The organisations will each work with five young people from Coventry and five young people in each of the international partner cities; Detroit, Beirut, Bogota and Nairobi, to create a cultural exchange, to enable young people to get involved in civic change, using their creativity to change the world.

The exchanges will culminate in a three-day International Summit led by the cohort of young people, that will take place in Coventry during the UK City of Culture year from May 2021 to May 2022. 

The Trust is working with Positive Youth Foundation, Coventry City Council and the British Council on delivering this programme.

The Trust are also working with Canada-based organisation, Youthful Cities, to conduct research on the ‘Youthfulness’ of Coventry and the partner cities. The full report, which will be published later this year, will form the basis of the exchange programme. It will highlight a series of themes relating to the different challenges and global issues that young people must deal with or are concerned about in modern cities around the world.  

Each exchange may explore major global themes of our day, such as the environment, homelessness and equality. Young people will be encouraged to use music, arts, spoken word and digital creativity to explore these big issues. 

Applications are now open for the exchanges with Bogata, Detroit and Beirut. The Trust is looking for organisations that can demonstrate a track record in street art, music or storytelling, and are committed to giving a voice to young people

A online workshops will be held on 12th October for those who want to find out more. The applications process closes on 23rd October. 

Titi Dawudu, the Young People and Youthfulness Programme Manager at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:

“This is an incredible opportunity for the artistic organisations of Coventry. Working with young people and with those from different parts of the world can open doors and create meaningful and long-lasting collaborations.

“This is the chance to empower local and international young people create art which means something to them, and to really mark Coventry as a city which moves forward on an international stage.”

Chenine Bhathena, of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:

“Coventry is a youthful city in every way. It is one of the UK’s youngest cities with an average age of 32, compared to the current UK average of 41, we are told that the UK hasn’t been 32 since the 1970s.

“But our city’s youthfulness is about more than just our age. Every movement in our city throughout history involved young people. From the invention of electronic music, to Two-tone to pioneering Theatre in Education. These creative movements were all spear headed by our young population. Youthfulness is a mindset, a playfulness and curiosity, that pushes us to discover and create new ideas, and to be open and connected to new thinking and collaborations. 

“This programme will promote the voices of our younger population, leaving behind a lasting legacy of change for Coventry and our partner cities. We want to show the world what can be achieved when the spirit of youthfulness, creativity and collaboration are put at the heart of major projects like this one. That is what being City of Culture is all about.”

You can find out how to apply at www.coventry2021.co.uk/jobs

Photo credit:Dylan Parrin

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