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Co-creating energy efficiency in Foleshill: A collaboration between artists, researchers and the community in Coventry


Coventry City Council was recently awarded funding to provide energy efficiency for occupiers in Foleshill, a deprived part of Coventry.

However, despite the individual financial savings that energy efficiency brings and wider societal benefits to sustainability, uptake amongst residents is low. This project funded workshops to co-create materials that help residents understand practical sustainability measures, the benefits of energy-efficient homes and how barriers to uptake can be overcome. It brought together members of the local community to share their views, along with researchers from the University with expertise in energy and urban governance, officers from Coventry City Council and artists who used mixed media to record and create materials to promote wider understanding of the initiative.

These materials acknowledged the area’s diverse cultural mix, but also provided a life beyond the project, with potential to be shared more widely through social media and help overcome barriers to uptake.

The project resulted in a short animation video which aims to show the meaning of a warm home. For this video, a spoken word piece was created working with a local family to describe what a warm home means to them. This was overlaid with an animation by local animator Josh Leach, which depicts a cosy home environment, and how sustainable energy can help achieve this. Watch the video below.

Energy efficiency improvements have wide-ranging sustainability impacts. At the most basic level, energy efficiency reduces carbon emissions of homes, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and reduces household bills, which can help alleviate poverty and improve economic resilience. More widely, the project also offered an opportunity to engage with the topic from the perspective of under-represented urban communities.

Public engagement and arts programme

This project was led by Dr Jonathan Clarke from the Department of Global Sustainable Development. It helped to support the establishment of a partnership between researchers within the Department of Global Sustainable Development and Coventry City Council officers, promoting sustainability and climate change action.

The project sought to understand the wider impacts resulting from energy improvements, such as household health and finances. It also acted as a pilot in developing future research bids between researchers and the local council focused on improving energy efficiency.

This project links to the below Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):