The Green Futures programme within the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021) included a wide range of activities culminating in the ‘Our Wilder Family’ event in May which drew over 27,000 people to the War Memorial Park in Coventry for a spectacular drone display focusing on nature and climate change action. The staging of this event reflected the extent to which Green Futures had moved up the agenda in the UK CoC 2021 programming. Indeed, this was the first time that the environment had been an explicit part of a UK CoC 2021 programme, so Coventry has been an important case study for showing what can be achieved by bringing the environment into a cultural context.
To understand the importance of the environment within the UK CoC 2021, a team of researchers from Coventry University (Centre for Business in Society and Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience) conducted an environmental focus study.
Connecting People To Nature Through Culture
The study showed how UK CoC 2021 acted as a vehicle for re-focusing individuals’ and organisations’ attention on nature and green-related issues across the city. There were strong positive outcomes in terms of facilitating participants’ connection to nature. Furthermore, there were indications that participants realised and appreciated the potential benefits that the connection with nature had on them, such as improved mental health.
The UK CoC 2021 activities encouraged people to connect with green spaces. It created a sense of community and an important space to maintain community connections. It demonstrated how green spaces are important for biodiversity in terms of fauna and flora, and supported residents to realise the variety of Green spaces within the city. It highlighted how the green spaces of the city were good for mental health, supporting people to feel happier and more relaxed.