Exeter venues offer save haven as emotions run high over EU vote

Leaders of arts organisations in Exeter have issued an open letter following the EU referendum, welcoming everyone regardless of their views.

Here is the full text.

A nation divided. A city divided?

17 million people vote against an establishment position. A younger generation blames an older one for giving away their futures. And there’s a 57% increase in reported hate crime.

In these turbulent times it is hard to find equilibrium. With emotions running so high, tolerance often falls by the wayside.

Culture offers an opportunity for us to celebrate our heritage, diverse and specific. It enables us to hear contrary views given equal weight, exploring complexity. And our spaces allow us to extend a welcome to all.

As leaders of cultural spaces in the city, we want to be clear that we welcome all, regardless of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality and political views. You are welcome to read, learn, think, dance, talk, eat, drink, laugh, cry and solve the world’s problems. You’re welcome to a safe place where you can be alone in a crowd.

This offer will always stay open.

Patrick Cunningham, Director, Exeter Phoenix

Ciara Eastell, Chief Executive, Libraries Unlimited

Paul Jepson, Artistic and Executive Director, Exeter Northcott

David Lockwood, Director, The Bike Shed Theatre

Rosie Denham, Lead Member for Economy and Culture, Exeter City Council

The Very Rev Dr Jonathan Draper, Dean of Exeter

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