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Updates: Coronavirus, The Trust & Adapting Research Projects

First and foremost we hope that you are all keeping safe and well in these uncertain times. Whilst the priority in these times is to adhere to government guidance to ensure we all stay healthy and well, we thought it would be helpful to provide some information and updates for those involved with ongoing City of Culture projects.

Whilst the current situation is uncertain and worrying, it has been heartening to see organisations, the local community and the City of Culture Trust pledge their continued support to arts organisations and artists working within Coventry. There are great many ways in which artists and organisations have responded and adapted to the challenges of delivering culture within a time of social distancing.

We have lots of staff across the university working on research projects with organisations in Coventry and are keen to hear about ways our academics have adapted projects, or talk with project leads about how we might support or collaborate to deliver projects in new ways, so please do get in touch with India Foster to talk more about this.

City of Culture Research Projects

We appreciate you may have questions and concerns in light of the current government guidance to restrict all social contact, which will make it difficult for many of you to continue with your research project as planned in the next couple of months. Health is of paramount importance and we are committed to supporting our project leads, and each other, as much as possible during this time.

We have been in touch with all our current Open Call and internal project funding recipients via email and we understand that your project timelines will be affected, in some cases significantly so. We understand that adjustments to your project may result in an underspend and would be very grateful if you could inform of us any projected underspend as soon as possible.

We fully appreciate that the upcoming months will be uncertain and challenging and are keen to support project leads where possible.

A useful document about DOING FIELDWORK DURING A PANDEMIC has been prepared by a number of academics and been shared here.

To see how one our University Partnership Open Call Projects has please read our latest news story here.

Ideas for adapting projects

Whilst the last couple of weeks have been very challenging, it has also created opportunities to trial new ways of connecting, working and delivering content. We appreciate that project leads may not be able to undertake their research projects as planned, but have included some suggestions below for the ways projects can be adapted/taken online;

  • Project meetings can be taken online safely from home through apps such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype
  • Online forums can be used to create group discussion spaces (Facebook, Slack, as well as the above)
  • There have been a number of videos in recent days of artists and performers delivering readings, music, cooking sessions etc. through Instagram live and YouTube – would these formats work as a way of delivering content online?

This situation offers us the opportunity to reflect on how remote, collaborative working impacts research projects and how we can learn from this for the future. If you develop a successful, innovative way to ensure progress continues, please do share it with us and your peers. As always, if you would like advice or support or to offer any best practice, please get in touch with India Foster.

Update from the Coventry City of Culture Trust

In response to the evolving situation, and the City of Culture Trust have reallocated their resources to support the local arts sector during this time of uncertainty.

Here is an extract from the latest statement from Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the City of Culture Trust:

Since Coventry City of Culture Trust announced our coronavirus pledges, we have seen rapid change. We have continued to refocus our resources and activities to strengthen the local sector, support individuals who have been directly impacted by the pandemic, encourage new relationships to be formed between communities and continue to work with local businesses.

We remain determined to support partners working in the voluntary and charity sector which, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, is facing £4bn of losses in the next quarter as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak. The work of these organisations during the COVID-19 crisis is more vital than ever.

To see all the work the Trust has and is currently undertaking in response to the crisis please see their website.

The Trust are very keen to support local community groups and cultural organisations during this time and are asking any representatives of organisations/groups that need support to contact them via email on or telephone on 02476 998 221.