Coventry Cultural Challenge: Elden Kings

Does economic status have an impact on belonging?

The Coventry Cultural Challenge was a two-day event where teams were given access to the latest Coventry cultural data and asked to develop an idea/proposal that had the potential to ‘make life better in Coventry’. At the end of the weekend, each team presented their ideas to a jury of experts.

People with stable incomes may not be able to reflect the value of activities in normal times, but when they are at risk, cultural activities can give a stronger sense of belonging to people with stable incomes.

Team Elden Kings
Presentation by the Elden Kings (Recorded by: Maria Polodeanu, Reel Master Production)


The team examined feelings of belonging to both Coventry and residents’ local areas and cross-referenced it with stability of income levels.

Those with stable incomes were working, whereas non-stable incomes included those unemployed, long-term sick, retired, in education, volunteering or in caring roles.

Those people with unstable incomes had stronger levels of belonging to their local area than those with stable incomes. The gap was much smaller for the two groups’ sense of belonging to Coventry.

The sense of belonging was higher for those within the unstable income group that had participated in cultural events. Participation strengthened external contacts, increased confidence by reducing anxiety.

Team Members

Kexing Li, with the Elden Kings team that worked remotely
(Photograph: Maria Polodeanu, Reel Master Production)

Knowing more about Coventry first-hand from the data has not only increased my knowledge of Coventry but my experience with multi-experience data.

Kexing Li (event feedback)

The Coventry Cultural Challenge was part of the AHRC funded Place-Based Knowledge Exchange project; organised by members of the UK City of Culture 2021 monitoring and evaluation team.

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