Civic, Cultural and Business Partnerships

Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock − Detail With Audience, Coventry Biennial (Photograph: Marcin Sz)

A report will be made available in December to share the results of this focus study. In addition, the authors will also present their results via a webinar.

This focus study has worked with specific bodies within Coventry’s civic, cultural and business communities to understand the impact of the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021) title on their operations, networks and partnerships.

It identifies the impact of the title in developing and strengthening partnerships and assesses the value and sustainability of these partnerships beyond the UK CoC 2021 year.

The aim was to include participants, existing networks and communities of practice relating to Coventry’s civic, cultural and business life, which preceded UK CoC 2021, and which might also be expected to extend beyond it. These were groups upon which UK CoC 2021 expected to have a material impact, but which had significantly different expectations of its programme:

  • One strand worked with the British Council, a civic body, and investigated the work of the organisation in developing its relationships, networks and activities in the city during the year of cultural activity.
  • Coventry Biennial, the city’s only contemporary visual arts festival, provided a second strand with details of the effect of the UK CoC 2021 title on the 2021 festival and how it impacted upon its networks and vision for the future.
  • A third strand involved working with two business entities in the city − Coventry BID and Fargo Village − to understand the impact on, and compare the experiences of, their business communities in relation to the UK CoC title in developing and sustaining partnerships.

This three-part qualitative study was carried out through a series of in-depth interviews with staff and a range of new and existing partners of the four organisations. The research team specifically focussed on partners and protagonists away from the larger city institutions to ensure that diverse voices were included in articulating the overall impact of the title on the city.

The findings tell an unfolding ‘insider’ story of the expectations, experiences and effects of the programme and its role in re-imagining the future of Coventry. Overall the study provides valuable insights into how a city of culture title impacts on the operations, growth, ambitions and future vision for different types of entities that interact with, and take a visible role during, a city of culture programme.


The research team is based at the Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at the University of Warwick. The focus study was led by Dr Vishalakshi Roy; her fellow researchers were Dr Johnathan Vickery, Dr David Wright and Dr Heidi Ashton.

This focus study was commissioned by the City of Culture Trust and supported by the monitoring and evaluation team.

The blue and black City of Culture logo spelling COV 2021