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Archbishop of Canterbury: Coventry would make the most of City of Culture

The Archbishop of Canterbury believes Coventry would ‘make the most of the opportunity’ to be UK City of Culture in 2021, if it were successful with its bid.

Archbishop of Canterbury: Coventry would make the most of City of Culture



(left to right): David Burbidge, Laura McMillan (both Coventry City of Culture Trust), Justin Welby, Sandy Nairne


Justin Welby, who has links to Coventry and Warwickshire – including being appointed a canon residentiary at Coventry Cathedral in 2002, was speaking at an event in London which was organised by Coventry City of Culture Trust to inform key, national decision-makers about how the bid was progressing and also some of the key themes that had emerged.

More than 120 people attended the event on Warwick Business School’s floor at The Shard where Welby, who was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 2012, spoke of the city’s exceptionally rich history and diversity.

He said: “Coventry is one of the most special places in this country. It’s been shaped by its history, it’s reimagined itself several times.

“It’s a city that’s picked itself up, dusted itself off and remade itself, in the most exciting and extraordinary way.

“If it is the UK City of Culture in 2021, it is a place that will make the most of that opportunity, it will be a place that takes it and makes it something really, really special. If it is successful, it will achieve exactly what the City of Culture was designed for.

“Coventry is one of the most multicultural cities in the United Kingdom and it is also one of the most successful in that area.”

The event was facilitated by Adam Dent, managing director at Advent Communications, and included presentations from Laura McMillan, Coventry City of Culture Trust manager, David Burbidge, Chairman of the Trust, and Sandy Nairne, former director of the National Portrait Gallery.

There was also a panel discussion led by bid advisor Andrew Dixon with dancer Ashley Jordan, Professor Jonothan Neelands (University of Warwick), Julia Negus (Shopfront Theatre), Sabir Zazai (Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre) and Victoria Perry (Jaguar Land Rover). Positive Youth Foundation’s Changing Trax group also gave a performance.

Laura said: “We have been spreading Coventry’s message far and wide and this was another great opportunity to speak to a new audience and tell them about the great things happening in the city.

“We were thrilled that Justin Welby and Sandy Nairne both spoke so positively about Coventry and that they recognise what a game-changer it could be for the city.”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are also Bid Development Sponsors.

For more information about Coventry’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid visit

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