While most of our current investment and energy is focused on staging a memorable 12 months of activity in 2021, we know how vital it is that we leave a legacy from which Coventry, and Coventrians, can prosper in the future.
Investing in the people of the city is how we will truly realise a legacy.
Therefore, a significant part of our work is to help build capacity so that the cultural scene in the city is financially and environmentally sustainable and will continue to flourish in the future.
We are, therefore, creating and supporting initiatives that strengthen individuals and organisations working within culture and have made progress in achieving this aim already.
We’ve successfully bid for £450,000 from Arts Council England to run a Transforming Leadership programme in the city over the next two-and-half years – winning a very competitive process.
We will work with 15 established and emerging cultural leaders, supporting them to become key figures in the city’s cultural organisations to develop successful and influential careers in the sector.
It’s a huge investment in talent and has been inspired by research which highlighted the unequal access to cultural management and leadership opportunities across the UK.
We will be recruiting people who display a passion for Coventry and for culture, who have creative business ideas that need to be nurtured, who may not have pursued a traditional education route and who also possess an understanding of the impact that cultural activity can have on the lives of everyone.
We will be working with a wide range of partners on delivering the programme which will also help establish stronger working relationships.
Soon we will appoint the team who will develop a gold-standard apprenticeship programme, which we expect to launch in early 2020. This programme, sitting alongside our planned mentoring programme, will create opportunities for predominantly young people in Coventry to access employment in the cultural sector.
We will be equipping them with the skills that will be of value to the city’s cultural organisations in and beyond 2021.
We were delighted by the announcement of Corey Campbell, Balisha Karra and Justine Themen as Creative Leads at the Belgrade Theatre. Our investment has enabled the leadership team there to launch this innovative approach to theatre production for 2021 –playing a pivotal role in developing the city’s next generation of artistic leaders.
It’s early days for this new partnership, but knowing the talent involved – we’re confident that something extraordinary will be created for 2021, laying the foundations for the future.
We’ve also been developing the skills of our team and are committed to continuing to do so. A number of colleagues visited the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe as well as Le Voyage À Nantes to network, see events and test the visitor experience (for domestic and international visitors). We seek to learn from great examples elsewhere, adapting all the good stuff to work here.
As well as looking to build the capacity and prospects of individuals, we also want to ensure that organisations are also in a position to deliver long-term benefits to the city.
We’ve commissioned a company called TRG Arts to work with 10 cultural organisations in Coventry to develop programmes that build audiences and membership loyalty. They have had great success working with theatres, museums, galleries and festivals across the globe, but this is the first time they have been able to work with a group of organisations in one location..
Part of my role as Chief Executive of the City of Culture Trust is to fundraise and unlock investment so that 2021 is a huge success. However, we recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure that others across the city also gain from the opportunities 2021 brings.
We’ve been running meet the funder events across the area, welcoming major funders from across the region and UK to meet with community groups, artists and the voluntary sector. So far more than 200 organisations have attended these events, so we’ll continue to deliver them - so that new relationships can be brokered resulting in increased investment locally.
Details of all these opportunities, and more, are featured on our website www.coventry2021.co.uk where you can also sign up to our newsletter.