Ground-breaking electronic music innovator honoured in Gallery of Living History Schools Competition

Andy Serkis joins winners of this year's Gallery of Living History competition on stage

Andy Serkis joins winners of this year's competition on stage

University news

Thursday 20 June 2024

Press contact

Press Team

Coventry-born sonic pioneer Delia Derbyshire is being celebrated with a new soundscape created by local school children for this year’s Gallery of Living History Schools Competition.

The contest, championed by award-winning actor and director Andy Serkis and supported by Coventry University, invited schools to celebrate a community hero by designing a visual soundscape telling their story.

The winning entry from The Blue Coat School will be installed in the heart of Coventry in the base of the Tree of Hands statue in Starley Gardens, opposite Coventry University’s newly-opened Delia Derbyshire building.

Two other entries from Polesworth School also celebrated Mrs Shirley King, a member of the school’s cleaning staff whose charity work has made a real difference.

Coventry University's College of the Arts and Society has played a key role in the competition, hosting workshops enabling school children to explore the possibilities of augmented reality in their designs.

University students were central to these workshops, passing on their knowledge to youngsters. 

The winning design was unveiled during a special ceremony at the Delia Derbyshire building.

I’m really impressed with the entries to this year’s competition and am delighted that the children's entries wanted particularly to celebrate women this time.

It was terrific to see an ordinary woman, Mrs Shirley King, celebrated for working in an extraordinary way. However, the Delia Derbyshire soundscape is a very fitting overall winner, helping to highlight her childhood, education, her career with the BBC and her post-BBC work.

It makes interesting use of audio and augmented reality to tell her story in an engaging way and we’re thrilled to be unveiling this tribute to a true pioneer and Coventrian.

Coventry University Chancellor, Margaret Casely Hayford CBE

It was really interesting to see the range of people nominated and the engagement of the schools has been phenomenal - they’ve all really taken on board the theme and used the technology really effectively to create some wonderful soundscapes. All the nominees were very worthy, but Delia Derbyshire is a very fitting winner and this selection by the judges echoes the result of the public vote, in which thousands of people took part.

It’s great that the winning entry honours Delia Derbyshire, and will be installed right next to our new building which also carries her name. Our students have been fantastic in their engagement with our school teams, helping them to refine their skills using the technology and helping to inspire them. The Gallery of Living History Schools Competition is all about how history is celebrated and this soundscape will help us to remember an amazing individual whose achievements were not fully appreciated within her lifetime.

Dr Bianca Wright, who co-ordinated Coventry University’s role in the competition

The creative way in which children have approached this competition, thinking deeply about their subjects and why they should be celebrated, is amazing. I’m also pleased that so many people engaged with the public vote and that we now have an incredible soundscape to display paying tribute to a wonderful sonic pioneer in Delia Derbyshire.

Andy Serkis

Find out more about the Gallery of Living History.