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Sensing the City: An Urban Room

​“After almost 50 years of neglect of the human dimension, here at the beginning of the 21st century we have an urgent need and growing willingness to once again create cities for people.”

Jan Gehl, architect and urban planner, Cities for People, 2010

How can the human body be in measure of the city?
How can a focus on human sensing enhance the habitability of urban life?
What do the sensed contours, textures and atmospheres of the city tell us about it?
Who and what is Coventry city centre for?
What kind of city do we wish to live in?

As a collaborative research group of artists and academics, specialising in the application of experimental methodologies in dance and choreography, creative writing, performance, film, photography and sound technologies, three years have been spent on exploring them in and around Coventry city centre.

The aim was to produce an integrated embodied mapping of the city centre which, using multiple spatio-temporal forms of expression, would consider its viability as a place supposedly designed for people. This was done against a backdrop of Coventry’s medieval, post-second world war and recent 21st century history, all of which is reflected in an eclectic, changing built environment that generates very particular atmospheres.

The exhibition also hosts a grid map of Coventry designed for Sensing the City by Dave Allen and contributions from Coventrians.



Daily screenings | Coventry Radiant City by Michael Lightborne with the participation of the artist, The Tank.(Mon-Fri | 3pm, Duration: approx. 80mins, no booking required).

Beginning inside the exhibition space, Carolyn Deby/sirenscrossing will offer short audience experiences for up to eight people at a timebeginning daily 12.00pm, 12.20pm, 12.40pm, 1.00pm, 1.20pm, 1.40pm (Mon-Fri, Duration: 15 mins). The work will end outdoors close to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. Please dress for the weather conditions. (Daily booking recommended with the exhibition invigilators).

Visit the underpass system at Junction 5 of the Coventry ringroad and surrounding areas daily between 3.30pm - 5.30pm (Monday 13 & Friday 17 January); 12.00pm - 2.00pm (Wednesday 15 January); 7.30am - 9.30am (Tuesday 14 & Thursday 16 January) to encounter the movement practice of enter & inhabit.

Exhibition curated by Sarah Shalgosky & Fiona Venables. 


Project team:

Professor Nicolas Whybrow, University of Warwick

Dr Natalie Garrett Brown, enter+inhabit, University of East London

Dr Emma Meehan, Coventry University

Dr Michael Pigott, University of Warwick

Carolyn Deby, sirenscrossing

Dr Nese Ceren Tosun, University of Warwick

Rob Batterbee, University of Warwick