Fly the Flag for Human Rights

The Coventry City of Culture Trust is hosting a full week of pop-up events, talks and activities as part of a national campaign to mark 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.

Coventry will Fly the Flag for Human Rights as part of a major national campaign, which will see a range of activities in the city next week.

Coventry is a commissioning partner on Fly the Flag, a new commission by internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei who has created a new flag to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A full programme of events will take place between 24 June and 30 June with Coventry joining London and other countries around the world – including Mexico, USA, Iceland, Germany, Denmark and Greece – in marking the anniversary.

It will include the West Midlands premiere of Ai Weiwei’s new film, The Rest, which will be screened at Square One on 26 June and will feature an evening of discussion, music and food from around the world.

Other events to be staged during Fly the Flag week include:

  • The arrival of a giant shoebox in Broadgate from 25 June to 28 June. A Mile in My Shoes is a pop-up event led by Empathy Museum. Visitors can drop in at any time between 10:30 am and 6 pm to literally walk in someone else’s shoes, wearing headphones and listening to an audio story of that person. Stories range from a Syrian refugee to a sex worker and a war veteran to a neurosurgeon, celebrating our difference, from loss and grief to hope and love.
  • An Open Conversation Our Place at The Table will be exploring equalities and human rights on 25 June at Feeding Coventry. Human Rights and what it means to be human in the city of Coventry will be debated and discussed over food between 5 pm and 8 pm. The event is in partnership with Coventry City Council, introduced by Councillor Ram Lakha the event will feature international and local human rights activists, artists and speakers from UN, UNESCO and TedX.
  • Schools in the city will be taking part in a range of activities including making their own flags and learning about Human Rights. Templars Primary School, for example, will be coming together to create and fly a giant flag.

Fly the Flag week follows on from the Coventry City of Culture Trust launching its #HumansofCov campaign in December touring Paper Peace, an illuminated peace poem to different communities across the city.

The campaign throws a spotlight onto everyday heroes in Coventry, celebrating human rights, and encourages people to look after and nurture these rights at home and in their everyday lives.

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “As a city of peace and reconciliation, and with a world-leading Centre for Peace Studies and a United Nations Association (UNA) branch at Coventry University, it is fitting that we show our hand when it comes to human rights.

“Coventry has always been a caring city, a city made of difference, and a city whose citizens stand up for the rights of their neighbours, from Lady Godiva and George Eliot through Mo Mowlam and Jerry Dammers.

“Throughout history the footprint our great citizens have left behind has been extraordinary, and as we look around the city today at the foodbanks the homeless projects, the youth programmes, we see everyday heroes in our communities still thinking about how to help improve the lives of others.

“At this time when the world is undergoing seismic change, there has never been a more important time for us to recognise who we are and what we stand for, and why we value being human.”

Ana Gillespie, Senior Producer at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said Coventry was the perfect place to Fly the Flag for Human Rights. She said: “We are very proud to be part of this international campaign and to have been one of the leading partners in raising the awareness of Human Rights.

“Coventry has been a city of activists going back hundreds of years and that has continued right up to the present day and now, as much as ever, it is vital that people understand what their Human Rights are and that we celebrate our everyday heroes and grassroots activism.

“It will be wonderful to see Ai Weiwei’s flag, which features a footprint, flying in the city as a physical reminder of all of our rights as well as throwing a spotlight on to the many other activities and programmes our communities are leading.”

Fly the Flag is presented by the Coventry City of Culture Trust with Fuel, Amnesty International, Donmar Warehouse, Human Rights Watch, Liberty, National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Tate Art Galleries and Farnham Maltings.

For more information on events taking place next week, to get involved or to let the Coventry City of Culture Trust about how you are Flying the Flag for Human Rights visit their website here.