For many years, Coventry has been running a two week annual Peace Festival culminating on the anniversary of the bombing on 14 November 1940. This year, due to staff changes and a new City Events Manager Jon Hogan only recently starting at Coventry City Council, the planning for Festival has had to be compressed.
Mr Hogan said “The Council retains its desire to host a Peace Festival and, going forward, wishes to generate new audiences and evaluate events in order to make the Festival ever more successful. However given the narrow window of planning for this year and the resources available, I have asked the Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation to help with this year’s Festival in a practical and pragmatic way.
“For this year, the Committee will curate a programme rather than the Council running a grant application process, as happened in previous years. Whilst we accept that this may well mean a shorter programme, we believe that the significant events already planned provide scope to attract new audiences.”
The Chair of the Lord Mayor’s Committee, Philip Brown, said “The Committee considers the Peace Festival to be an important part of Coventry’s international reputation as a ‘City of Peace and Reconciliation’ and we will do everything we can to ensure it continues into the future. Given the very limited time available, it is not going to be possible to run a complete programme.
“Nevertheless, a number of significant events have already been planned for this year.
“The RISING Global Forum will be held from 13-15 November with a line-up of international speakers. ‘Where Light Falls’ will offer projections and text of commemoration and reconciliation in the Cathedral ruins in the evenings of 14-16 which should act as a beacon to a new large audience.
“We hope some of them will stay to listen to the Lord Mayor’s Peace Lecture which this year will be delivered by Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General in Coventry Cathedral on 14 November.
“At that event, the Committee will also publish a new edition of the classic book “Ruined and Rebuilt” written by Provost Richard Howard. Long out of print, this is a moving account of how, having failed to save the Cathedral on that night in 1940, he resolved not only to rebuild the Cathedral but to devote it to peace and reconciliation. It is due in no small measure to his faith, energy and dedication that Coventry became what it is today.
“These are just some of the events to be held during the Festival. And we also plan to extend the Festival by running a ‘Young People’s Peace Programme’ during the first half of 2020. More details will be announced during the ‘Young People’s Conference on Peace and Reconciliation’ we will be running on 8 November.
“More information about all these events and booking for Baroness Chakrabarti’s lecture can be found on the Committee’s website CoventryCityOfPeace.uk.”