Coventry University art installation features Ricoh Arena letters

CHOIR letters on display at Delia Derbyshire
University news

Tuesday 06 December 2022

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Coventry University has given a temporary home to the Ricoh sign letters salvaged from what is now Coventry Building Society Arena in the form of an art installation at the newest addition to its campus.

The 1.5 metre letters, rearranged to spell CHOIR, will be illuminated in the Delia Derbyshire building until the end of January, as work continues to finish the new Faculty of Arts and Humanities building. 

CHOIR was previously exhibited during Random String Festival as part of UK City of Culture 2021 after being salvaged by BBC CWR. It’s now on display at Coventry University with the letters illuminated in different sequences alongside the One Voice Choir audio. 

Students and staff will create fresh audio for the exhibit, which will be accessed by the public on their phones via a QR code.

The exhibit faces Starley Gardens on the other side of Cox Street and looks towards Coventry Cathedral. The artwork is being displayed in collaboration with arts organisation Ludic Rooms and BBC CWR and will be in place until 30 January.

Displaying these iconic letters is a hugely exciting opportunity for us. The artwork fits in with the aims of the new Delia Derbyshire building to work across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the piece really resonates with the Delia Derbyshire association, contributing to our civic role and how we work together to bring those creative skills to the space. 

It’s our first opportunity to speak to the city, and CHOIR will engage audiences outside the building, hopefully sparking their curiosity.

Lead on the project, Craig Ashley, Associate Head of School – Enterprise and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities

This is an iconic illuminated sign for a lot of people in Coventry and it works so brilliantly in the space of the new Delia Derbyshire building. These letters could very easily have ended up in a skip and finding some new way of breathing life into them and sharing them with more people was important to us. We wanted this to be relevant to the people of Coventry and act as a kind of siren song to lead people toward the building, gradually revealing itself over the coming months.

Both Ludic Rooms' Co-Artistic Directors originally came to Coventry to study at the School of Art and Design, albeit a little while ago! The development of this building and the potential role it might play in bridging the gap between the university and the artists and communities in the city, that's really exciting for us.

Dom Breadmore, Co-Artistic Director for Ludic Rooms

When we heard the Ricoh letters would be coming down from the stadium, we knew we had to save them for the city. They’d become part of the Coventry skyline, a visual representation that after being away you were ‘home’ so there’s was no way we could see them consigned to a skip. We’re delighted that a set of letters so synonymous with the city will now be housed in a Coventry University building named after one of the most significant daughters of the city, Delia Derbyshire.

Presenter Phil Upton from the Breakfast show on BBC CWR