Skip to main content

What's on?

Window on Warwick - undiscovered Coventry

Thursday 2 March, 12:30 - 1:30pm. CMR 1.0 University House

Window on Warwick

Calling all Coventry experts. Can you help us tell a better story around Coventry, the culture, the history, what is happening now and tomorrow and how to encourage people to support the bid?

Warwick is fully behind Coventry’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 and are one of the principal partners alongside Coventry University and Coventry City Council. We are interested in people’s experiences and cultural nuggets of Coventry – the stories that celebrate and showcase the city will help inspire and shape Coventry’s bid.

Even if you don't know the City but would like to - please come along and see if you can find out something new about the city on our doorstep.

This session will also give an overview to the bid timetable and activities and Warwick’s role but will focus on attendees’ ideas and stories.

Please book through the LDC webpages.

More events will be announced for 2017. You can also find out what's on around Coventry on the coventry2021 website and add your own events to this page.

If you are involved in anything that could support Coventry's City of Culture bid and are based at Warwick, please get in touch via s dot wall at warwick dot ac dot ukto let us know so we can support and promote your activity.

Call for Digital Artists Residency applications

Coventry is a city that is constantly reinventing itself. As part of our journey to bid for UK City of Culture in 2021, Coventry City of Culture Trust will invite an artist to reinvent the city again – to reflect on the architecture, subculture and people of the city.

Coventry is a young city, a diverse city and a city that is still facing challenges. A city that has moved people by cycle, car and peace is now moving people through culture. Once the capital of England, Coventry has as a rich medieval past. Rebuilding from its devastating bombings during the war, planners and engineers created the UK’s first pedestrianised city. Known for its invention, design, work in peace and reconciliation and the diversity of its population, the city is building a new future and wishes to invite artists to be part of that thinking.

The call

The call is for a digital artist – though we are open to proposals from musicians, dancers, visual artists, architects and others who might use digital technology in their work. We want the selected artist/artists to produce a piece of work that can be showcased at a site in the city or digitally on the web. You may choose to work with the city as a whole, a unique site or a specific community.

Depending on the proposal, and approach of the artists appointed, the project will be hosted by one or more of our cultural partners in the city.

More information is available on the brief and you can find out more on the coventry2021 website.

Show your support on social media @coventry2021 #thisiscoventry

CCoC principal partner

Previous events

Belgrade Theatre pays tribute to African-American actor Ira Aldridge

Masterji & Coventry; Photographic Exhibition at Fargo Village

Storytelling 4 Health: Artists and academics exhibition at Fargo Village

Black History Month in Coventry

Festival of Imagineers returns to Coventry

Masterji & Coventry: Photographic Exhibition at Fargo Village

3 - 20 November, The Box at Fargo Village.

masterjiside.jpgA 94-year-old photographer, who has documented the arrival and the lives of South Asian immigrants to Coventry since the 1950s, is being exhibited for the first time in November.

The exhibition of around 70 photographs features the work of Maganbhai Patel – better known as Masterji that were taken between his home studio and established Hillfields studio Master’s Art Studio between 1951 and 1990s. The exhibition has been brought about by Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.
The photographs have been curated by a local group called the Photo Archive Miners (PAM) who discovered Masterji’s work during their Imagine Hillfields exhibition in 2015.

The work of Masterji is of huge significance not just for Coventry but the UK because it’s a window into the lives of people as they arrived here and the image they wanted to send home.
“Many of the pictures were taken as portraits or for their official documentation so you see a very formal image. In other photos, you see a more laid back style and also some of the difficulties they faced so it really documents a very important part of the city’s history and its cultural diversity.

Jason Tilley, Photo Archive Miners (PAM)

masterjihomevisit65.jpgMasterji moved to Coventry from Surat in India in 1951, with little more than a box brownie camera.
With a keen eye for photography, he began to shoot the local community and opened a portrait studio in Stoney Stanton Road, which he ran from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is still there today and is run by his son Ravindra Patel.
PAM have managed to track down hundreds of photographs and are carefully restoring them to their former glory with the help of his daughter, Tarla Patel.
Jason added:

He was a headmaster back in India – that is where the name Masterji came from. As a mark of respect, that is what members of the community continued to call him long after he stopped being a teacher.
“In certain parts of the city, he is quite famous because so many people visited his studio. We have been out for a drink with him and people still recognise him – they will come and say ‘hello Masterji!’
“I am part Indian myself and lived there for many years so, on a personal level, I am very proud to be curating this exhibition and really bringing the work of Masterji back to life.
“The fact that it has taken this long to actual exhibit his work tells you just how long it has gone forgotten and, to a certain degree, how under-rated he was and we are thrilled to be able to showcase his work finally at the age of 94.

Maganbhai Patel's daughter Tarla, works in the Office for Global Engagement at Warwick and has given us her story about the exibition.

The Guardian has published an article about the exhibition: Masterji - Coventry's secret 94-year-old photographer – in pictures

The free exhibition is open from 3 - 20 November from 10am - 6pm (closed Mondays).

For more information, see

Belgrade Theatre pays tribute to African-American actor Ira Aldridge

Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge in Coventry 1828, Thursday 17 November.
Tickets are FREE but must be booked in advance through the Belgrade’s Box Office or call 024 7655 3055.

Ira Aldridge OthelloThe Belgrade Theatre has teamed up with Warwick’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project and The Coventry City of Culture Bid 2021 to present an event honouring the remarkable achievements of the African-American actor Ira Aldridge this November. He became Manager of the Coventry Theatre in 1828, at a time when slavery was still widespread across Britain’s colonies and the USA.

Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge in Coventry 1828, will see an evening performance in the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium by a professional and community cast, followed by a night-time procession through the streets of Coventry.

Professor Tony Howard, a leading researcher on Ira Aldridge at Warwick will gives talks exploring the relationship between politics and Shakespeare in modern Britain and works with the University of Warwick’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project to gather information on the achievements of black and Asian artists. He said,

It’s an astonishing story. Adrian Lester has just played Ira Aldridge in London and New York and reminded the world of the achievements of a very great actor. But the fact that at the age of only 20, Ira – young, gifted and black - was handed Coventry’s Theatre to run, is truly remarkable. He presented plays that attacked slavery and at the same time he raised the standards of a run-down company in crisis.”

You can read Tony Howard's article reflecting on Ira's life in Coventry here and read an article published in The Observer on Sunday 13 November 2016 titled 'From 19th-century black pioneer to cultural ambassador of Coventry'.

The Performance entitled 'Generations Meet' tells how a 20-year-old African American, fleeing racism in America, became Manager of the Coventry Theatre and helped launch a nationwide campaign against slavery which would involve over a million people.

It tells how the theatre and the press in Coventry united long ago to show what a multicultural community could be.

Actor Ray Fearon (Shakespeare's Globe, RSC) will take on the role of Ira Aldridge. Aldridge was the first black actor to play Othello, a role Fearon has also played for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Fearon is joined by Rakie Ayola (Holby City, National Theatre, RSC) and Matt Costain (National Theatre, RSC, Shakespeare's Globe).

The production will also involve singers and actors from the Belgrade's youth theatre and community choirs, performing Ira Aldridge's scenes and songs for the first time in over a century.

Tickets are free, but are limited, so if you would like to join us for this very special evening reserve your tickets now.

The production will also involve singers and actors of the Belgrade's youth theatres and community choirs, performing Ira Aldridge's scenes and songs for the first time in over a century and recreating them in the musical language of NOW.

GUEST of HONOUR: Earl Cameron CBE (age 99), the great Caribbean film, stage and televion star who lives in Kenilworth, acted on Coventry's stages in the 1940s and '50s - and was taught by Ira Aldridge's daughter!

'Being a foreigner and a stranger are universal passports to British sympathy.’
Ira Aldridge, 1828.

Presented by Warwick University’s Multicultural Shakespeare Project, the Belgrade Theatre, the Being Human 2016 Festival, and supported by Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 Bid.

The company will also perform extracts from The Slave by Thomas Morton, one of several plays that Ira Aldridge programmed at the Coventry Theatre during his brief time as Manager there. The procession will lead to the site of the long-lost playhouse where he and the local community made history, with scenes, speeches and songs from Aldridge’s Coventry season.

The event is also part of Being Human, a festival of the Humanities and a national forum for public engagement with humanities research, led by the School of Advanced Study and University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council. This year’s festival, themed around hope and fear, will feature a programme of debates, talks and activities including Against Prejudice – Ira Aldridge in Coventry 1828.

Storytelling 4 Health: Artists and academics exhibition

26 November 2016, 10am - 6pm. Black Box Studio, Fargo Village, Far Gosford St, Coventry, CV1 5ED

storytelling for health

Emma Parfitt from Department of Sociology has worked with Fargo Village to bring artists and academics together for an exhibition of local artists work.

17 artists (from all mediums and crafts) will create pieces based on the research ideas of PhD students from the Warwick.
This exciting exhibition is a chance to bring people together with the aim of closing the art-science divide. It opens the academic world to the community, from an internationally diverse set of students and subjects. It is also a different way of communicating research in a creative way, thus demythicizing the idea that research outputs from theoretical to practical cannot be communicated to everyone. Knowledge, like art, should be accessible to all. Research can also impact our lives in different ways. I hope that you can join us on the 26th of November to see where inspiration leads.

Emma Parfitt, PhD researcher, Department of Sociology

The resulting artistic creations will be displayed alongside short paragraphs describing the PhD inspirations. Visitors will be offered the chance to purchase the artists’ work thereby supporting local art and culture. You can find out more information on Emma's Storytelling 4 Health blog or read more about Emma's research on her article here or the press release.

Amongst those featured:

emma_harris.jpgEmma Harris (jewellery and artwork)

From microbiology graduate (the study of microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses) to creator of unique jewellery and artwork. Most of my work is inspired by nature. I predominantly use polymer clay mixed with natural ‘gems’ collected on my travels around the countryside.

Sarah English (Biomedical Sciences)

I am researching the biology of perinatal depression. This covers depression both in pregnancy and in the postnatal period after giving birth. Over half of all cases go undetected each year, leaving around 35,000 women in the UK receiving no professional help. The consequences extend to the whole family and the offspring, for whom maternal stress in the womb can lead to detrimental health in later life. There are effective treatments available yet without detection we cannot target those women who need help the most. Severe cases may even result in suicide. Both a lack of awareness and stigma or fear of being judged are vital reasons why women are not seeking help, and bringing perinatal depression into the spotlight will help with this.
My research focuses on finding a biological marker or ‘biomarker’ for perinatal depression. The ultimate aim is to find a way to diagnose and predict depression from a simple blood test which can tell us which women are at high risk. The current evidence for this looks promising, using genetics to find a biological reason why some women suffer and some don’t.

Black History Month in Coventry

Throughout October, Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre will be proudly supporting Black History Month with an exciting programme of events including talks, workshops, a photography exhibition and a concert celebrating the diversity of Coventry’s communities.
Kick-starting the programme of events, is a Black History Month Launch event on Saturday, October 1st, from 4.30pm.

This is a free event that will include a special performance from the Belgrade’s Black Youth Theatre, conversations with curators and the chance to discuss some of the Belgrade’s ground-breaking work from this year and includes a double bill of performances by the Birmingham-based Strictly Arts Theatre Company in the B2 auditorium.

Two of Warwick's academics are involved with exhibitions and talks:

Embodied Islands posterVisitors to the theatre will have the chance to see Embodied Islands: An Exhibition of Caribbean Photography at the Belgrade, from Monday, 3rd October to Friday, 28th October.

Presented by Warwick University’s Centre for Caribbean Studies, Embodied Islands is a fusion of historical 19th century stereoview photography and contemporary visual art by award-winning Caribbean photographers which was previously exhibited at Warwick Arts Centre in June this year.

It provides a rare opportunity to learn about post-colonial Caribbean life through the history of photography.

Associate Professor at Warwick, Dr Fabienne Viala and award-winning Caribbean photographer, Jean-Francois Manicom, will also host five workshops and discussions at the Belgrade over the duration of Black History Month, which will take a closer look at history of photography, heritage and identity.

2016 is Shakespeare’s anniversary year, and never before have so many of the Bard’s greatest roles have been played by BAME actors - Macbeth at the Globe, King Lear at Manchester Exchange, Hamlet at Stratford and on tour.

But two great men called for this to happen long ago, and worked for it: Ira Aldridge and Paul Robeson. Tony Howard from the Multicultural Shakespeare project at Warwick tells their stories in a talk entitled Ira Aldridge and Paul Robeson: Setting Shakespeare Free on Thursday, October 20, at 6.30pm.
Tickets for this event are free, but must be booked online or through the Belgrade Theatre Box Office.

Find out what activities warwick SU are running for Black History Month.

Festival of Imagineers returns to Coventry

Festival of Imagineers returns for its third year with a week long programme of interactive exhibitions, workshops and activities from Monday 26 September – 1 October.

The festival is a series of free experiences, celebrating creative invention with local, national and international artists, engineers and designers inviting audiences to join in and become creative collaborators themselves at Daimler Powerhouse and throughout the City.

David Burbidge, Chairman of Coventry City of Culture Trust said:

This promises to be an exciting and memorable event and will be a great example of the innovation and creativity that Coventry has to offer.”

Warwick academics have been involved with a number of the activites and performances at the festival such as:

Likeable Cyclable City (Daimler Powerhouse from Monday 26 September – Saturday 1 October, 12 – 4pm daily)

Jo Trowsdale, Centre for Education Studies has been working with Imagineer Productions developing the Imagineerium Initiative: an arts, engineering and education partnership. The initiative centres on the process of making as a site for developing learner skills and proposes a particular model of STEAM education: learning about oneself as a learner as well as science, design, technology and maths through the arts.

The 2014 pilot has been adapted and developed for 2016 to include an increased teacher role (through CPD) and forms the basis of a current bid to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The Likeable Cyclable project which The Imagineerium Initiative bid underpins and locks into has just been selected by the City Council as a key City of Culture bid project.

Likeable Cyclable is an exhibition showcasing a new interactive cycle powered system of transport and city centre trail for Coventry, inspired by the interlinked trikes which propelled Godiva to London aboard her cyclopedia in 2012.

The development of the Winters Tale, Teatr Biuro Podróży and Dr Haedicke (Friday 30th September, 2-3pm at the Daimler Powerhouse)

This unique street theatre version of Shakespeare’s late play was initially explored during a 10 day workshop residency and performance as part of the Festival of Imagineers 2015. A further developed version will be performed in Poznan in early October before a further period of development. The full Imagineer Productions/Teatr Biuro Podrozy co-production will be one of the headline performances for Festival of Imagineers 2017 and will be an Performer Marta Strzalko and dramaturg Dr Susan Haedicke (Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance, Warwick University) will be in conversation about the latest developments of the production

The full programme can be found online at or via facebook Imagineer Productions or twitter @ImagineerUK.