DIALOGUE programme - Cultural Activism
The Pod is committed to rights-based solution focused practice in secondary mental health and recognises and asserts the importance of us having an authentic connection with the city, its cultural leaders, its creatives, its entrepreneurs, its change makers and its activists.
The Pod as both a statutory mental health resource and cultural/social activism hub has a multi-faceted remit; a common strand is that all facets either implicitly or explicitly aim to build individual/organisational and/or societal capacity for creativity, innovation and resilience
In 2010 The Pod's Collective//Pod formed with majority membership artists with experience of severe and enduring mental ill health (as associates of the Pod) and the membership was evolving. It believed that creativity challenges and infiltrates what we do and how we feel, both subconsciously and consciously. Through this relationship and collaboration with other professional artists and the creative industries on a local and international platform symbiotic and transformative relationships evolved. This was achieved through the continued development of a professional, eclectic and thought-provoking and evolving arts programme that inspires images of possibility.
The Pod is cited as being a culturally impacting arts and mental health organisation in Coventry’s Cultural Strategy and was actively involved in engaging communities of interest and artists in the development of the City of Culture bid.
The move to the new premises, 31 Far Gosford Street, in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter in 2018 and the success of partnerships/relationships forged (and lessons learnt) through the Scratch the Surface – DIALOGUE festival agitated new conversations and ideas about our work and cultural impact. With consensus it was decided that our art and cultural work is steered through/sits under the Pod's DIALOGUE programme: an evolving partnership/conversation with key cultural organisations, communities of interest, practitioners and activists to maximise the impact of the Pod Café as a unique venue, Supper Clubs, the Zine library/Studio, the Food Union CV5 allotment and the Bob and Roberta Smith shed.
Since opening in March 2018 as part of DIALOGUE we have:
The Pod Cafe Supper Clubs 2019
The supper clubs have been hugely successful and many of the people joining us for supper have afterwards become active members of our citywide social/cultural activism programs Food Union and Time Union, Coventry. As an integral part of the Supper Clubs we have had the opportunity to host some amazing live music through our DIALOGUE partnership with Room Art and Tin Angel Records. The whole ethos of The Pod supper clubs is to grow our community - we believe food is a universal language and are proud to offer a plant based shared table menu using ingredients predominantly sourced from our growing site and/or Coventry Market.
Supper Clubs are all about strengthening our unique relationship with the city, its cultural, environmental and social activists.
The outline planned dates (so far) for supper clubs and other events for the first half of the year are as follows:
All events will have a live music/performance element and other events, particularly at CV5.
We are excited to announce that we are design and delivery partners for the inaugural CHANGE Festival. Change Festival is a new arts festival with something for everyone to look forward to. Above all, it’s a celebration of imagination. Can you imagine better? Better food. Better homes. Better communities. Better lives for ourselves and our friends. To create better possibilities, first we need to imagine them. Change Festival 2019 will take place in Coventry over three days. It will gather artists, circus, theatre, speakers and audiences from the West Midlands to imagine, play and explore. More details of the project we have been developing will be released soon.
Coventry Biennale for Contemporary Art
We are also partnering again with Coventry Biennale for Contemporary Art. Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art brings critically engaged, high quality contemporary visual art to the city and surrounding area. Celebrating and promoting contemporary art and artists, the festival is equally rooted in the city of Coventry, its history and its future.
The second Coventry Biennial will run from 4 October to 24 November 2019 across the city. Coventry Biennale Director Ryan Hughes has said ‘After successfully working together in 2017, we are excited to have renewed and built upon our relationship with The Pod. Together we will host an artist residency and series of events across their unique venues and we’re excited to direct our audiences to The Pod's eatery on Far Gosford Street for some of the best vegan food in the country and a real taste of Coventry!’
The next 12 months has short studio residencies to three mid-career artists whose practice will be required to span the studio and CV5 with one of the outputs being a Zine. We will also soon be announcing a programme of ECO poetic performances on Thursday afternoons curated in collaboration with Coventry University Academic's publishing houses.