Finding Middlemarch in Coventry

#FindingMiddlemarch

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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Welcome

This is the home page for the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded projects ‘Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century Britain‘ and ‘Finding Middlemarch in Coventry, 20212022‘.

Finding Middlemarch in Coventry, 2021 – 2022

#FindingMiddlemarch

In 2021-2022 we continue Eliot’s legacy as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of her novel ‘Middlemarch’, with public events in the year in which Coventry itself is UK City of Culture. Through our current project we will reimagine Eliot’s radical artistic vision of ‘provincial life’ in the Midlands through creative participation workshops and projects in Coventry including a collaborative online exhibition with Nuneaton Art Gallery and Museum and Coventry Archives, an immersive multi-location theatre experience with Dash Arts, and an experimental short film by Redell Olsen. Head over to our Events page to find out how you can get involved.

Provincialism: Literature and the Cultural Politics of Middleness in Nineteenth-Century

During 2019-2020 the project team explored how nineteenth-century writers defined English provincialism. We walked and mapped the countryside around Nuneaton, in North Warwickshire: a place made famous in the novels of provincial life by George Eliot. We brought new readers and writers to the legacy of George Eliot in her bicentenary year through talks, workshops, courses, and teaching packs. Our associated seminar series ‘Provincialism at Large’ featured literary scholars, political theorists, and art historians, working with graduate students to explore what provincialism and the depiction of provincial life meant to the Victorians in an age of imperialism.