History is made by those who write the stories

Losing the City of Culture legacy programme feels like a bereavement, but what the sector is mourning is not the Trust, but the glittering story of a city lifted up and made forever better by arts, culture and creativity. Not because this story didn’t happen, but because it is currently overshadowed and in danger of being drowned out by the story of the failure of the City of Culture Trust.

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All the emotions of NPO announcement day

Co-AD Janet reflects on today’s NPO (National Portfolio Organisation) announcement from Arts Council England.

The short version of today’s news is that Talking Birds remains in ACE’s portfolio at standstill funding which is, of course, both welcome and a huge relief.

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City Garden Quest

Co-Artistic Director Janet reflects on the 5G Explorer programme (2/2).

When Coventry University approached Talking Birds about taking part in the 5G Explorer project, we decided to open the opportunity out to some of our ‘freelance family’ to take part with us. We knew that both Steph Ridings (who has worked with us in both a writing and producing capacity) and film maker Rachel Bunce had been developing projects that might benefit from the use of this kind of technology and so the three of us worked together as ‘Team TBs’ for the duration of the project.

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Bend the tech

Co-Artistic Director Janet reflects on the 5G Explorer programme.

In 2005, I gave one of the ‘Hothaus Papers’ talks at Vivid. My talk was entitled ‘Are theatre-makers natural net artists?’ and explored some of the crossover techniques that Talking Birds and others were adapting from our experimental theatre practice to the – then relatively new – practice of making natively digital artworks that existed purely on the internet, arguing (spoiler alert) that it was a pretty good fit.

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Better To Be Twins?

Twin Song was created in 2014 to mark 70 years since a bond of friendship was formalised between the people of Soviet city Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and the people of Coventry, UK. This pioneering twinning of two cities far apart was instigated by collectives of women in both cities, who exchanged potent symbols of solidarity while WW2 was still raging – the women of Stalingrad sent a book of 30,000 signatures to Coventry; women in Coventry signed and stitched a tablecloth which was sent back along with medical aid for a people emerging from one of the worst sieges in history. 

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How will arts, culture and creativity shape a better future for Coventry?

A blog about Art for the People, a Talking Birds project, originally written for Coventry 2021.

We’re hugely excited to be developing Art for the People with the support of Coventry 2021. This is a project that has been a very long time in the gestation – and for a while we didn’t know whether we would be able to convince people to invest and make it happen – because it doesn’t really take the shape of a traditional art project.

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TBs #SaluteToStratford

On the occasion of Shakespeare’s 456th birthday, we thought we’d join in the #SaluteToStratford celebrations by reminiscing (only slightly self-indulgently) about our various brushes with the town over the years. It’s (almost certainly) true to say that Stratford holds a special place in our hearts (and that’s not entirely because of the excellent coffee and percussion instruments we have purchased on Rother Street over the years…)

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Outbreaks of kindness

There’s been some great and inspiring outbreaks of kindness all over the internet this week, demonstrating just how amazingly selfless and supportive the arts sector is. So many brilliant people and ideas, giving us a glimpse of how humans can shine in a crisis, how much better we are when we work together, and how this worrying time could actually sow the seeds of – or even prototype – a better world.

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