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City of Culture 2021 - One Year On

Published: Friday, 07 December 2018

Coventry - UK City of Culture 2021

Coventry has marked the first anniversary of being named UK City of Culture – and is looking ahead to 2021.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust held a celebratory lunch at FarGo Village to mark the first year since the historic announcement in Hull. 

The lunch event, hosted by award-winning singer and songwriter Sandra Godley, was a nod to the day the city welcomed the UK City of Culture judging panel in 2018 when civic, community, cultural and commercial leaders came together to represent Coventry.

Around 150 guests – many of whom were present 12 months ago – were entertained by a range of artists from within the city and heard from Coventry City of Culture Trust’s Chairman David Burbidge, Creative Director Chenine Bhathena and Chief Executive Martin Sutherland.

Martin thanked the city for its support and said it was a chance to reflect but also look forward.

He said: “This is a key moment for Coventry and the City of Culture Trust – an opportunity to reflect on what was achieved 12 months ago, to thank those who had the vision and expertise to imagine and deliver a successful bid, to reflect on what has been achieved since but also to look ahead, together.

“I’m approaching my first 100 days in post and I feel very privileged to have been invited to join the team charged with delivering an inclusive, youthful, truly memorable City of Culture and to plan the legacy from 2021.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those who have made me so welcome to the city, and to those partners who continue to pledge their strategic, financial, and artistic contributions."

He said that while ideas for the artistic programme for 2021 were still be worked up, the team had put key foundations in place in 2018.

“We’re in such a good place already. There is no blueprint for delivering a City of Culture, no set schedule for planning or preparing, so I’m grateful for all the work that has been done so far. Our government partners reassure me that we’re ahead of where Hull was 12 months on, but we’re not complacent.

“So far this year we’ve recruited the leadership team and have made excellent progress in unlocking the funds needed to deliver the vision. In addition to the support previously pledged, during the last few months we’ve been able to confirm support from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, West Midlands Combined Authority, DCMS, the British Council, and the BBC and we’re continuing to attract new support from businesses in the city and region every week.

“We’re all looking forward to the spectacular Sunrise event at the Cathedral for New Year’s Eve and to revealing details of our first campaign next week. In early 2019 we’ll undertake a next wave of recruitment, with our producing teams being assembled.  

“We have achieved so much but there is much more to do and the ongoing support is much valued and much needed.”