TRG Arts Partners In Pioneering International Diversity Initiative:

15 Future Cultural Leaders Selected

July 1, 2020
Jill Robinson by TRG Arts

TRG Arts is a partner in a major new program to support the next generation of cultural leaders in the United Kingdom. TRG Arts is working with Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry University and other partners on an innovative program designed to strengthen and diversify the next generation of leadership for Coventry’s creative sector which will reflect the diversity and cultural strengths of the city.

Image: 15 future cultural leaders selected

Coventry is set to be the focus of artistic attention in 2021 as it becomes the UK’s City of Culture. TRG Arts is working across the Trust’s planning as its Loyalty Partner, aiming to broaden and grow sustainable audiences for the arts in 2021 and beyond. TRG Arts is also an active member of the Cultural Leadership program steering group that has selected 15 up-and-coming leaders from nearly 100 applications for the City of Culture Leadership Program that will run across the next two years.

The appointed applicants include filmmakers, entrepreneurs, artists, DJs and writers, as well as dancers, event organizers, community group leaders and clothing company creators, who will all receive support and funding to continue their work within Coventry’s creative community.

The Trust and its partners are co-creating the leadership program with the appointed applicants, creating a two-year leadership program wrapped around the cohort, enabling them to realize their ambitions for the city. As well as receiving mentoring and access to training, the program will provide the leaders with a digital space which will facilitate them to continue networking and sharing ideas and updates.

TRG Arts brings an international dimension to the program and will support the leaders to make global connections. TRG Arts Chief Executive Jill Robinson said, “When we agreed to be a partner in this program last year we knew that exciting and important things would be happening in Coventry. The Cultural Leadership program is a truly radical approach that could make a fundamental impact on the diversity of the sector in Coventry. We want to learn from these 15 fantastic individuals in their journey over the next two years and share this new knowledge with clients and partners around the world.”

One of the successful applicants, Alfie Deas, runs a contemporary clothing brand “Only Girl Worth Chasing,” with designs inspired by his hometown. Deas said, “I am excited and very grateful to be a part of the City of Culture Leadership Program. I feel it will give us a platform to showcase the creative talent within Coventry. I believe that Coventry should be the destination and not the departure point for current and future creatives.”

Coventry resident and artist Laura Nyahuye designs unique handcrafted wearable body adornments. She added, “My prayer is, we will all look back 10 years down the line and say I see legacy from the City of Culture, real diversity in our art sector and more leadership roles for people of color!”

Melissa Smith, who is helping to produce the Creative Health community-powered festival in the city said, “I am a huge advocate for the arts and creativity so being chosen to be part of the leadership program is truly an honor. I’m looking forward to learning and connecting in different ways so we can amplify the benefits and our voices to get more people involved with the creative scene here in Coventry throughout 2021 and beyond.”

Tyler Campbell is a 19-year-old Coventry entrepreneur who last year responded to the spate of knife crime in the city by founding Fridays, a young person’s youth club and entertainment space. He said, “I am really excited to be part of this project. I am a thinker and doer – always pushing myself to follow my dreams. It’s something I am keen to help others achieve. I am eager to learn as many leadership skills as I can so I can encourage and help other young people to fulfil their potential in the future so a huge thank you for this golden opportunity!”

Coventry based writer and creator, Alexandra Johnson said, “What an amazing opportunity this is, I’m thrilled to have been selected as one of the 15 and looking forward to making a difference to our fantastic city for 2021 and beyond.”

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust said, “Confident leadership across our city is essential for us to realize our vision to reimagine the role of culture in a diverse, modern Britain. More than ever before the city and region need its ambitious, socially engaged leaders and we are delighted to be supporting this cohort of Coventrians through the leadership program.”

The Cultural Leadership program has received substantial funding of £550,000 from Arts Council England. Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said, “We’re pleased to be supporting the City of Culture Leadership Program and providing opportunities for a diverse range of people from Coventry to grow their future careers in arts and culture.”

He added, “Investment is key to nurturing the next generation of creative talent, and thanks to funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, this program will offer 15 creative leaders the opportunity to hone their skills and expertise in time for Coventry City of Culture 2021 and long into the future.”