A montage of lots of people involved in Coventry city of culture

Coventry City of Culture 2021 Trust

January 2020

Coventry UK City of Culture Trust are producing an exciting programme of activity for 2021 which will celebrate the cultural heritage of every part of the city and its neighbouring communities through music, theatre, poetry, dance, spectacle and much more. The British Council is the international partner for Coventry, and we have made a five-year commitment to the city in supporting its international aspirations, working in close partnership with Coventry UK City of Culture Trust.

Our approach to engaging with Coventry is informed by our learning from Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and the developing British Council Global Cities Framework. Our vision for the cities where we work is that they will be prosperous, peaceful and equitable cities – internationally facing and internationally known, strengthened through cultural relations with the UK. We are working with Coventry through a place-based whole-city approach in a multi-disciplinary way across our sectors of Arts, Education and Civil Society to support the city taking a step-change in its international relationships and connectivity through the UK City of Culture programme.

With one year to go until programme launch this is an important moment to share some of the work that has already taken place. In the first year our shared activity has included but is not limited to:

  • Meeting the sector through round tables, workshops and some inspirational conversations with partners
  • Commissioning research on the city’s existing international connections, delivered by Coventry University and the University of Warwick with Earthen Lamp. 
  • Supporting the indexing of Coventry’s youthfulness (Coventry is a youthful city where the average age is 32) alongside four other global cities: Detroit, Bogota, Nairobi, and Beirut. Find out more about this opportunity.
  • Launching the Coventry International Changemakers bursary in partnership with the Coventry UK City of Culture Trust. Find out more about this opportunity here.

Looking to the future of our work with Coventry

We are committed to an enduring and sustainable relationship with Coventry to establish the city on a global stage during the programme in 2021 and beyond.

The British Council was the international partner for Hull UK City of Culture 2017, and we are proud to continue our legacy work with the city, continuing to support its international ambitions. Recently we launched the Hull Emerging Cultural Leaders Bursaries in partnership with Absolutely Cultured to support international professional development of the city’s emerging cultural leaders. 

Reflecting on one year to go until the launch of the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 programme, Chenine Bhathena, Director for Coventry UK City of Culture Trust said:

“The programme for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture is driven by our creative, diverse, youthful and connected communities. The work we have done with the British Council has allowed us to better-understand the strength of the city’s international connections and to recognise and build upon Coventry’s global footprint."

“Next year, our cohort of International Changemakers will be developing new international artistic connections, our Youthful Cities cohorts will be putting creativity at the forefront of civic change projects as we test new thinking around cultural democracy and building societies for all people, our multiple twinned communities will start to share new cultural dialogues about being human today and our reputation for and status as the UK’s only city of peace and reconciliation and our work towards making human rights reality will be celebrated, as we move towards a year of extraordinary culture across the city.”