THE UK’s first-ever Citizens Assembly on arts and culture has taken place in Coventry, with nine recommendations tabled overall.
It was formed by selecting 50 people of different ages, ethnicities, genders and incomes.
They considered how art, culture and creativity would shape a better future for the city, using evidence from expert witnesses to inform their vision for Coventry.
Their recommendations suggests a city-wide scheme should be developed to give everyone in Coventry the chance to experience arts and culture closer to home.
In addition, the ‘Cov Art Pass’ would give residents aged between 15 and 25 a free travel and entry pass to arts and cultural events in Coventry, while the ‘Make Something Happen Fund’ would make cash available for local people so they could create cultural events in their neighbourhoods.
The list recommends a network of Neighbourhood Creative Hubs should be designed to connect and educate people.
And it was suggested art on Coventry’s famous Ring Road should be created to form a ‘People’s Telegraph’, sharing information about local events.
The Citizens Assembly focused heavily on making Coventry a greener place with its plans including a new botanical garden to create a ‘green heart’ in the city.
Other green ideas involve a network of ‘pocket parks’ and green spaces connected with walking and bike trails as well as installing new environmentally friendly lighting in dark areas.
The Assembly was organised by local arts group Talking Birds which is using the recommendations to help develop many pilot projects in Coventry.
Pop-up trials for the environmentally friendly lighting will take place over May and June and Talking Birds held a mock-up arts hub on May 6 as part of Coventry Opens.
The recommendations have been presented to Coventry’s Cultural Compact and several were put into the Cultural Strategy, currently in consultation.
The project is supported by Arts Council England, Coventry City Council, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Coventry City of Culture 2021.
Talking Birds co-artistic director Janet Vaughan said: “The Citizen’s Assembly sought to reimagine and redefine what art for the people could – and should – be – putting cultural policy making into the hands of ordinary people.
“The recommendations sketch a better future for Coventry – one that is green in every sense and offers a democratic, regenerative, generous, equitable and collaborative life for all its citizens.
“Our citizens see a bold vision of Coventry being a pleasant place to live – verdant, green, welcoming and future-facing and where the arts are fully integrated into all communities.”
Visit talkingbirds.co.uk/A4TP to read the full recommendations.