Co-creating “We Love Coventry”: an exhibition of the everyday

This on-going Projects series aims to give a “behind the scenes” look at my work with people and communities. Check out the Projects page or the Archives for more. Feel free to leave a comment, or drop me a line via the Contact page. 

The “We Love Coventry” exhibition is all about Coventry as a city today, and what it means to the people who live and work here. Who better to tell that story, than Coventry people themselves?

Photo by Philippa Attwood.
Photo by Philippa Attwood.

The concept was partly inspired by the Museum week of the World101x course (University of Queensland), and features objects and photos loaned by local people. This includes everything from objects made in the city, to artwork inspired by city landmarks, through to everyday (and not-so-everyday) items from people around the city. The exhibition is permanent, but the objects change every 6-12 months, giving glimpses of the city from different perspectives.

The present day story of Coventry is told through the objects and their meaning is

IMG_0500described by the people who own, and loan, them to the museum. The space includes four showcases, and around 20 display boxes for objects, plus additional open boxes for graphics. We’ve recently been offered some work by local poets, so we’re looking at adding those to the boxes in the next few months too.

Some of the first objects to be displayed included:

The Passenger (a sensory art collaboration between Grapevine young people, and artists, We Are Frilly)

Brazilian Capoeira instruments (from Capoeira Natural do Brasil)

A piece of the Marathon Sew-in project (by Phoenix Stitchers and people from all across the city’s different communities)

Roller derby programmes and kit (by Coventry City Derby Dolls)

As you can see, quite a variety! We also have some great photos of city sights, taken by community members, on display.  Many of the stands for these photos and the object labels were handmade by apprentice, Philippa.

Local people and visitors have sent in hundreds of quotes about why they love Coventry, and you can spot these dotted around the displays in speech bubbles attached to small figures. Visitors can add their own words via postcards in the exhibition itself, or by tweeting @CovTM, using #WeLoveCoventry.

Photo by Philippa Attwood
Photo by Philippa Attwood

In addition to collecting new loans of objects, artwork and poetry from the local community, I’ll be working with apprentice Philippa and our Community Exhibition Volunteers to refresh the display for next year too. It will be great to see what new creations and much-loved objects come together to create We Love Coventry’s new face for 2016.

In the meantime, the project has had a fantastic response from those involved in the first 6 months.

As one participant put it:

It’s great to have this, because we’ve never had the opportunity to display our work like this. And now, we have it.

We Love Coventry is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of Coventry Transport Museum‘s £9.5m makeover. Please see the CTM website for more information.


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