Unlocking the Cage


Unlocking the Cage is an augmented reality installation, which brings to life the captivating stories of female writers whose work lies in 'the cage'.

Exeter Library’s special collections lie below the library floor in what is known as 'the cage”. Out of 800 books in the collection, only 8 are written by women. Unlocking the Cage is an immersive visual and audio journey through the lives and works of four of these women, whose books reside within the 'cage'.

Unlocking the Cage has been researched, written and narrated by award-winning author Kim Sherwood. Kim, shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2019, is known for her debut novel Testament, and has been selected to expand upon the 007 universe as the first woman to write a James Bond novel for the franchise, with the first book in her trilogy to be published in September 2022.

You can read Kim's full Unlocking the Cage essay here as an eBook.

Unlocking the Cage features Kim's narration, Sarita McNeil's beautiful illustrations and original music composed by John Matthias and Jay Auborn. Creative audio company dBs Pro and the augmented reality developer Zubr Curio have turned these creative elements into an innovative augmented reality experience which is not to be missed.

Kim Sherwood said "Though there are only 8 books written by women in the Cage, these few names represent a long revolution, from the rise of Bluestocking salons to the campaign for female suffrage. Immersing myself in the lives of these pioneering women connected me to a line of writers stretching back to the eighteenth century. I'm thrilled to bring their inspiring stories into the now with this exciting collaboration."


Unlocking the Cage can be enjoyed alone, or in groups of up to 4 people at a time and takes approximately 28 minutes to complete. You are in control of your own experience, turning the pages of the book to navigate your journey

The installation is free to experience in hosting libraries - check our Events page to see when the installation is visiting a library near you.