University of Warwick: Online exhibition of artworks by Coventry artists reflecting university research launches in December

How does it affect your education when someone constantly mispronounces your name? What are the barriers to political engagement faced by young women of colour in the region? How does it feel to be on the healthcare frontline fighting a pandemic? These are just some of the questions researchers and artists are addressing together in the Coventry Creates 2021 exhibition which launches in December.

The University of Warwick and Coventry University are staging a second digital art exhibition featuring artistic responses to university research which will go live to the public on 8 December. A total of 12 collaborative works will be added to the online exhibition. The works have been produced by Coventry artists working across a range of media, in collaboration with researchers at the universities and funded by Arts Council England.

Professor Jackie Hodgson, University of Warwick Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said:

“For the second year running, we are proud to launch this Coventry Creates exhibition, which showcases the strength and breadth of the research going on in our two universities, along with the thriving artistic sector we have.

“The 12 projects in this year’s show were selected for their relevance to Coventry’s people and communities and will contribute to the knowledge and evolution of the city as we continue through our year as UK City of Culture. The collaborations between creative artists and researchers from different disciplines have produced another thought-provoking and beautiful exhibition which we hope will amplify seldom-heard voices, provoke interest and really chime with the people of Coventry and beyond.”

Professor Neil Forbes, Director, Creative Cultures at Coventry University, said:

“Coventry University and the University of Warwick are delighted to present Coventry Creates 2021 – a true partnership project to facilitate local artists and researchers co-creating new digital art works. During the 2020 lockdown, Coventry Creates was devised to support artists by commissioning new art pieces and to showcase them in a digital exhibition. This second edition has been funded by Arts Council England and features 12 artists who are exploring and responding to societal issues in contemporary academic research. The fusion of knowledge and art work provides interesting insights into the current human condition, creating new digital experiences that will both delight and challenge us to think differently.”

The exhibition will be available on the Coventry Creates website from 7pm on 8 December.

This year’s exhibition features:

Furniture for my Imagination: Historian Dr Naomi Pullin from the University of Warwick worked with local photographer and filmmaker Paul Daly on the representation of solitude.

SPACEX: Led by Professor Mel Jordan (Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University), SPACEX explores how art, design and architecture can be used to help combat issues faced by cities, and enable empathetic and inclusive ways of living together. Professor Jordan collaborated with Coventry artist Duncan Whitley who works with experimental film-making and sound, synthesising cinema, documentary and spatial sound art.

The Lost Museums?: Dr Bethany Rex from the Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at Warwick worked with local poet John Bernard to create an artistic response to the research on museum closure and explore how public museums are changing.

Parchment Scalpel Rock: What’s Up Doc?: Geneticist, Dr Charlotte Allender from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, worked with local poet, freelance writer and former Warwick academic George Ttoouli to create an artistic response to UKVG’s research into preserving the genetic lineage of some of our best loved food plants.

Thresholds: Dr Sally Pezaro (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health and Research Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities at Coventry University) and Kerry Wykes (Emergency Nurse, Researcher and Lecturer at Coventry University) have built on their original Coventry Creates project Boats on an Ocean and have collaborated again with China Plate Theatre to provide a space for healthcare workers to reflect on their experiences of working through Covid-19. This time the project, working with healthcare workers, will produce a script for an audio play.

Things Change, Things Changed: Dr John MacArtney from Warwick Medical School, is working with hospices in Coventry and across the West Midlands to learn how the pandemic has affected those with life-limiting conditions, and those that care for them. Local artist Emily Warner has produced digital artworks responding to the research.

Life on a Deadline: Research by Professor Shirin Rai, Dr Jayanthi Lingham and Dr Shahnaz Akhter from Warwick’s Department of Politics and International Studies, have worked with local artist Navkiran Mann and EGO, a local community-based theatre group to produce an artistic output representing aspects of their research into the issues of care and caring faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Families and Communities in Coventry and Leicester during the pandemic.

In Own Their Words: Dr Kevin Broughton from Coventry’s Centre for Business in Society undertook research into the affect of lockdown on the creative freelance sector. He has collaborated with the Yikki Studio, a Coventry-based arts studio that focuses on how cultural exchange can create positive perceptions, and deepen understandings and trust between people from different cultures. The project focuses on the research interviews with creative freelancers from Coventry with the aim of bringing their own words into the public domain.

Say My Name: Dr Jane Bryan from the School of Law, University of Warwick is exploring whether a lack of familiarity with the pronunciation and spellings of people’s names creates barriers to teaching and learning. She has worked with local poet Verity Pabla, singer-songwriter and founder of the Coventry-based music production company I’m Not A Machine, to produce a spoken word piece emphasising the importance of respect for names and identities.

Third Space AI: Dr Kevin Walker from the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University explores how, in addition to a post-truth age, we’re also entering a post-human age as AI takes on greater autonomy – and increasingly serves its own interests. He has worked with artist Edie Jo Murray, whose work invites audiences into imagined worlds where the rules are different and reality is disrupted.

Boliyan: Sounds of Women’s Activism: Dr Ravi Thiara (Sociology, University of Warwick) and Dr Nirmal Puwar (Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London) have followed the biographies of a small sample of women activists from Coventry, collecting oral histories. They have collaborated with Preet Grewal, a community activist and practitioner in the art of giddha and boliyan, a form of all-female Punjabi dance with storytelling lyrics and sonnets.

Imagine Equality, Create Change: Dr Khursheed Wadia from the Department of Sociology at the University Warwick researches women, political participation and civic engagement and includes working with local stakeholders to support gender and race equality across the West Midlands and Warwickshire. She has collaborated with local multimedia artist Sherrie Edgar to produce a film representing the experience of young women of colour.

Since 2018 the University of Warwick and Coventry University have funded more than 50 research and creative projects in Coventry in the run up to City of Culture 2021. When lockdown struck in 2020 there was a fear that some of the projects may not be able to continue, and huge concern about the creative sector in the city during a time of financial strain and social isolation. The Coventry Creates project came into being to fund and commission collaborative work to help support the artistic community in the city. 18 joint projects between academics and city artists were produced over the summer and exhibited online in autumn 2020.

This year’s 12 art works were funded by Arts Council England (ACE) and also received consultation sessions with Coventry Artspace Consultancy Bank experts and the chance to attend various informal online networking sessions hosted by members of the Coventry Creates team.

Coventry Creates 2021 launches on 8 December 2021 at 7pm.

You can view the exhibition here: Home – Coventry Creates , plus find further information on the projects and themes, and visit the existing 2020 digital exhibition works.

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