Legacy of Coventry musical icon Delia Derbyshire lives on in her hometown as Coventry University officially opens building in her honour

A crowd look on as Stuart Maconie and Cosey Fanni Tutti chat on a stage inside the Delia Derbyshire building

Stuart Maconie and Cosey Fanni Tutti speak on stage at the opening of the Delia Derbyshire building

University news

Friday 03 May 2024

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The life and work of musical icon Delia Derbyshire will help inspire future generations of artists and creators as Coventry University proudly opened the building named in her honour.

Delia was best known for her ground-breaking work with the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop and her realisation of the famous Doctor Who theme music, and now her name will inspire those looking to make their mark on the creative world.

The Delia Derbyshire building is home to Coventry University’s art and design courses, as well as being a collaborative space for other courses within media and performing arts, humanities and social sciences, and features game-changing technology in what is the biggest investment in arts and creative industry education in the Midlands for years.

The official opening took place on Thursday, 2 May, and among the incredible line-up of artists and immersive shows was a video projection of Delia herself creating the music that saw her rise to fame. The video was created by Deliaphonic, a local organisation which celebrates the esteemed Coventry woman’s life, work and legacy, and which collaborated with Coventry University on the launch event that took place just three days before what would be Delia’s 87th birthday.

Among the guests on the day were BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Stuart Maconie who hosted a panel event and a talk with Cosey Fanni Tutti, whose new book explores the life of Delia Derbyshire. Other exciting performances on the day included music from Cosmic Neighbourhood, an immersive 360-degree album playback by Loss><Gain, film screenings and DJ sets, among others.

Delia was born in Coventry and grew up here during the Blitz. She went on to Cambridge University and later worked in London, mainly for the BBC, where she joined the newly formed Radiophonic Workshop. Throughout her life she regularly returned to Coventry to visit her mother, who was always immensely proud of her success and loved to tell her friends about what she was doing.

The city skyline has changed enormously since Delia was a girl, much of which is due to the development of Coventry University. I really cannot imagine Delia's reaction if someone had told her that one day there would be such a thriving electronic music facility here and what is more, that it would actually be named after her. She would find it staggering that people still remember her name and that her music is played more than ever.

Clive Blackburn, Delia Derbyshire's partner of 21 years

The incredible facilities at the state-of-the-art Delia Derbyshire building include two immersive studios and a large-scale projects Hyperstudio, which was renamed the Bugatti Trust Hyperstudio, with the Trust bringing a 1930 Bugatti 35B racing car to the event.

Delia Derbyshire is one of the most significant musicians of the modern era, who realised perhaps the most influential piece of electronic music ever, the Dr Who theme, which fired the imaginations of generations. I’m delighted to be part of this landmark commemoration of her in her hometown.

Stuart Maconie

Delia Derbyshire proudly called Coventry her home, as do we, and that is why we could not be prouder to name this amazing centre of creativity after her. It is home to technology, studios and workshops that mean the next generation of innovators and visionaries are given the chance to watch their ideas bloom and their creativity harnessed.

Delia made sure her music was heard far and wide and at Coventry University we give students and the city the chance to ensure they have their time in the spotlight.

Professor John Latham CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University

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