We have a situation, Coventry!

We have a situation, Coventry!

24 November 2016
7pm UK time (find your local time here)
Shop Front Theatre, Coventry, UK


Coventry University dominates in the centre of Coventry, a sprawling campus that is gradually swalllowing more and more formerly public spaces as it builds an academic empire on top of what was once the bustling centre of a large manufacturing town. As this transformation takes place, what is happening to the social relationships between the citizens of Coventry and the staff and students of the university? What does the university bring to Coventry, and what does the town give to the university? What is lost in the process? And what do wheelie bins have to do with it all?

Staff and students from the university collaborated with interested people from the local community in a one-week workshop to develop a cyberformance, which was presented on Thursday 24 November at the Shopfront Theatre and online in UpStage.

dmll_logo“We have a situation, Coventry!” is a project of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab at Coventry University, coordinated by Rachelle Viader Knowles, with Helen Varley Jamieson as International Artist in Residence in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

In October, Helen gave a FACETS lecture at the Herbert Gallery; there is a video of her lecture online here.


We have a situation, Coventry! was created and presented by Alan Van Wijgerden, Bailey Pembro, Carys Fyson, Dom Breadmore, Gabija Å imaitytÄ—, Helen Varley Jamieson, Jenelle Marfo, John Hammersley, Katherine Wimpenny, Lauren Heywood, Lyle Weir, Michelle Englefield, Raef Boylan, Rachelle Viader Knowles, Savannah Sengooba, Thomas Lawlor.

Thank you to: Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Shop Front Theatre, Jess Pinson – Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Fab Lab, Bojan Petrov, Kay Rothwell, Mary Courtney, Poppy Wilde, Caron McKenna – Coventry University Students’ Union, Alice Williams – Arts Gym, Belgrade Theatre and the Coventry residents who contributed to our research.


Photo: Mary CourtneyRubbish seems to be a point of conflict between residents and their student neighbours (photo at right by Mary Courtney). One attempt to improve this problem is an app, “Your Rubbish!“, which tries to make it easier for people to remember which bins to put out for collection when. However, some reviews of the app say that it has incorrect information. Furthermore, every household in Coventry is required to have three wheelie-bins in their front garden – yet many houses don’t have a front garden, so where are they supposed to put their bins? As a result, many streets, particularly in areas now occupied by students, are permanently lined with bins in various states of tidiness.

The university is making an effort to address the problems, with the app, neighbourhood wardens, and other measures aimed to improve awareness in the student population; but as students come and go, the problem persists.

We asked Coventry residents:
  • What concerns you most as a resident of Coventry?
  • What, if anything, concerns you about the relationship between the university and the city?
  • What concerns do you think students have about their relationship with Coventry residents?

and they contributed answers online via a public anonymous etherpad which is archived here.

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