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Coventry is UK City of Culture 2021

Evelynn Wenman outside the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Student helps bring Turner Prize to Coventry

City of Culture 2021 news - 13 December 2021

Fine Art BA (Hons) student Evelynn Wenman worked with artists and technicians to install the world-famous Turner Prize exhibition at Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, gaining invaluable hands-on industry experience.

Our City of Culture

We were delighted to have been able to play our part in Coventry being named the UK’s City of Culture for 2021 - a year-long spectacle of art, music, theatre and culture!

As the celebrations continued into 2022, the Assembly Festival Garden returned to our campus in April, with four pop-up venues and a programme of spectacular events, creating the city’s biggest outdoor social venue with tables, lights, and locally sourced food and drink.

Our students and staff helped the festivities reach more people through their projects and volunteering:

  • The Digital Archive was launched to capture Coventry’s rich cultural history and continues to grow.
  • Our Orchestra in Residence brought more of their blend of classical and modern music to the city.

Post-pandemic, 2022 meant Coventry could showcase its vibrant and diverse nature on a national and international stage, helping to revitalise the arts after the challenges to the sector.

Our campus, students, staff and our rich heritage and innovation are part of the city’s fabric. As a Principal Partner, we played a huge role in ensuring City of Culture had a lasting legacy for everyone who lives, learns and works in the city.

scientist with equipment on his head working on a machine in a dark shabby room

Orchestra of The Swan

Coventry’s resident chamber orchestra performed The Infernal Machine at Drapers’ Hall; a concert that explored the harpsichord in all its guises, from supporting role to the solo spotlight.

The Wave sports centre and Spire Bar in front of a backdrop of blue sky and surrounded by trees and people walking.

Pioneering Coventry

Showcasing the life and work of Coventry’s pre-eminent post-war photographer Richard Sadler, this three-part exhibition comprised – Pioneering City, Pioneering Industry and Pioneering Cathedral.


Artistic image of a person dressed in jewels and pink feathers

Daniel Lismore

The critically acclaimed international artist exhibited his ‘Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken’. A truly spectacular and immersive experience, this UK premiere celebrated the intersection of art, architecture, world cultures, beauty and fashion.

People standing in a room full of bright colourful lights

Machine Memoirs

The product of a long-term collaboration with NASA, the 360-degree exhibition used artificial intelligence to reimagine two million publicly available images taken by satellite and telescopes, transporting visitors from the centre of Coventry to the deepest regions of outer space.

Helping bring the festival to life

Our students and colleagues planned events, undertook initiatives, and shared information and history to celebrate our community’s unique culture and diversity.

Woman dressed in costume posing

Projects in the community

Students and staff lead the way

From raising mental health awareness in schools to sustainable fashion and bringing people together through dance, Coventry University students and staff used their creativity and innovation to bring City of Culture to the community.

Coventry Digital

The university's gift to the city

Explore Coventry Digital – our archive of thousands of photos, videos, maps and documents has been set up to celebrate Coventry’s rich cultural history.

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