Exeter Observer is owned and managed, researched and written, designed and developed, produced and promoted by people who share a mission to deliver in-depth articles and investigative journalism rooted in community interest with real relevance and impact.
We are editorially and financially independent, which means we produce and distribute our content without political or commercial bias.
We observe industry best-practice principles, are fully regulated, and aim to inform and empower our readers, strengthening civil society and helping people participate more effectively in local democracy.
Vanessa Miles is a portrait, editorial and events photographer and has been a photography tutor at Exeter Phoenix since 2013.
She has exhibited at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Picture House, Plymouth Art Weekender and The Art Institute, Plymouth and her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Times, Country Life, The Ecologist and Resurgence.
She works with individuals, workshop groups, families and organisations and is a frequent collaborator on scientific and environmental projects.
More information is available on her website.
Stories with photography by
Comment ⁄ Climate & environment
Exeter is one of the smallest cities in Britain, yet it has produced some of the country's biggest youth strikes. Climate activist Sophie Sleeman recounts the story so far and explains what it means to the young people who are creating a global wave of change.
Preview ⁄ Arts & culture
A new collaboration between X-Plore Youth Devon, Exeter College LGBTQ+ society, Natalie McGrath of Dreadnought SW and Dr Jana Funke of the University of Exeter explores gender and sexual diversity across time, place and culture by reimagining objects from the RAMM collections.
Galleries with photography by
Beth Pratt has a background in environmental science, geography and photography and hopes to study journalism at university at the end of the year.
Through her experience of the dance world Beth has become increasingly passionate about mental health and wellbeing in young people.
Bethany Collins is a politics student at the University of Exeter hoping to specialise in public policy.
She has lived in East Devon for most of her life, and has a keen interest in local government. She has been actively involved in campaigning with independent parliamentary candidate Claire Wright.
Since starting her degree she has engaged with the university LGBTQ+ society and has a strong passion for climate activism.
Chris Musgrave is a trade union official, political activist and former Exeter city councillor.
He has a background in employment law, campaigning and election management, and has a passion for social and economic justice and protecting the environment.
Since deciding not to stand for re-election in 2019 he has focussed on democratic and financial scrutiny of local government, seeking to expose waste and inconsistency wherever he finds it.
Chris is also Chair of Trustees for Exeter-based Intercom Trust, an advocacy charity supporting LGBT+ communities across the South West.
Daniel Clark is a Local Democracy Reporting Service reporter based in Exeter.
He covers Devon County Council and the county’s district councils and other public service organisations for the BBC Local News Partnerships, a public interest democracy reporting and journalism service in which Exeter Observer is a partner.
Freya Garry is a member of the UK Climate Resilience team based at the Met Office in Exeter.
Freya’s work contributes to a UK wide project on Climate Resilience, the Strategic Priority Fund for Climate Resilience.
Freya is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion across science and is involved with diversity initiatives in Exeter.
Freya co-founded the Women in Climate network at the University of Exeter, is involved in the PRISM Exeter network and is a keen climate science communicator, participating in the Climate Stories project.
More information is available on Freya’s Met Office profile.
Jake Lloyd is a communications consultant who works with charities and social enterprises that have a focus on community building.
He also produces and presents the How To Build Community podcast and radio show, and enjoys writing on the subjects of community, nature, faith and communications.
Jake’s background is in BBC News, where he spent almost ten years in both television and radio. For most of that time he was a Studio Director at BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and the World Service, covering major global news stories from the Arab Spring to the Olympics.
Laura Davies has a background in education, teaching in London primary schools for seven years during which time she was an active union member.
She has worked for a number of local, independent businesses since moving to Exeter five years ago, and has become increasingly involved in climate activism.
Laura is a keen cyclist, ornithologist and part-time DJ, playing at Exeter Pride the past two years.
Leigh Curtis is arts & culture editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Greater Exeter CIC.
She has a background in print design and production and project and account management with leading London media and design agencies.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she has also managed exhibitions and degree shows.
Leonore Zutter is a student of English law and French law at the University of Exeter who spends more time rallying and protesting government inaction on climate change than in the library.
As a climate activist she is specifically involved in youth politics surrounding the climate crisis and climate litigation.
Leonore is originally from Switzerland and Germany and grew up in Australia. She hopes to one day help work on a stronger government plan to tackle the climate crisis.
Martin Redfern is managing editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Greater Exeter CIC.
He has 25 years’ experience working with public and private sector organisations in multi-stakeholder contexts to achieve social change goals.
He holds a Master’s degree with distinction in Journalism at Birkbeck, University of London and has a background in campaigning, project management and multimedia design and development.
Mike Myshko is a filmmaker, photographer and designer.
He has a background in physics, animation and web development, and is passionate about telling unique stories and helping bring small projects to life.
After working on a number of well-received feature films, co-producing and selling an award-winning film to Amazon, he is now looking to develop personal projects focussed on environmental issues, democracy and minority voices.
Mike also has a first class BSc in Broadcast Technology and is a member of BECTU.
More information is available on his website.
Moragh Mason is a researcher and contributing writer for Exeter Observer.
She has a background in the public sector in a variety of roles. The ones she enjoyed most involved investigation and report writing.
Since escaping the world of work she continues to put those skills to good use. She is concerned about the loss of green space in Exeter and is involved in the campaign to save the Clifton Hill sports centre site from development.
Naomi Parkinson is an artist and campaigner working in marketing and events.
She has lived in East Devon since completing a degree in Film and English in London.
She is an environmental campaigner and active community participant, recently contributing to Independent Claire Wright’s general election campaign.
Peter Cleasby is contributing editor of Exeter Observer and a director of its publisher Greater Exeter CIC.
A former senior civil servant, specialising in policy development and managing public business, he subsequently became a freelance policy, management and governance consultant, and a trustee of several national and local charities.
Today, he has escaped from the boardroom and works - unpaid, of course - as a watch-keeper at Exmouth Coastwatch, research officer for Exeter Green Party, lay member of a research ethics committee at Exeter University, occasional blogger, campaigner for openness in public life, and doing any other interesting odd jobs that crop up from time to time.
Roz Harding is a jazz saxophonist who teaches at Exeter College where she also leads the Jazz Project and Jambassadors.
She has performed in a wide variety of ensembles and recording projects. Her music has been played on Jazz FM and BBC Radio 6 Music and she has played live on air for BBC Radio 3 and at venues including Ronnie Scotts, The Vortex, London Jazz Festival, Kings Place, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Women in Jazz and Birmingham Jazz.
She can be found playing in Mike Westbrook’s The Uncommon Orchestra, Kate Westbrook’s GRANITE, Dave Holdsworth’s New Brew, Emma Welton’s A Quiet Night In, Billie Bottle and the Multiple and leading her own project SUPERMOOD. She has also started working with Tom Glazebrook and his visual theory of music Meta-Harmony.
Sophie Sleeman is a seventeen-year-old climate activist, writer and student at Exeter College.
She also enjoys climbing on Dartmoor and writing poetry.
Exeter Observer is published by Greater Exeter CIC, a non-profit community interest company limited by guarantee, registration number 10711812.
Analysis ⁄ Planning & place
Exeter City Council has approved plans to develop land at Pinhoe with a parking ratio of 2.4 cars per household as part of an "exemplar scheme for future residential development in the city" while accepting that zero carbon construction comes "at a cost to the provision of affordable housing".
News ⁄ Planning & place
Devon County Council is to develop new town centre facilities including a children's centre with public health nursing provision, youth centre with indoor and outdoor recreational spaces and library with small café.
News ⁄ Democracy & governance
Council revenues have fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a £6.357 million capital spending deferment. But financial support from government has so far been limited.