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Coventry is City of Culture 2021


Back in 2017 it was first announced that Coventry had been chosen as the winner of the UK City of Culture 2021. Coventry University was a principal partner and a bid sponsor for the City of Culture 2021 project.

The City of Culture competition is held every four years and the winner is given the prestigious title for 12 months, with opportunities to run a host of arts and cultural activities.

Coventry has a history of reinventing itself. It is a city of peace, a city of innovation and a city of diversity. In 2021 we celebrated everything in our history from the jet engine to watchmaking and leading lights of the ska music scene - The Specials.

So much started in Coventry and so much continues to grow and develop into the future.

Watch ‘Our Cov’: our City of Culture bid video




Chenine Bhathena

Coventry University worked closely with the Coventry City of Culture Trust ahead of 2021, with Creative Director, Chenine Bhathena.

After Coventry was announced as City of Culture for 2021, Chenine Bhathena was appointed as Creative Director, the architect of the whole creative programme:

Coventry is a diverse and youthful city and a global leader in peace and reconciliation.

The year of 2021 will be a chance to tell some great stories about Coventry and position the city differently. I am inspired by the landscape of the city centre, from the ring road, public squares and rooftops through to canals, parks and stadiums.

The city will be our stage and we will create a programme that not only takes culture to the people of the city but will be designed and curated by and with local communities.

It’s a truly special time to be in Coventry and will be an unforgettable year.

Chenine Bhathena

Coventry is a vibrant, diverse city with a large population of young people. It remains a city of peace and reconciliation, welcoming migrants, refugees and people from all over the world.

See some of the community projects going on at Coventry University for the city including links with schools to boost reading, upskilling our communities, and litter picking.


City of Culture 2021 events included:

Festival of Refugee and Migrant Arts
A celebration of the contribution that refugee and migrant communities are making across the world.

Taxi Arts Centre
Coventry has always played an important role in the development and manufacturing of the iconic British Taxi. In 2021, Coventry schools commissioned artists to transform seven electric taxis into works of art.

Ring Road Poem
Coventry’s Ring Road became the backdrop of Britain’s first two-mile-long poem.

Shakespeare Film Screenings
The Royal Shakespeare Company took residence in the city for a year-long programme of events.

Streets of Cultures
Coventry’s most varied neighbourhoods were celebrated through poetry on the pavements, line dancing on the lawns and even dinners on the driveways.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023