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Artwork from Black Arts Movement Project.

Black Arts Movement in Coventry


Coventry University

Project lead

Carolina Rito

Collaborators and partners

  • Sylvia Theuri
  • Herbert Gallery and Museum (Francis Nielson and Rosie Addenbrooke)
  • MAOKWO (Laura Nyahuye)

Project support

  • Tanazia Gabriel-Fleary
  • Kauser Hussain

Duration of project

January - June 2021

Project overview

This project explores the unique and exceptional role of Coventry and the Midlands in the foundation of the British Black Art Movement (BAM) in the 1980s. Although underrepresented in the local art scene, art-related syllabi and prevailing local narrative; Coventry was home to a paradigm shift in British art history. Key figures of the movement, including Keith Piper and Eddie Chambers, met in the city, when studying in the art foundation course at the Lanchester Polytechnic (1979-80). In 1983, these artists participate in the historical Pan Afrikan Connection exhibition at the Herbert, giving an unprecedented visibility to the movement.

Black Arts Movement in Coventry will celebrate this legacy. Via workshops, a series of talks, and a working group engaging local BAME artists and academics, the project will further explore this history and its contemporary resonances. The public events will bring to Coventry the key members of the BAM to talk about their experience in the 1980s and the movement’s journey until today. These events will also explore the history of the movement in Coventry with local practitioners, art students and the general public. Throughout the funded period, a working group will meet to continue building a critical research platform on the Black Arts Movement in the region.

For the recorded interviews with researchers and key artists, please visit Black Arts Movement in Coventry CPT.

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