Youthful Cities Programme

The Youthful Cities Programme is a cultural and creative skills exchange between young people across the globe. Created through a partnership between Coventry UK City of Culture, the British Council and Youthful Cities, the programme enables young adults (age 18-25) to creatively respond to important, urgent and youth-focused issues in their cities. 

Coventry is one of the youngest cities in the UK, and as part of the Coventry UK City of Culture programme, it is exploring how a youthful, diverse, digital city can reimagine the role that culture can play in society. The Youthful Cities programme also builds on the city’s reputation for international exchange of ideas and cultures, as an originator of the twin city movement, an international symbol of peace and reconciliation.   

Image: Kevin Vagabond

Image: Kevin Vagabond

Youthful Cities

The Youthful Cities programme has been shaped by research from Youthful Cities, who, since 2012, have been on a mission to make cities around the world better places for your people to live, work and play. Working with local young researchers just ahead of the pandemic hitting in 2020, they ranked cities globally on youth-designed measures, starting a dialogue that put young voices centre-stage, allowing them to express what mattered to them, and to cities. All five partner cities were identified as prioritising their young residents.

The Youthful Cities Index uses data from across the five partner cities, with 300 youth researchers engaged across the globe to consider 21 urban attributes that research showed to be the key components that youth care about across ‘live’, ‘work’ and ‘play’ attributes, totalling over 750 points of data. The Index highlights both strengths and areas for improvement in each city and is intended to serve as a resource for young people, as well as policymakers and city officials, keen to attract and retain young people. Youthfulness in this context is not limited by age but defined by mind-sets and a coming together of creative, innovative and dynamic ideas.


The new partner cities are all unique, with specific opportunities and challenges. Although spread across four continents, this programme will highlight commonalities in each city by empowering youth to lead social change. Each partner programme will develop links between civic and cultural organisations in Coventry and the international partner city, supporting international collaboration between young artists, makers, storytellers and activists, through creative and digital residencies, including in street or visual arts, music, and poetry, spoken word and storytelling. 

Image: Jay McKeown

Image: Jay McKeown

Youthful Cities Programme - Coventry X Bogota: Street Art Exchange

Six young artists from Coventry and six young artists from Bogota have met online through the last year, sharing reflections on their cities and their priorities as street artists to develop and create new murals in each city, led by local arts organisations (Graffwerk and Jay McKeown – Coventry) and Vertigo Graffiti (Bogota).

YOUTHFUL CITIES PROGRAMME - Coventry x Beirut: Poetry & Spoken Word

The Youthful Cities Poetry and Spoken Word exchange brought 12 young writers and poets from Coventry and Beirut together through Spring and Summer 2021 to create a new spoken word performance ‘Transnational Lag Express’ and short film ‘Not Much Longer Now’ that were both premiered at the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival in September.


The Global Youth Series continues in 2022 with day 2 (February 18th) and day 3 (28th April). Both days will bring together young artists and changemakers local and global to share their experiences and creativity as it relates to building brighter and more creative futures for cities across the world.