Coventry appoints Creative Director for UK City of Culture 2021

Chenine Bhathena has been appointed Creative Director for Coventry's programme as UK City of Culture 2021.

Coming from the Mayor of London's Culture team, Chenine has previously delivered programmes to huge audiences as Creative Programmer for the London 2012 Festival, with events across the City of London and 32 London boroughs, as well as spearheading the new London Borough of Culture competition. She has been producing and commissioning work with a range of artists for 25 years.

Chenine Bhathena said: “This is such an exciting role and I am really looking forward to working with the team and the whole city to create something extraordinary in 2021.

“I can see great synergies between Coventry’s ambitions for 2021 and with what I have been doing with culture and communities during my career.

"It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city and everyone has seen the positive effect it has had on Hull – but Coventry will tell its own story and will put its own stamp on City of Culture.

"It's a diverse and youthful city and is a global leader in peace and reconciliation. This is an opportunity for Coventry to continue to take a lead on some of the major issues facing the world today and be a trailblazer.

"I can’t wait to move to the city and get started in the role. Everyone has been so friendly and so welcoming and I’m hugely inspired by its story, its medieval, industrial and musical heritage as well as its ambitions for the future as a city of culture and creativity. A city of dreams.

"The year of 2021 will be a chance to tell some great stories about Coventry and position the city differently. The Trust developed a brilliant, winning bid and I look forward to leading these extraordinary programmes.

"I am inspired by the landscape of the city centre. From the ring road, public squares and rooftops through to canals, parks and stadiums – the city will be our stage and we will create a programme that not only takes culture to the people of the city but will be designed and curated by and with local communities.

"It’s a truly special time to be in Coventry and will be an unforgettable year.”

David Burbidge, the Chairman of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said more than 40 candidates had applied for the post which will formally start in July.

He said: “Within only a matter of days of winning the title, we embarked on a search for our Creative Director because the role is central to the delivery of the programme in 2021.

“We were blown away by the quality and quantity of applications and drew up a shortlist of great candidates.

“Chenine’s personality, skills and experience are remarkably aligned to what we want to deliver for the city in the lead up to 2021, the year itself and the legacy so we are delighted to have her on board.”

Chenine will work alongside the existing team which includes Laura McMillan, who is now Director of Operations and Legacy at the Coventry City of Culture Trust.

Coventry City Council Leader Cllr George Duggins said:

“This is a fantastic appointment for Coventry.

“The team, led by Laura and David, did a great job in winning the title. Now Chenine and the team have the opportunity to build on those foundations and create something truly memorable for Coventry, to encourage the largest possible participation of people of our city and provide a lasting positive effect on every community in our great city.”

Image of Chenine Bhathena by Inpress Images.

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