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Policing, Culture & Community

Coventry city community

Project leads: Jacqueline Hodgson (School of Law) and Rachel Lewis (School of Law)

Project dates: 2019 - Present

Funding: This project has received funding from the University of Warwick's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account ES/T502054/1, the University of Warwick’s Policy Support Fund and the University of Warwick’s Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) award.

With public trust in policing extremely low, this body of work from Professor Jacqueline Hodgson and Dr Rachel Lewis explores the potential for arts and culture to help build trust and confidence in policing.

In 2019, West Midlands Police (WMP) embarked on a unique partnership with the Coventry City of Culture Trust to deliver the City of Culture 2021 programme. In addition to monitoring community safety and security throughout the year of events, this partnership also provided WMP with an opportunity to engage with the general public. Through a number of arts initiatives, including a mural and artist-in-residence scheme, they aimed to foster confidence and trust and build relationships with local communities.

The initial project lead to some positive insights published in a recent report, and a number of newly developed projects including a story-telling initiative and an exciting new collaboration with the Belgrade Theatre.



We are working closely with the Extended Learning Centre in Coventry to construct a storytelling initiative. It draws on the principles of Narrative 4's Story Exchange in which two participants each share a meaningful story, then tell each other's story to a wider group in the first person as if they are the protagonist.

It is hoped that this approach will provide a space for young people to articulate their experiences of policing to WMP officers and staff, and encourage a feeling of solidarity. Learn more.

Belgrade Theatre Project

The next exciting iteration in this body of work will see the data from the research paper translated into a performance piece in a collaboration with the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

Researchers Jacqueline Hodgson and Rachel Lewis will work with the Belgrade Theatre and a creative team including Jen Davis (creative director) and Joe Rose (producer) on the project which aims to explore their finding around the power of arts and culture as a collaborative endeavour.

The performance, which will explore how both the police and policed can see the human behind the stereotypes, will take place later in 2023. In addition, these issues will be explored further in a photographic exhibition

In addition to the performance later in 2023, there will be further ways to explore these issues through a photographic exhibition by Kay Rufai as artist in residence with West Midlands Police. We will also carry out a series of workshops for young people.

Impact & Engagement

Learn more about our wider impact, including a citation in a UK Parliament report in 2023.

Research Publications

Take a look at the latest publications in this body of research to learn more about the projects.

> Find out more about Policing, Culture & Community > Professor Jacqueline Hodgson > Dr Rachel Lewis > Next place-based research project