January 2018 to July 2019

The Making of Chrysalis

Chrysalis was a mobile arts, culture and learning space made in 2018 - 2019 by the hands and imagination of people living or working in the Bio-Region of South Devon.

Encounters would like to introduce you to The Making of Chrysalis.

Chrysalis is a mobile arts, culture and learning space made in 2018 - 2019 by the hands and imagination of people living or working in the Bio Region of South Devon. Work began on Chrysalis in January 2018. Finished later in 2019, Chrysalis is an inspirational resource for local people to use for learning, creativity, celebration, exchange, dialogue and gatherings of all kinds.

“We want to ensure that people of all ages and backgrounds from rural hamlets to larger villages and towns across this region have the opportunity to inform and be part of the design and build of this new mobile communal space that could serve and inspire them in the future.”

Chrysalis is an environmentally motivated space. Its creation considered circular economy and ecological design solutions to waste, water, food, energy, materials and it emerged from repurposing, hands on building and make and renovating. It promotes sustainability, reuse and recycling and provides an example of co-created work, embodying the values of Encounters and able to withstand and respond to future change.

Following an extensive programme of creative consultation and co-design workshops, and user interviews with different community groups and individuals a brief for Chrysalis was drawn up.

"What a wonderful project really love it, will be useful throughout Devon. A different way of bringing people together"

“I have enjoyed this process of visioning collaboratively with others in all its versatility and playfulness"

Participants on the co-design workshops

Architects and Designers Wo/Co were selected by Encounters, the Chrysalis Steering group and community participants to lead on the design of Chrysalis, winning the tender based on a concept for Chrysalis of a Cabinet of Ecological Curiosities.

‘The Chrysalis Cabinet of Ecological Curiosities’ is intended to function as a modern-day collection, which tells a story of our present interrelationship with our environment. It is intended to draw attention to the challenges facing us as individuals and as a society and some of the possible responses solutions. It is intended as a space that will inspire and bring people together with elements built into its fabric that bring humans and the natural world into closer connection.'


Community Groups and Individuals were involved in co-designing and making different elements of Chrysalis.

January 2018

Encounters Artists visited voluntary groups, attending public events, setting up stalls in public spaces, sending out information, inviting people to sign up to join in with the project.

January - March 2018

We ran a series of co-design workshops about The Making of Chrysalis project for potential participants and interested parties in 5 locations across South Devon (Totnes, Newton Abbot, Kingsbridge, Paignton, Torcross, Stokenham) working with over a hundred people of all ages and backgrounds.

June - December 2018

A design brief was put out nationally and three design teams were shortlisted. Their proposals for Chrysalis were fed back to local community groups and individuals through a series of workshops and open days. Architects and designers Wo/Co were selected to lead on the overall Design for Chrysalis and detailed design work began.

February - April 2019

Nine local groups, Carpentry volunteers and participants at three Community Making days made different elements of Chrysalis working with craftivists Kate Bowman and Felix Cary and Wo/Co.

May - June 2019

All of the different people involved in making elements of Chrysalis came together to Assemble Chrysalis.

The finished Chrysalis Unit then toured across South Devon celebrating the hands and imagination of all involved in its creation.

Please contact or call 07870 698333 about the Chrysalis project if you have information to share or would like to find out more.

Chrysalis News

Chrysalis returns to Haytor View Primary

Chrysalis returned to Haytor View Primary, who earlier in the year designed and printed fabric for the interior

Printed Biodiversity

Block Printing Endangered Bugs, Beetles, Moths and Butterflies at Haytor View Primary School

Charlie’s Handmade Butterfly Clock for Chrysalis

Chrysalis carpenter Charlie explains the process of transforming wood offcuts into a unique clock for Chrysalis.

Carpentry Volunteers Required For the Final Push of the Making of Chrysalis

Do you have carpentry skills? We are looking for some carpentry volunteers to support the making of Chrysalis in our last push over the next 3-4 weeks, till the 3rd of June.

Chrysalis: Carving the wooden spoons with Lifeworks

Working with green woodworker Felix Kary, two groups of young adults with additional needs co-created 12 wooden eating spoons to live within Chrysalis.

Invitation to Tender - Creative Design & Build Lead, Encounters

Encounters is offering a £25k contract for an exceptional individual or team to lead on the design and build of Chrysalis, a project funded by Arts Council England.

Creative Consultation and co-design workshops

Background Information

The Making of Chrysalis was a significant and unique new project funded by the Arts Council of England that gathered together people of different ages and backgrounds living or working in contrasting areas of South Devon.

Curious participants, engineers, craftspeople, pioneers in co-design, builders, environmental specialists, subject enthusiasts, community connectors, artists, educators, learners and stakeholders were faced with creative challenges and decisions as old and new skills were brought together to consider the mobile unit's environmental impact. Through the making process, we explored how we could reconnect to one another, to the living systems that support us and to investigate sustainable ways to live and flourish in a rapidly changing world. CHRYSALIS provides an exemplar for a sustainable and co-created project that has a very real impact on increasing connections, skills and knowledge amongst people of all ages whilst celebrating diversity in all its variety of forms.

It remains available for use by people and organisations for learning, creativity, celebration, exchange, dialogue and gatherings of all kinds.

Please contact or call 07870 698333 about the Chrysalis project if you have information to share, would like to find out more or are interested in using Chrysalis for a one off event, something more regular or a new project.