[Guest Blog by Artist Lorsen Camps]
We had a great afternoon taking full advantage of a double school disco at Moseley Primary School, catching parents / guardians (and some children) as they came to drop off or collect the mini revelers. They enjoyed teas, coffees and wonderful homemade cakes courtesy of HMS Cupcake in exchange for some chat and discussion about the Coventry 2021 bid and their experiences of culture in the city.
Two main themes emerged: how to find out about what’s going on in the city and a desire to accurately represent the peoples of the city through the kind of creative culture we promote.
How can Coventry make the most of the things that are happening across the city? There was a lot of interest in the cultural activities taking place, but there was common consensus that they were hard to find out about before the events rather than after. How can we share information beyond the usual social circles so that it reaches the diverse cross section of the city? Perhaps if Coventry were to win the City of Culture bid this would help solve some of these issues – people would start to expect to see different projects and events and for there to be a clear cultural schedule updated regularly and made known across a range of forums in various media. I also wonder whether Coventry needs to grow in confidence in its cultural identity and what it has to offer the world. I think this would be aided by a successful bid and to an extent is already happening through simply putting the bid together. I know from my own experience as an artist that it’s all too easy to do all the hard work making the art, but another thing to actually get people along to see it!
The other theme of the afternoon was linked to the need for better relations within the city. There was a hope that getting the City of Culture bid could help this – for projects to bring people together; to create dialogue and understanding. One of the proposed projects, should the city win the bid, is called Streets of Culture where funding would be offered to neighbourhoods with great ideas for creative happenings in their particular road. I threw this idea out to the parents and some children. There were plenty of imaginative ideas: record breaking sized cakes on Radford Circle; a Little Mix song request concert; beach parties with sandcastle competitions; silent discos; stop motion video making; somehow linking up Coventry’s three spires… Through them all was a real desire to embrace and celebrate the scope of the city’s ethnic make-up, to be inclusive and to learn about each other, building trust rather than barriers – to create a ‘cultural Cosmo’ as one put it (referring to the city centre eating establishment with a multi-cultural buffet). What I heard through the feedback was not a desire for some great art works or events to take place as the ultimate end point but for these to produce greater unity and appreciation of each other within this wonderfully diverse city.
The Cart was at Moseley Primary School on 12th July 2017. The guest artists were Lorsen Camps and Mark Hancock.