Laura McMillan is the Manager of Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. Her role is all-encompassing, overseeing all aspects of the bidding process.
Since the official launch at the Godiva festival we’ve seen loads of events under the City of Culture 2021 bid banner, which has been your favourite?
It’s very difficult to pick a favourite, but I think our Masterji & Coventry exhibition was incredibly special. Masterji is a 94 year old photographer who came to Coventry in 1951 from the port of Bombay, bringing with him his Box Brownie camera. This was Masterji’s very first solo exhibition and took place at The Box in Fargo Village. Works from Masterji and others just shows the vibrancy and talent that Coventry has to offer.
Can you give us a clue about what else you have planned?
We are currently commissioning an artist to use digital technology to be showcased at a site in Coventry or on the web. We also have an enormous community engagement and schools campaign underway to make sure that we talk to as many people as possible, ensuring their voices are heard.
How important are projects like Friargate to the success of the bid?
Support from Friargate as one of our Bid Event Sponsors has enabled us to produce a diverse programme of events to kick-start the campaign. Regeneration projects such as Friargate and Far Gosford Street will not only create jobs and lead to further investment in Coventry, but vastly improve the city as a destination.
For people who don’t know about the benefits of being named City of Culture, what’s in it for Coventry?
The title will not only bring huge economic impact, boost tourism and lead to increased infrastructure investment, it will also allow us to rally communities behind a common cause and show the rest of the world what our city has to offer.
Photo caption: Laura McMillan, left, with, from l-r, Ben Kyneswood, Masterji, Ramiben Patel, Jason Tilley, Tarla Patel and Ravindra Patel