What a year it has been! Coventry has been well and truly in the spotlight since it was announced as the UK City of Culture for 2021.
Coventry University Students’ Union were central to delivering the City Host volunteering programme, in partnership with EnV. Our team helped to recruit and provide training to thousands of volunteers who supported so many exciting events in the city during the year of celebrations. We also led on marketing the City Hosts programme as well as ensuring volunteers were rewarded and recognised, which included hosting over 25 social events for volunteers to attend.
Originally planned for the calendar year 2021, the City of Culture start was delayed to May 2021 due to the pandemic and the city-wide festival has now completed a packed 12 months of diverse arts events for everyone.
There were 4,185 applications to the City Hosts programme – of these, 1,515 volunteers were fully trained and deployed at events across the year of Culture.
When it came to welcoming people to the city, the City Host volunteers went above and beyond and put in 37,901 hours to make sure visitors were looked after. More than one million people attended over 700 online and in-person events, with something happening in every ward of the city. There were an incredible 14,696 volunteer shifts completed across 262 different events by the City Hosts! It’s estimated that £172m worth of investment has come to Coventry over the course of the year.
Coventry University were also a Principal Partner for the festival and everyone in the university community had a role to play in bringing the festival to life. Several rounds of funding saw students and staff use their creativity and innovation to deliver City of Culture projects in the community. Three Coventry University fashion students even contributed to the design of the striking City Host uniform.
Major achievements through the year included: The Turner Prize at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum; two summers of performances at Assembly Festival Garden; the establishment of the UK’s first permanent immersive digital gallery, The Reel Store; the UK’s longest drone show, Our Wilder Family for a free audience of over 27,000; and the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend for 88,000 people.
Coventry City of Culture Trust will continue operating at about 20 per cent of its current scale primarily as a commissioning body and running The Reel Store and work will continue with partners including the BBC and Sky Arts to promote new projects.
To find out more about the City Host programme in particular, watch our summary video, put together by CUSU’s very own Creative agency, Phoenix Creative.