There’s not long left to wait until Coventry begins its year-long celebrations as the 2021 UK City of Culture. As we hurtle towards the launch in May, Warwick continues to work with partners across the city (and the rest of the world) to ensure that the 12-month mega-event is not only full of vibrant, innovative, and exciting activity, but that it also builds the foundations and legacy for cultural, social and economic prosperity.
Warwick is a principal partner, and we’re working closely with colleagues from Coventry City Council, Coventry University, the City of Culture Trust and others to contribute our strengths in showcasing the best that the city has to offer.
With so much going on at Warwick with City of Culture, we've put together a brief roundup below to highlight everything that is happening and how you can be involved.
Community embedded research
Over the last three years, our researchers have been working on an exciting array of projects, many in partnership with Coventry University, resulting in nearly 50 collaborative, community-focussed research initiatives. These projects have covered a range of interdisciplinary topics, such as:
- Coventry Eats
- Transforming the City
- Coventry Communities
- Coventry Stories
- Improving Health and Wellbeing
- Connected Coventry
Projects have included community co-produced film screenings, a Roma allotment project, literacy workshops, an exploration of identity in Coventry’s migrant population, training ‘Decolonial Detectives’ to explore histories from the Windrush generation, connecting Coventry’s twinned cities, work with Immigrant LGBT Communities of Colour, and much, much more.
There are currently two funding calls open for research with communities – the application details are all available on our webpages.
Back in early 2020, as the global Covid-19 pandemic took hold, it quickly became apparent that Coventry’s cultural sector was facing a challenge unlike any it had seen before. Coventry Creates was quickly brought into being as an opportunity for Warwick and Coventry Universities to work with the local arts and cultural sector to produce an online digital exhibition of new artworks created around academic research. The resulting 18 pieces of creative responses explore the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Homelessness, the NHS and more, through poetry, photography, film, music, and dance.
Explore the exhibition online.
Performance, Monitoring & Evaluation
To ensure the 2021 programme remains evidence-based and meets local and regional needs, Warwick has led on the development of a proactive Performance Measurement & Evaluation Strategy based on a theory of change.
Coventry is a city of diversity and youthfulness. However, significant challenges exist for Coventry City of Culture and its ambitions to create the foundations and legacy for cultural, social and economic prosperity. The planning and delivery of CoC 2021 are led by a logic model of agreed outcomes and indicators that determine activities and outcomes for the programme.
You can find out more about how we are changing the way that cultural events are evaluated, and how we’re pioneering new methods for ensuring social change on our webpages. There you will find progress reports, strategies and a wealth of data on Coventry.
Researchers from the University of Warwick and Coventry University have been commissioned by the City of Culture Trust to explore how Coventry City of Culture reflects the citizens of Coventry; increases environmental and heritage awareness; enhances cultural, civic and business partnerships; and increases well-being and activism through volunteering opportunities. This will make an important contribution to the evidence base for the wider evaluation of City of Culture.
Warwick’s Public Programme
Throughout 2021 and 2022, the Warwick Institute of Engagement is leading on an extensive programme of events and activities. Based around a set of monthly themes, the Institute is working with teams from across the University to showcase research, build community partnerships, and host exciting cultural events.
Spirit of 2012
We’ve been awarded £200,000 jointly by Spirit of 2012 and Birmingham 2022 to deliver three years of participatory cultural community engagement in Canley. To kick-start the ‘Playing Out’ programme, we’re a series of ‘Playing In’ activities—necessary due to the Covid-19 lockdown. We’re delivering craft activity packs to support the community’s participation in ‘Window Wanderland' and we’re hosting regular Zoom drop-in sessions with different breakout rooms offering creative and sociable activities.
Warwick Volunteers are coordinating volunteer opportunities across the University, and working with the City of Culture City Hosts programme to offer a range of volunteer roles throughout the year.
To register your interest and to be first to hear about new opportunities, head to the Warwick Volunteers webpages.
Show your Support
You can download the City of Culture’s rather excellent branded graphics and add to your email footer, social media accounts and posts.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for the City of Culture updates email which contains all the latest news, events and opportunities.