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Paper Peace poem part 1

Coventry City of Culture Trust launches #HumansofCov campaign

Posted on 10 December 2018

The City of Culture Trust is today launching its first major campaign since Coventry won the title of UK City of Culture 2021 with an exciting new project to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Titled #HumansOfCov, the campaign will open up a conversation about human rights and what they mean for a modern, diverse city in the 21st century. It will also shine a light on grassroots activism and everyday heroes in Coventry’s many communities.

To launch the campaign, a 14ft mobile, illuminated peace poem will tour to different parts of the city, accompanied by activities that aim to engage local people in discussions around their human rights and what they mean to us today.

Written by Robert Montgomery, the poem, Paper Peace, reads:

“A hundred years and the dream never ends. All our tomorrows are fragile. The peace builders are heroes of kindness. Peace is a dream of a shared human soul that we build every day with forgiveness and kindness and hope.”

As well as developing a programme of its own in the city over the next 12 months, the Trust has also become a commissioning partner with a group of theatres in London on a project called Fly The Flag, where a new flag has been created to celebrate Human Rights.

Paper Peace part 2

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director for Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The Declaration of Human Rights was momentous for citizens and nations around the world. It gave us freedoms never imagined and opportunities which previously were only for the few.

“Throughout its history, Coventry has always pioneered activism, fighting for workers’ rights, promoting equality, tackling racism, making the case for arts in education, welcoming new communities, finding solutions for poverty and health inequalities. Coventry has always been a city of migrants and #HumansOfCov will help us talk to our citizens to understand who they are, what they hold most dear and the challenges and barriers that they face in their everyday lives.

“We want to throw a spotlight on the everyday stories of our people and communities, to show their heroic actions and pioneering spirit. We will ask the questions: Why Coventry? Why are you living here? Working here? Studying here? Bringing up families here? Why are you escaping to Coventry?

“We are known as a sanctuary, a place of welcome, a safe home and a city that promotes peace. This is a great opportunity to explore our place in this global conversation.”

The project has been created by Emergency Exit Arts with support from Arts Council England and the National Lottery. In each destination, it will gather stories, pledges and poems of peace for a National Peace Archive.

Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “Coventry has an international reputation as a city of peace and reconciliation and throughout its history has been called home by a wide and diverse mix of people.

“The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a significant milestone as this document underpins all international human rights law and inspires us to continue to work to ensure all people can gain freedom, equality and dignity. I’m sure the mobile, illuminated peace poem touring the city will prove to be thought-provoking and start discussions about issues that many of us take for granted.”