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Curious Objects of Women's Independence

An invitation to Women of Coventry from Warwick Arts Centre

Curious Objects of Women's Independence by Dawinder Bansal


Stories of finding freedom with Women of Coventry

By Dawinder Bansal

What is the project about?

George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch – A Study of Provincial Life was published 150 years ago. It recalls a time when George Eliot was living in Coventry. Warwick Arts Centre has commissioned award-winning artist Dawinder Bansal to make a new work that explores key themes of this novel.

Central to the novel are the lives of women who try to find ways to achieve freedom. The exhibition will celebrate the lives of the fierce, fabulous and courageous women of Coventry and the ways in which they have attained independence.

Through this city-wide call out, Dawinder Bansal will find 150 women to be part of a major new exhibition at the Mead Gallery in May 2022 entitled Curious Objects. It will mark 150 years since the publication of Middlemarch and the finale of City of Culture at Warwick Arts Centre. The exhibition will celebrate the voices, courage and curiosity of women from Coventry.

How can I be a part of it?

If you identify as female (18+) and live and/or work in Coventry, please:

  • identify an object that, for you, represents finding freedom and/or independence

Then, using the online form:

  • send in an image (photograph or drawing) of that object
  • tell us why that object symbolises independence for you.

What kind of object should it be?

Anything that means freedom to you! It could be a bag of groceries that reminds you of living independently and choosing your own meals for the first time. It might be a custom-made wheelchair, an exam result, the hiking boots that took you on your first solo adventure. It could represent something as big as having lived through the second world war where you found yourself developing new skills to help win battles. Or it could be something as small as a packet of seeds from which you grew your very first vegetables… Whatever it is, we’d like to hear your story.

What will happen afterwards?

To make sure the voices of Coventry women are embedded in the exhibition, contributors will:

  • Have the opportunity to make up a group of women who will join the curators of the Mead Gallery and Dawinder Bansal to curate the objects and stories and design their display.
  • Be invited to take part in a series of free creative and educational workshops and talks, to support creative and personal development. 

Online Form