8 September 2021: Coventry City of Culture Trust today announced the latest events open for booking taking place this autumn and winter. From the arrival in the city of Little Amal, a giant puppet who is travelling 8,000km in support of refugees, to a celebration of Sound System Culture, more events have been announced and will form part of the year-long festival that reflects Coventry as a diverse, modern city, with hundreds of ways for citizens and visitors to take part. Tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday 10 September.
A Crash Course in Cloudspotting by artist Raquel Maseguer invites visitors on an intimate audio journey which explores the depths of human connection and the subversive act of lying down in public. The immersive installation at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has been created from over 250 stories from people living with invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses, and presents a gentle horizontal journey through the heart of these experiences. The artist will also be present for some of the sessions, allowing visitors to explore the installation in even more depth.
Home: Art and Homelessness Festival will host an exhibition of the same name created by artists across Coventry with current or previous lived experience of homelessness. International artists who have lived with these similar experiences have provided stunning visual artworks incorporating a range of art forms, including painting, sketching, murals and sculpture, emphasising the pure talent that can come from homeless communities. Meanwhile, installed on Warwick Row, a road leading into the city centre known for its high concentration of estate agents, Agency is a photography exhibition and accompanying community newspaper featuring ‘assisted self-portraits’ created by Anthony Luvera with people who have experienced homelessness in Coventry.
The Walking Forest, a 10 year artwork that marks the connection between women, activism and trees, will stage a city wide performative action across two days centred on a felled tree that will be carried through the city, before making its way to Glasgow ahead of the COP 26 climate talks. The Walking Forest is part of the Green Futures programme, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Following the phenomenal international success of The Jungle, Good Chance, in collaboration with world-famous creators of War Horse Handspring Puppet Company, is presenting its most extraordinary work yet: The Walk – a travelling festival of art and hope in support of refugees, with Artistic Direction from Amir Nizar Zuabi. October will witness the puppet of a young refugee, ‘Little Amal’ who will travel 8,000km across Europe, telling the story of shared humanity and the experience of displaced children, separated from their families. Coventry City of Culture is the first stop in the Midlands for Little Amal, and her visit will be marked with a special programme reflecting Coventry’s proud history as a city of sanctuary, with events created by young people and migrant communities working with Stand Up and Be Counted, the UK’s first theatre company of sanctuary.
Light, and the possibility of hope, will also be celebrated. Abundance will be taking a circular route through Coventry. The event has been created by a collaborative community of artists responding to four themes: City of Light – the city lights up with lamps, lanterns; City of Sounds – creating a soundscape across the city; City of Love and Freedom - play, family; and City of Hope – capturing the female voice, female stories of the city, and our unity and togetherness. Each artist has a different artistic specialism that they can bring to the programme; including costume design, dance, filmmaking and creative writing.
Coventry Sound Systems is a celebration of Coventry’s rich cultural links to its twin city of Kingston, Jamaica, and the unique influence Sound System culture has had on Coventry and the UK’s wider music landscape. Dancehall Vibes will play and promote reggae dancehall music in the city and beyond, celebrating the artists that made the genre what it is today, from Yellowman and Don Carlos, to Beenie Man and Buju Banton. Meanwhile Dub and Roots takes over The Box at FarGo Village with the deep bass and conscious lyrics that are trademarks of this form of Reggae, presenting Dub as pioneered by the likes of Lee Scratch Perry and King Tubby. The movement has informed the worlds of drum and bass, jungle, techno and pop and Roots Reggae, spearheaded by artists including The Abyssinians and Bob Marley.
Following on from the Sound of Cov in June, which saw eight radio stations from across Coventry and Warwickshire work together to amplify the voices of local people both on air and on stage, The Community Radio Conference and Community Radio Awards will host a day-long conference covering topics from journalism, writing for radio and community engagement. The event aims to encourage the power of collaborative working.
The Coventry x Volgograd tablecloth is an artistic reminder of the friendship between Coventry and Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad in Russia. The two cities became the world’s first to be twinned during the Second World War as a symbol of solidarity for the devastation they both experienced, kick-starting an international movement. The women of Coventry led in this international act, embroidering their names onto a tablecloth and each donating a pound towards the rebuilding of Stalingrad. A new Digital Tablecloth will commemorate this, and forge new links between citizens of the two cities, before being presented around the UK next year.
New events as part of Coventry Biennial will be announced this week, including Listening to the Anthropocene at Coventry Cathedral, an exhibition of sound and moving image artworks exploring the idea that we have moved into a new geological age - one that is marked by the impact of human activities on Earth. The 2021 edition of the Biennial is titled HYPER-POSSIBLE, in reference to the radical nature of Coventry’s history and signifying a positive way forward following a deeply difficult few years. The Biennial will see more than 50 artists exhibiting in seven locations across Coventry and Warwickshire from October to January.
Love Coventry: Verbal Reading Rooms forms part of the City of Culture’s goal to achieve ‘one million reads ’in the city. Aiming to make arts and culture accessible to all, Verbal Arts Centre will bring their Reading Rooms model to Coventry.
Love Coventry: Try it! is a programme which presents an opportunity to learn new hobbies and skills to the Coventry and Warwickshire community. The multiple clubs on offer are the perfect excuse to try something you’ve always wanted to, whilst making new friends along the way!
Chenine Bhethana, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture said:
“As we move into Autumn, there is a huge range of activity taking place across the city, from environmental activism and spiritual enlightenment to vibrant dancehall music and a celebration of light, peace, hope and aspiration, Coventry truly has something for everyone. These events celebrate the city as a utopia - of creativity, liveliness and internationalism; make sure you don't miss out on the excitement of the coming months.”