Finding Middlemarch in Coventry


Finding Middlemarch in Coventry is a new project led by Ruth Livesey and Redell Olsen, in partnership with Nuneaton Art Gallery and Museum (NMAG) and Culture Coventry (Herbert Museum & Coventry Archives), Dash Arts theatre company and Warwick Arts Centre. 

During 2021-2022, this project will reimagine George Eliot’s radical artistic vision of ‘provincial life’ in the Midlands through collaborations with diverse communities as part of Coventry City of Culture. It will tell the story of Eliot and the ground-breaking literary experiment of her novel Middlemarch, published 150 years ago in 2021, with the people living in the city which it fictionalised.   

The project will enable Livesey’s research on Eliot’s art of the everyday, and its problematisation of a provincial/metropolitan cultural divide in Britain, to reach new audiences through a series of co-produced outputs:  

  • community archive workshops resulting in an online exhibition 
  • Part-immersive theatre experience and part-mystery game ‘The Great Middlemarch Mystery’, devised by Dash Arts in collaboration with Ruth Livesey and working with community groups in Coventry 
  • an experimental short film directed by Redell Olsen 

More information about the partners and individuals involved can be found here.

The proposed activities address the needs of new non-academic partners identified during the course of the PI’s AHRC Leadership Fellowship (2019-20):  

1) The development of a new George Eliot interpretation strategy by Nuneaton Art Gallery and Museum (NMAG) and Culture Coventry (Herbert Museum & Coventry Archives), for their extensive holdings concerning her life and work. This will change the story visitors to these institutions take away with them about Eliot and is a major long-term investment. 

2) Innovative research-led content development complementing the Middlemarch strand of Coventry City of Culture led by Warwick Arts Centre.

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