Coventry celebrates Six months as UK City of Culture

Date posted: November 16, 2021
Performers in Coventry with their arms raised, in the background is a large puppet and a cluster of yellow fairy lights

Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture has reached the halfway stage and has already brought significant benefits to the city through a range of thought providing events.

Coventry City of Culture kicked off on Saturday 15 May during Covid-19 restrictions with the release of a George Eliot-inspired short film Timeless Words Made New with a music track by local Producer Coolie.

Six months on, City of Culture has seen activity across every neighbourhood in Coventry, including smaller events created alongside communities such as Party on the Green and European Hearts and city centre celebrations at the Assembly Festival Gardens.

There has also been larger, city-wide activity including Coventry Moves, Faith, Little Amal’s Walk and Summer of Surprises.

Just over 141,000 tickets have been issued for live events taking place in the first six months, with an estimated further 52,000 attending un-ticketed, free events.

260,000 people have also engaged with City of Culture events online due to an increased focus on live streaming.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust has directly created 102 jobs, including employing 14 apprentices.

More than 1,100 City Hosts have been fully trained and deployed, racking up over 12,000 volunteering hours.

Economically, City of Culture has secured £172.6 million of direct investment into the city since winning the title in December 2017.

In the first six months, the Trust has awarded £4.5 million to projects led by local artists and organisations.

Both large and small organisations have been supported, alongside individuals and freelance workers.

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:

The city can be proud of everything that has been achieved over the last six months – but there’s much more to come in the second half of our year.

The Trust and our partners have delivered in extraordinary circumstances, and we are so glad that audiences have responded so positively.

Since the bidding period, the city has been promised that City of Culture would have a transformative impact. Through the multiple capital projects in the city centre and across the city’s cultural venues, to the unprecedented investment in local arts organisations, to the huge interest in volunteering, and the creation of our apprenticeships – we are well on our way to achieving our ambitions.

In June, Coventry 2021’s signature event Coventry Moves saw music, theatre and dance taken to every ward in the city while thousands watched the day’s events unfold online.

This was followed by events such as the Assembly Festival Garden in the city centre which will return in March 2022 and the CVX Festival which gave a platform for young people to create a youthful festival with music and street dance.

The world-famous Turner Prize exhibition arrived at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in September, being presented for the first time in the Midlands and will remain in place until January, alongside the third edition of the Coventry Biennial.

The visit of Little Amal as part of The Walk drew thousands into the city in October, highlighting Coventry as a city of welcome and sanctuary.

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