Youthful Cities Programme

The Youthful Cities Programme is a partnership between Coventry UK City of Culture, the British Council and Youthful Cities to facilitate a cultural and creative skills exchange between young people across the globe. It has been developed to enable young adults (age 18-25) to creatively respond to important, urgent and youth-focused issues in their cities, encouraging more active participation in civic matters.

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.  

The Youthful Cities Programme sees the Coventry City of Culture Trust working with four international partner cities each selected for their youthful profile: Beirut (Lebanon), Bogotá (Colombia), Detroit (United States of America) and Nairobi (Kenya). The four project teams are focused on different artforms spanning music, poetry and spoken word, street art and digital storytelling. All projects are supported by expertise from international and Coventry based arts organisations that are collaborating to build a programme of creative development and ideas exchange that manifest in new work that will be featured across the City of Culture Programme. All projects will feature in the Global Youth Series, the first event of which will take place on  Thursday 11 November 2021. Click below for more information.


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

The Youthful Cities Programme Teams

Coventry x Beirut – Poetry & Spoken Word Exchange

The Coventry x Beirut Youthful Cities Programme Team is being led by B.A.C.E (Be a Change Everywhere, founded by poet John Bernard) in Coventry and Rusted Radishes, Literary and Art Journal in Beirut.

The Cov x Beirut team, of twelve writers and artists (six from Coventry and six from Beirut) are currently writing a new creative piece ‘Transnational Lag Express’ building on the themes and learning from their exchange that will be premiered at the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival 23-26 September

Find out more about the Beirut writers


Young Artists:

Megan Waters (Coventry), Theotima Ioannou (Coventry), Lewis Driver (Coventry), Alice Richmond (Coventry), Christina Okorie (Coventry), Kelvin Adomako Ampong (Coventry),J.D Harlock (Beirut), Nur Turkmani (Beirut), Amina Hassan (Beirut), Yasmina Tabbal (Beirut), Nour Annan (Beirut), Alfred Jeffrey Naddaff (Beirut)

Coventry x Detroit – Music Exchange

The Coventry x Detroit Youthful Cities Programme Team is being led by Media Mania (Coventry) and Mosaic Youth Theatre (Detroit). 

The Coventry x Detroit team, of 10 young songwriters and musicians (five from Coventry and 5 from Detroit) are working towards the creation of a collaborative album which is set to be presented as part of the CVX Weekend, a pioneering arts activism programme curated by young people around the themes of community, unity and social change, in February 2022. 

Young Artists:

Kimberly Musa (Coventry), Sibongile Mkoba (Coventry), Sarah Owen (Coventry), Joe Beesley (Coventry), Andrew Richard Hudson (Coventry), Coleman Ward (Destroit), Cystal Tigney (Detroit), Duane Hewins Jr (Detroit), Kevon Harris (Detroit), Nicholas Huey (Detroit)

Coventry x Nairobi – Digital Storytelling Lab

The Digital Storytelling Lab is a unique partnership between Coventry City of Culture Trust, British Council, The Space and BBC R&D. 

The project team, of 12 young creatives (filmmakers, digital artists, writers, musicians and changemakers from Coventry and Nairobi) are developing bold new digital stories that will reveal how a new generation of storytellers can inspire change within their cities. 

New work from the Digital Storytelling lab will be premiered and distributed in Spring 2022. 

Young Artists:

Tracey Mwaura (Nairobi), Millan Kiptum (Nairobi), Analo Kanga (Nairobi), Naserian Koikai (Nairobi), Precious Narotso (Nairobi), Mike Khakame (Nairobi), Mollie Davidson (Coventry), James Grubb (Coventry), Michael Mihoc (Coventry), Chloe Deakin (Coventry), Ademiluyi Owofadeju (Coventry), Lanaire Aderimi (Coventry)  

Coventry x Bogota – Street Art Exchange

The Coventry x Bogotá team is being led by Graffwerk and Jay McKeown (Coventry) and Vertigo Graffiti (Bogotá). 

The project team, of twelve street artists and creatives, are working towards the creation of a new wall in FarGo village in early September and a new wall in Bogotá in Oct (exact time TBC)

Young Artists:

Rory McKenna (Coventry), Tariq Phillip Evans (Coventry), Cameron Armstrong (Coventry), Kiene Tuckley (Coventry), Luke Spencer (Coventry), Machila Kennedy (Coventry), Daniela Martínez – Plasma (Bogotá), Sebastián Calderón Cortés – Chulo  (Bogotá), Ana Lucía Morales Pulido – Alucina (Bogotá), Tatiana Contreras – Micromomentos (Bogotá), Paula Andrea Lemus – Naranjita (Bogotá), Mauricio Moscoso – MRZ (Bogotá)