed Reality, co-authored with Steve Benford (MITP: 2011) and Archive Everything (MITP, forthcoming). She has published articles in Contemporary Theatre Review, Leonardo, Performance Research, Digital Creativity, TDR and PAJ, and developed conference papers for IVA 2009, 9th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, CHI 2008, CHI 2009 (best paper award), CHI 2012 (best paper award) and CHI 2013 (best paper award). She is an investigator in the RCUK funded Horizon Digital Economy Research Hub (2009-2014) and is collaborating with Tate and RAMM on a number of projects. She has a BA from Turin University and a PhD from Cambridge University, UK.
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