We’ve caught up with Coventry-based artist Tara Rutledge to find out about her exciting forthcoming venture – Project Coventry – a projection-based exhibition that will take place at Classroom Gallery later this month. We’ve also delved a little deeper into Tara’s creative practice and what inspired her as an artist…
What is Project Coventry themed around?
Project Coventry is a projection-based exhibition exploring the ongoing rebirth and regeneration of Coventry.
During the Blitz much of Coventry was flattened and then rebuilt in a very different style, and in recent years a similar transformation is happening within our city, but for very different reasons. Coventry is changing and growing, becoming a University city, a City of Culture, a tourist destination and its City Centre is adapting to new trends in online shopping, and the ‘decline’ of the high street. When these changes happened back in the 50s and 60s they weren’t always popular, and nearly 60 years on, people’s attitude towards alterations in the city haven’t changed all that much.
There seems to be a strong link between our sense of self and the city we grew up in. If that familiarity is lost, is our sense of home lost too?
Project Coventry will bring together local artists, some who have never worked with projection before, and pair them with experienced projection artists, to make new collaborative artworks that explore this theme.
Tell us which artists will be exhibiting and why you selected them for your show?
There are 12 artists involved in Project Coventry, including myself.
They are all extremely talented and work with a wide range of media including photography, poetry, printmaking, animation and film. They all have a strong connection to the city so seemed perfect to interpret the brief, but they are also artists who I hugely admire and who have influenced my practice since being introduced to their work.
What kind of thing can people expect to see at Project Coventry?
I’ve tried to make the exhibition as interactive as possible, giving the audience the opportunity to become involved with the projections, wearing 3d glasses to view stereoscopic images of the city from the 1960s, seeing poems projected onto live performers, listening to music and soundscapes and becoming live projections themselves!
What dates will the exhibition run?
Project Coventry – The Exhibition is a one-off event running from 6.30 pm – 9.30pm on Thursday 20th June at CLASS ROOM & Holyhead Studios in Coventry City Centre. It’s a chance to showcase all the artwork at the same time in one location, but following on from the gallery exhibition, a selection of the artworks will be toured around Coventry this autumn. I’m keen to take the artwork out to parks, libraries, shops, subways and public spaces where anyone can access them. In fact, I will be reaching out to the public for suggestions of where they’d like to view it in their local area, so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.
Where can people go to find out more?
Please check out the Project Coventry website, where you can find full details of when and where the exhibition will be held and learn more about each of the artists involved:
We’d love to get to know more about you as an artist. What type of work do you produce yourself as a Visual Artist?
My work is quite varied, recently I’ve been experimenting with projection, photography, film and outdoor installations.
What themes do you explore through your work?
I was wondering about this myself the other day, and initially didn’t think I had any in particular but, I noticed a reoccurring theme seems to be looking at things from a different viewpoint. Whether that be finding beauty within decay, viewing the world through a different lens or just questioning what we take for granted.
Otherwise the main consistent theme through most of my recent work is interactivity, taking art outdoors and community engagement.
What forms the starting point for a new piece of work?
Conversations, dreams, thoughts that pop into my head while walking, other people’s artwork often inspires me and sparks new ideas.
Are there any other artists who you admire and feel inspired by?
As well as the artists involved in Project Coventry I’d have to say individual artists like Luke Jerram, Niall McDiarmid, Alex Rinsler, JPS and then companies like Hellion Trace, Imagineer Productions, The Lantern Company, SquidSoup and Luxmuralis.
Do you have any future projects planned?
Too many! But, for now, I’m concentrating on just one or two.
Last year I went to Dublin and fell in love with the Dublin Canvas project, a campaign inspired by the idea of having ‘Less Grey, More Play’ within a city. The project does a regular call out to artists for designs to decorate the city’s traffic light control boxes. All have different themes and they really brighten up the areas they are located in. I’d love to bring this idea to Coventry, starting with a call out to local artists to design 12 boxes to inspire people and show what can be done, and then taking the project out into the community. Encouraging local schools/community groups/shop workers to design the artwork for the boxes on their street.
I’m also keen to bring a Flash Fiction competition to the city, giving winners a chance to be mentored by local writers and learn from their wealth of experience.
Where can people go to find out more about you and your creative practice?
You can find me on
I have a website going live in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for an announcement on social media.