As Coventry prepares to launch itself onto a global stage with City of Culture, we celebrate the culture, civic society, art and diversity that made it what it is.

In an increasingly fractured world, culture and its relevance can highlight disparity and disconnects to audiences who feel alienated and under-represented by mainstream narratives. During lockdown these audiences however pivoted to safe and accessible online spaces demonstrating a desire for cultural experiences and authentic spaces where they could see themselves reflected.

As cities emerge from a lockdown that restricted our movements, how do we ensure the public realm is for the public and as we look at a physical/digital hybridity can we create new experiences, access and civic spaces both physically and digitally?

“Experimental Culture” the horizon scan undertaken by Nesta and commissioned by Arts Council England in 2018 found that “Concern about inequitable patterns in access to arts and cultural experiences reflecting (or even reinforcing) existing inequalities, means that work to broaden, diversify and deepen relationships with audiences will be critical in sustaining support for public spending on the arts in future.” The report also suggested “cultivating the capacity to be more experimental in harnessing new technologies and adopting new organisational practices, alongside leveraging the value of data in order to understand how best to engage audiences and test new business models. Central to extending their reach to a wider audience will be fostering a sophisticated array of partnerships – whether with universities, technology companies or with other institutions open to sharing resources and expertise”

Hello Culture x Coventry is commissioned by Coventry University and through a series of sessions, explores how the relationships between the arts and academia and how partnerships and collaborations in the physical and digital spheres are creating more inclusive and representative spaces, platforming unheard voices and helping the city’s artists navigate a brave new world of art and the public realm as we emerge from lockdown. It will examine what role practice, partnerships and people play in our brave new world. What do peace and reconciliation mean for post pandemic Coventry?

Coventry University is a principal partner for UK City of Culture; this event forms part of a wider programme of activity for the University, celebrating Coventry’s culture and creativity and the role of the arts and humanities in a changing world.


Brunch with Hello Culture: 10:00-11:00 Thursday 29 April 2021

The Things That Dreams are Made of- Keynote with Sarah Ellis Director of Digital Development, The Royal Shakespeare Company hosted by Helga Henry

From digital avatars on stage in real time to combining live performance and gaming technology together to explore new ways for audiences to experience live theatre, the RSC is transforming the future of theatre. The impossible becomes possible as reality and virtual worlds collide, disrupt and challenge our vision for theatre and experiences as audiences

As we engage online how do we create new forms of connections with each other and with the artist. What does the audience of the future look like and what will hybrid experiences mean for us all?

This keynote from Sarah Ellis will reflect on our human connections, our virtual worlds and our dreams for new experiences



Hello Culture Panel 12:00-13:00 Thursday 29 April  

Coventry: Young, Gifted and Black: With the seeds of the Blk Art Group laid in Coventry, how does Coventry’s social and cultural history inform how we navigate it’s present and how does diversity and inclusion in culture underpin this? How will this inform the culture of the future and make visible so-called contested histories?

Chair Jagdish Patel  Artist and Researcher


Ayesha Jones Artist

Cory Barrett Cultural leader + Curious Director, CBGC Creative Industries Ltd

Laura Nyahuye CEO, Creative Director  Maokwo



Hello Culture Panel 14:00-15:00 Thursday 29 April   in partnership with Coventry Biennial

Coventry: Are Friends Electric? Access and Digital in an online world: Lockdown meant we increasingly pivoted online, and art now occupies its own space online disrupting the traditional gallery- artist exhibition relationship and turning us all into audiences, creators and participants.But how far has digital democratised art and are the worlds we are creating inclusive, accessible and safe.

 Chair: Ryan Hughes Artistic Director Coventry Biennial


Edie Jo Murray Artist

Zak Mensah Co CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust

Bianca Wright Curriculum Lead: Immersive and Associate Professor Coventry University




Hello Culture Panel, 16:00-17:00 Thursday 29 April   

Coventry: Come Together. The lockdown forces those of us with digital access into online worlds and spaces and in turn we have adapted and created online communities. But as we navigate the outdoor world again how do we reconnect and create connections with the many communities of Coventry and how do we make new placemaking narratives that are distinct for Coventry? 

Who owns Coventry- whose space is it anyway? How do we redefine place, space and identity? 

Chair Helga Henry

Simon Vaughan Managing Director, Creative Giants

Helen Kilby Nelson Artist

Cara Pickering Visual Arts Programme Producer 




Stay Up To Date And Connected

To get all of the latest information on Hello Culture, sign up to our newsletter