Green Futures

About Green Futures

Green Futures is a flagship programme for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with support from Garfield Weston Foundation and Severn Trent Community Fund, Green Futures explores Coventry and Warwickshire’s wildlife, natural heritage, and landscape, uncovering the story of its ‘hidden nature’ and increasing local stewardship.Through the Green Futures programme, Coventry will become the greenest and most environmentally conscious UK City of Culture to date.

For the Green Futures programme, the Coventry UK City of Culture Trust is working with local and global partners, such as such as Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Canals & Rivers Trust, to ignite social activism, connecting and reconnecting communities to nature and heritage and prioritising issues that most directly affect them. The ambitious programme will unearth stories to inspire a modern, diverse city to reimagine its 'Green Future' for wild and human life.

Programme Strands

The Green Futures programme has four year-long strands which seek to build a critical mass of human connectivity to nature, which are:

Growing Coventry

Interest, capacity and skill will be built across local and diverse communities - in all things horticultural and ‘native’, including an exploration of ‘urban farming’ in a city with a proud manufacturing heritage, to leave a stronger ecology of practitioners for artists and growing culture. The Coventry City of Culture Caring City team’s ‘Hungry Nation’ campaign also aims to meet the sharp challenges of food poverty and produce fresh culturally relevant goods.

The programme aims to promote and renew relationships to seasonal produce whilst improving biodiversity, working with residents, activists, participants and audiences to ignite active growing communities.

Two plant pots. Image: Adele Mary-Reed

Two plant pots. Image: Adele Mary-Reed

A forest. Image: Adele Mary-Reed

A forest. Image: Adele Mary-Reed


A multi-layered programme exploring humanity’s social, cultural and
ecological relationships to the natural world and green spaces, includes:

The Walking Forest, a female led exploration of the Suffragette movement
and women’s approach to climate protest Forest Camps, working with Caring City Team, Positive Youth Foundation, Wild Earth and Heart of England Forest

Flock Together Coventry Chapter bringing young people of colour to engage
in Charterhouse Fields bird community #BIRDGANG

Observations on Being, the hero project of the Forest Strand, is a major new commission by leading experiential art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast, produced in partnership with York Mediale. Set in the beautiful tree-filled setting of Coventry’s London Road Cemetery, part of the Charterhouse Heritage Park, this multi-sensory experience features a series of newly commissioned audio-visual installations that takes audiences on an immersive journey through this beautiful setting. The work locates a clear ‘call to action’ for Coventry residents to get involved in the ambition to conserve the Heritage Park and its wildlife future.


Biodiversity and climate change will be explored in relation to both local
and global environments. Key commissions including with Canal & River Trust Highly Sprung’s Castaway devised to respond to the ecology of our waterways and challenge the plastic pollution that befalls them; with Super Slow Way Small Bells Ring by Studio Morison delivered in collaboration with Lancashire Library Service, Coventry Library Service and the British Council.

Coventry Canal

Coventry Canal

Foliage. Image: Adele Mary-Reed

Foliage. Image: Adele Mary-Reed

Coventry State of Nature & Coventry Nature Summit

A creative report led by WWT as part of the legacy period, working closely with local creative, community, nature and the environmental sector. A Coventry Nature Summit will also be co-curated with WWT in 2022 as part of Earth Day.

Green Futures Related Events


Find Out More

TUE 22 JUN 2021 TO SUN 15 AUG 2021

Seven immersive artworks challenge our ideas of life, death and nature.

Mapping the journey of breath from different scientific and cultural perspectives this multisensory narrative of epic proportions uncovers the living worlds both beyond and within us, to reveal the deep and beautiful truths that lie just outside the limits of our perception.

Inviting audiences to cross the threshold and follow an expansive journey through the invisible natural world, Observations on Being brings together a series of thought-provoking and immersive audio visual art installations and soundscapes, which challenge our ideas of life and death and examine our symbiotic relationship with nature.

The ambitious works will be located across the beautiful, tree-filled spaces and buildings of Charterhouse Heritage Park - Joseph Paxton’s Grade I listed cemetery and its arboretum.

Observations on Being has been developed by Marshmallow Laser Feast in collaboration with artists James Bulley and Natan Sinigaglia and some of the extraordinary and influential scientists, writers and musicians who have inspired and informed their work, including Jon HopkinsSuzanne CianiMerlin SheldrakeDavid AbramDaisy Lafarge and Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Medicine MEVIS, pioneers in medical image computing.

Observations on Being was commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust and produced in partnership with York Mediale, working closely with the Friends of London Road Cemetery. It is presented in partnership with Historic Coventry Trust, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Coventry City Council.

The production is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation. Part of the #GreenFutures programme.

The Tides Within Us was originally co-commissioned with York Mediale, supported and presented by York Museums Trust and made in collaboration with Fraunhofer MEVIS.


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SAT 3 JUL 2021 TO SAT 14 AUG 2021
Duration: Two dates available Sat 3 Jul 12pm & Sat 14 Aug 12pm

Suitable for ages 14+

Commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust produced by York Mediale. 

Part of the #GreenFutures programme.


Flock Together is a birdwatching collective for people of colour. Their mission is to challenge the underrepresentation of people of colour in nature while reclaiming green spaces for those historically marginalised groups - one walk at a time.

As part of the Observations on Being series, explore Coventry's Charterhouse Field as part of a guided community birding walk led by Flock Together founders Ollie Olanipekun and Nadeem Perera. These walks will encourage local communities to reclaim green spaces and highlight how connecting with nature can enable a sense of peace, presence and belonging. These walks are designed to be accessible, full of birds and something for locals, young and old, to take pride in.

As part of our commitment to provide a safe environment for all at our events during the unprecedented, fast-changing Covid-19 situation, we ask you to carry a mask, sanitise/wash your hands and observe Covid-19 guidelines.

Follow Flock Together on Instagram #BIRDGANG.

If you can't wait for the Flock Together walks, feel free to take a self-guided walk with your friends and family, guides available to collect at our Observations on Being Box Office (CV1 2JT). Digital guide for Flock Together also coming soon! 

We also have some binoculars on site for you to use if you don’t have your own.


SAT 28 AUG 2021
Duration: 12 noon - 8pm

*You will be transferred to an external ticketing website.

Co-produced by Coventry Arts Collective and Coventry City of Culture Trust

An urban village fete of music, food, dancing, performance, people, and storytelling for the whole family. Beneath the Trees invites you to feel the magic of the earth beneath your feet and find the space to breathe with family and friends.

Join Coventry Arts Collective for a magical and memorable experience at Naul’s Mill Park, a beautiful Edwardian park in the centre of the city as you uncover one of our hidden green spaces, full of nature and wildlife. Enjoy all that the park has to offer including the rose garden, the spoken word tree and the nearby River Sherbourne. Visitors can also experience a thought-provoking wooden sculpture created by Alfie Bradley (Knife Angel), taking inspiration from the natural heritage of this hidden green gem. 

Come along and experience a range of on-stage activity from local, and global, performers and artists, take part in workshops and find out more about the green work happening in our city as you engage with local eco-organisations.

Entry to this event is free but limited.

Please note: Entry times are staggered due to Covid restrictions. You only need to book one ticket per person, which will allow you to access the venue at the specified time and stay for the whole day.

Apply to perform live, take a crafters table, sell your arts and crafts, speak, dance, sing and tell your story: APPLY NOW

Beneath the Trees is commissioned as part of the #GreenFutures programme supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the #LoveCoventry programme, supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery Community Fund.


FRI 27 AUG 2021 TO MON 30 AUG 2021

If you’re a fan of outdoor, green spaces or cinema then this is the place for you in the bank holiday weekend.

On 27 – 30 August, join us at Green Futures events in our beautiful parks, Coventry Canal and other green spaces. There will be a wide range of activities such as live performances, floating library, boat trips, animation workshops, film events and more.


Walking Forest

Walking Forest is a 10-year artwork that culminates in the planting of a new intentional woodland by 2028 to mark the connection between women, activism and trees. As part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 Walking Forest will deliver an ongoing campaign of activity including a camp and a climate action as our year unfolds. 

Random String: The Canal Networked

With Ludic Rooms

Random String encourages us to explore their connection to the often forgotten urban green space of the canal corridor.

Culminating in a four-day festival in Coventry’s historic Canal Basin bringing light, music, installations and projections to the canal as well as performances, workshops and online experiments.


Featured Events

Selected highlights from Coventry UK City of Culture Trust’s Green Futures programme already announced include:

A major new commission by leading art and technology studio Marshmallow Laser Feast, Observations on Being (22 June – 15 August 2021), major immersive art commission Observations on Being by Marshmallow Laser Feast: a unique journey that combines art, science and technology to explore our bodies and the natural world at Coventry’s London Road Cemetery.

The immersive artworks will combine art, science and technology to trace the invisible line that connects the human experience to nature and the universe, encouraging audiences to marvel at the natural phenomena that enable our existence and are so wonderfully demonstrated everywhere, from gardens and local parks, to ancient woodlands and rainforests.

Observations on Being is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, and was commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust and produced in partnership with York Mediale. It is presented in partnership with Historic Coventry Trust, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Coventry City Council.

Small Bells Ring (July) invites readers to hop aboard the RV Furor Scribendi, a floating library crammed full of short stories. The boat has been created with both usefulness and beauty in mind, and will visit set locations across our waterways, offering visitors the opportunity to browse and borrow books or stay on board and read as it moves between stops.

Small Bells Ring will be a catalyst for change, empowerment and expanding a sense of shared community as people get involved along the way. The boat will visit set locations at set times each month and visitors will be able to borrow books just as they do in a regular library.

Visitors will also be able to browse or read on board as the library moves between stops. It will also make specific day trips along the canal for pre-booked visitors and groups when an entire story will be read aloud by invited artists, actors and writers over a day.

Small Bells Ring by Studio Morison is a Super Slow Way and Coventry City of Culture Trust co-commission created with the support of National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Canal & River Trust and British Council and in collaboration with Lancashire and Coventry Library Services and their communities.

CastAway (July – August) is a new, environmentally led outdoor spectacle from Highly Sprung, designed to challenge our ‘Throw Away Society’. Presented as part of a year-long collaboration with Canal & River Trust, CastAway is a response to the devastating effect that plastic pollution is having on our canals and waterways, and uses the power of street performance to highlight this global issue to audiences of all ages.

Commissioned by the Coventry City of Culture Trust, the Canal and River Trust, The Arches Worcester Festivals at Severn Arts and Basingstoke Festival. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund & Arts Council of England.

Nest Residencies will mark the opening of the Daimler Powerhouse this summer (August 2021), a new creative hub for the start of City of Culture located in a former car factory in the UK’s ‘Motown’. The NEST space is next door to the Daimler Powerhouse, the new home for Talking Birds and its environmentally charged ecosystem for independent artists and makers in the city.

The residencies, co-created with Talking Birds, provide time, space and conversations with other artists, and are designed to allow creatives to think, experiment and take a punt on one of those 'What if...?' ideas. The residencies will result in a series of commissions across the year including partnerships with Ludic Rooms and the Coventry Biennial.

Beneath the Trees (28 August) is an urban village fete of music, food, dancing, performance, people, and storytelling at Naul’s Mill Park, a beautiful Edwardian park in the centre of the city. Families can enjoy all that the park has to offer including the rose garden, the spoken word tree, the nearby River Sherbourne, as well as a thought-provoking new sculpture from Knife Angel artist Alfie Bradley.

It is co-produced by Coventry Arts Collective and Coventry City of Culture Trust, supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund and Providing collaborations between Coventry’s creative communities, Random String Festival (November 2021), is a two-week digital arts festival in partnership with artists locally and nationally to create a series of workshops, events and installations with a focus on the Coventry Canal.

The festival will be headlined by Bishi, a singer, electronic rock-sitarist and performance artist. It is curated by Coventry digital arts collective Ludic Rooms and supported by the Canal & River Trust and National Lottery Project Grant from Arts Council England.