We've teamed up with Heritage Crafts for a programme of events and on-air coverage of crafts in Coventry, to coincide with Coventry City of Culture. We are grateful for funding by Coventry City Council.

A series of craft workshops and on-air content were delivered between January and March 2022, focusing on how making has defined the city in the past and continues to do so today; from the wool and leather trades, through ribbon making, and watchmaking, through to car and bicycle making.

Coventry is a city steeped in craft skill, and that legacy continues to this day with these skills and and many more. We've used this opportunity to celebrate the role that making plays in keeping us healthy, happy and engaged with the material and social world around us, and its contribution to local distinctiveness and place.

The project culminated with a big flagship event on Saturday 26 March at Drapers Hall - Heritage Crafts' annual conference - combining influential and inspiring talks, demonstrations of craft skills and more. Here are some of the event highlights:

  • Keynote speakers: Patrick Grant (BBC Great British Sewing Bee, Community Clothing) and Prof Martyn Evans (Director of the Manchester School of Art)
  • Presentation by Rachel New, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and Creative Lives
  • Jo Sealy, The Black Artisans
  • Panel discussion featuring:
    • Mark Webb, The Prince’s Foundation
    • Emily Johnson, 1882 Ltd
    • James Noble, MotoFest Coventry
    • Dr Ödül Bozkurt, University of Sussex
  • Tours of the craft objects at Coventry Cathedral and the Herbert Gallery (limited numbers)

The event also included various free activities:

  • Demonstrations of Coventry crafts old and new, in and around Drapers’ Hall, including:
    • Bicycle making
    • Watch making
    • Gold thread embroidery
    • Indigo dying and slow stitch
    • Leather working
    • Green woodwork
    • Ghanaian waist beads
  • Craft Cinema
  • Repair Café
  • Craft workshops (to be confirmed)

   Ebony Ademola at Making Places event

Photos by Sally Reay

Getting crafty

Local residents who were curious to try their hand at some heritage crafts participated in a series of FREE in-person workshops at different venues in Coventry:

  • Weaving workshop: 17 February 
  • Ghanaian Waist Beads workshop: 23 February 
  • Gold Embroidery workshop with Hanny Newton: 10 March 
  • Leather craft workshop with Nigel Armitage: 15 March 
  • Eco dying and slow stitch workshop with Julia O'Connell: 24 March 

Here's a snapshot from the first workshop which focused on weaving and its historic ties with the city of Coventry.

People around a table working with weaving materials at The Making of Coventry weaving workshop

Photo by Rachel New