University of Warwick: Experience Coventry as you never have before at new University of Warwick exhibition

Coventry and Warwickshire residents are getting a second chance to see and experience artworks created as part of the Sensing the City project, previously shown in The Herbert in 2020.

Urban Sensographies: an Urban Room comes to city-centre venue Metropolis between Friday 22 and Saturday 30 July, presenting highlights of the 2020 exhibition and new work developed subsequently, in light of the coronavirus pandemic and Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.

The three-year Sensing the City project drew on arts and humanities skills and practices to explore Coventry city centre, using the human senses to gather data about life in the city and to map how its urban spaces are used and experienced.

The exhibition will include photographic collages, texts, and interactive materials; video and sound work; and performance ‘actions’ by sirenscrossing. Visitors to the Urban Room on Sunday 24 July may take part in a guided artists’ sensory walk around the city centre (at 2pm), introducing some of the research techniques used and visiting some of the most interesting spots explored during the project.

Dr Michael Pigott of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick said: “Our collaborative research group came together to ask two key questions: who and what is Coventry city centre for? And how might we use the human body as a data-gathering sensor to investigate the rhythms and atmospheres of urban space?”

“Following the radical re-evaluation of city spaces caused by the pandemic and the accelerating climate crisis, we are returning with renewed urgency to the central question of what we want our cities to be and do for us, and how we can make this happen.”

Members of the Sensing the City research collective include Professor Nicolas Whybrow and Dr Michael Pigott (University of Warwick), Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE), the dance company enter&inhabit, and the London-based artist-researcher Dr Carolyn Deby/sirenscrossing.

In addition to the creative outputs, findings from the project are being shared with urban planners and other professional specialists in fields related to the design and planning of urban futures. Professor Whybrow and Carolyn Deby/sirenscrossing were both invited to contribute essays to the Local Government Association’s “The Future of Cities” debate.