Coventry’s universities are to embark on a series of collaborations to bring their research directly to Coventrians in the run up to UK City of Culture 2021.
Working with local cultural groups the University of Warwick and Coventry University will collaborate on 13 projects during the spring and summer of 2018 that will support Coventry City Council’s Cultural Strategy.
Covering a diverse range of research expertise across the institutions, the collaborations will highlight the Cultural Strategy’s goals of partnership, lifelong learning, diversity, health and well-being and economic growth.
Commenting on the forthcoming collaborations Stuart Croft, said:
"The spirit of partnership and pride in our city that helped ensure Coventry’s selection as the next UK City of Culture is evident in these innovative collaborations.
“Through working together to bring our research to Coventrians, the University of Warwick and our friends from Coventry University are already hard at work and looking forward to 2021 and what will be an exciting time for our region”.
Discussing the collaborations Coventry University’s Vice-Chancellor, John Latham, said:
“The successful UK City of Culture campaign showed how Coventry is stronger, more creative and has more impact when everyone within it comes together. It’s an ethos that has inspired this series of projects.
We’re proud to be working with the University of Warwick, organisations from around the city and local people on these exciting projects and hope they will add to the growing anticipation surrounding Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.”
The dates and venues for all 13 projects will be confirmed along with a showcase event on 6 July for all projects who have taken part in the Creative Exchange.
13 collaborative public engagement projects announced (16 February 2018)
The University of Warwick and Coventry University together announce 13 brand new public engagement projects combining research staff from both Universities with cultural organisations in Coventry. These underpin Coventry City Council’s Cultural Strategy and lay groundwork for both REF 2021 and Coventry City of Culture 2021.
All the projects will disseminate academic research through active participation; the Summer term will see the two Universities host a combined showcase event on Friday 06 July 2018 at Fargo to celebrate some of the many outputs from the projects. With the projects using various methods to communicate their research ranging from cooking, dance, theatre, mosaics, photography, workshops, poetry, storytelling, writing, and even lego – the showcase is sure to be interesting!
A selection of experts, practitioners and leaders from the sector were invited to write short provocations in response to the report, highlighting the most pressing questions for arts and cultural organisations, which included Jonothan Neelands, Academic Director Cultural Partnerships, which you can read in full.
We want to thank everyone for being a part of the bid. In just two years ago this bid has put Coventry back on the map, and this is only the beginning. Work will start straight away as we prepare to put on the greatest show that Coventry has ever seen over an incredible 12 months!
Coventry’s 2021 programme will include a Street of Culture programme co-producing work in local communities. The first build-up event will be the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre Festival 23-24th March 2018 and the city will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Cathedral with a major new lighting commission.
A 2.2 mile Ring Road poem is set to one of the digital centrepiece of 2021 along with major productions by the RSC and the screening of the entire works of Shakespeare in iconic locations.
An artist-led festival called ‘Moments of Silence’ will create moments of silence and beauty and reflect on the city’s 700-year-old Carthusian monastery Charterhouse and play on the myth of being ‘Sent to Coventry’.
Building on the success of 95-year-old Indian Photographer Masterji’s exhibition, the city will develop a project Tale of Two Streets that looks at two of the most diverse streets in Britain through the eyes of photographers.
It’s been a bid by and for the people of Coventry. It has brought so many people and organisations together and this is just the start. Over the next three years we will ensure that everyone in the city, which has been moving people by cycle car and jet engine, is now moving people through culture.”
Laura McMillan, Manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust
New research undertaken Warwick and Coventry Universities suggests that digital creative businesses earn around £0.5bn in Coventry each year. Future growth may be limited, however, by a lack of coherent strategy and planning as well as challenges related to skill availability and suitable premises.
You can download a pdf version of the full report 'Digital Creative Sectors in Coventry, trends and potentials' here.
Starting at 9.30am, please post as much content as you can about Coventry #ThisisCoventry and #Coventry with @Coventry2021 and where appropriate @DCMS and #UKCityofCulture2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We want to see why you think Coventry should win as well as telling the DCMS and the world so please share across your networks!
We want to have an hour where we completely take over social media and have a concentrated effort to be all that anyone is talking about. This will be between 1pm and 2pm on Friday, so if you can only spend a little bit of time on Friday, then 1pm to 2pm is the time to do it.
We've been shortlisted along with Paisley, Swansea, Stoke and Sunderland. Five cities who all really deserve the title of UK City of Culture 2021 but we need to work together over the coming months to ensure Coventry's final bid showcases what makes Coventry so right for the title and what a dramatic transformation the title could bring to the city.
Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick said:
People from across our communities and region will be rightly proud of Coventry’s tremendous achievement.
As a Principal Partner of the bid, I’m delighted that the University of Warwick has worked with partners and friends to deliver a campaign that has highlighted the city’s strengths and celebrated the fantastic culture Coventry has to offer.
Through our research and expertise, Warwick has helped to develop a comprehensive research-led bid and demonstrated our commitment to the cultural development of the region in the decades ahead. We look forward to the next exciting challenges in Coventry’s road to becoming UK City of Culture."
We'll keep you updated with all the news and updates over the coming weeks. You can read the full press release here.
The announcement coincided with another cause for celebration - Warwick awarded the City of Culture Trust Chairman, David Burbidge with an honorary degree in recognition of his contribution to arts and culture in the region in this years degree ceremony.
As a Principal Partner to the bid, members of the University of Warwick community play key roles in Coventry’s bid – David thanked the contribution and support from Jonothan Neelands, Professor of Creative Education and Alan Rivett, Director of Warwick Arts Centre.
Jonothan plays a really significant role - he co-chaired the Warwick Commission, which was so influential in the cultural world and that’s why we were keen to get him involved in our team because he had such an incredible background. Alan Rivett at the Warwick Arts Centre is being a huge help developing our programme and the Vice-Chancellor, Stuart Croft and Simon Swain, Pro-Vice Chancellor are incredibly supportive and we are very grateful to all for the support they are giving.”
The full article can be read here.
Please continue to show your support through social media and visit all the incredible things that go on in the City on our doorstop.
Place based research and impact
The inception of a West Midlands Combined Authority, a government commitment to the devolution of power and money to the regions and Coventry’s ambition to be UK City of Culture in 2021 provide an opportunity for both universities to lead on place based research and impact.
Place based research aims to further the research excellence agenda, embed the university in the cultural, economic and social dimensions of the city and region and also directly benefit the city and its residents. It also offers opportunities for teaching, problem based learning, UG research, placements and volunteering.
The focus on cultural growth and investment in Coventry has the ambition to make real changes to the city in economic, social, health and wellbeing dimensions as well as in cultural growth, capital investment and tourism. These initiatives have the support of both universities, the City Council and leading businesses.
Warwick is leading on the research strand of the City of Culture 2021 bid process and developing a Coventry cultural strategy 2017-2027. Both offer opportunities for major research initiatives with a 10 year impact trail.
Coordinated research led by Warwick and Coventry universities is considered key to enabling a robust, thorough programme to inform the City of Culture 2021 bid and maximise value and impact of city of culture status with research communities including academics from both Universities, the city council and 3rd sector organisations establishing groups and networks using the city as a platform for investigation and impact.
Jonothan Neelands, Associate Dean Creativity WBS is leading on the research case for the bid as Director of Research on the Executive Bid Committee for Coventry City of Culture 2021. The research for the bid builds on the success and impact of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value final report Enriching Britain; Culture, Creativity and Growth.
Key Research Themes (KRTs)
The timeline for the bid and the life of the cultural strategy provide opportunities for the universities to embed place based research initiatives that lead to both 4* research and impact amongst other outcomes.
There is considerable scope for new inter-disciplinary, place based research as well as a disciplinary focus on the key themes around of moving, reinvention, underground and human:
- Culture as a driver of urban renewal and social cohesion
- Economic development and modelling
- Urban science (data science, social media and digital citizenship)
- Health and lifestyle
Researchers at both universities will work closely together on the research programme and involve a number of different departments with R&IS identified as a central resource to support and facilitate.
If you think your research and impact plans could contribute to the project, please contact the R&IS City of Culture resource account: RISCityofCulture at warwick dot ac dot uk in the first instance.
Strategy timeline: from what we know to what we do
August 2015 – September 2017 – Maximising existing research
The curation of data to feed the bid’s narrative began in August 2015 and will continue to the completion of the final bid documents in September 2017, drawing on a number of city focused data and sources to give a richly granulated picture of the city and its residents which will form the basis of a ‘research-led’ bid and cultural strategy.
Existing research from other areas of the University such as the Sustainable Cities GRP is being mapped to translate into actions and strategic objectives and referenced to feed understandings of the cultural, economic, health and social needs of the city.
Deadline January 2017: Any additional research that can support the bid needs to be submitted by January 2017 to be referenced.
June 2016-September 2017 – Proposing major new research initiatives
Both the bid and the Cultural Strategy are projections of what will be achieved from 2017-2027. There is a major opportunity for Warwick to develop focused research activity around KRTs to feed both projects. The ‘research-led’ USP of Coventry’s bid and strategy are based in the excellence of its two Universities and their commitment to partnership in place-based research and change. A clear set of research proposals for future development will add considerable value to the bid and its chances of success.
In this period, each KRT will need to identify lead academics who will champion the development of place-based research initiatives that play to the research strengths of the University and provide evidence of a supported programme of research that will directly impact on the City and its ambitions to win UK City of Culture 2021 and become a Top 10 UK city by 2026.
Deadline March 2017: Proposals from each of the KRTs will need to submit their proposals by March 2017 to be included in the first round of bidding and/or by August 2017 to be included in the final round.
November 2017–2026: On-going research and impact
If the bid is successful, the experience of other Cities of Culture like Liverpool and Hull suggest that there will be significant additional targeted funding from RCUK, ACE, DCMS, BiS and HMT as well as from private sources which will considerably add value to the work of the KRTs and wider place-based research initiatives in the future.
If unsuccessful, the experience of other cities who lost like Leicester, Birmingham and Newcastle suggest that the process of competing itself creates opportunities for lasting partnerships and the realisation of their cultural, economic and social ambitions.
The bidding process is an important trigger for urban renewal whether or not the bid is successful.
The flagship KRTs will fulfill their promises and in so doing attract national and international attention to successful place-based research and impact.
The Cultural Strategy will have biennial research refresh milestones for on-going research and impact in the JRTs and beyond. New research can feed in to the evolution of the strategy in 2019, 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027
Coventry 2021 in the media