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We Have A Situation: Coventry!

Lab Contact: Katherine Wimpenny
Team: Lauren Heywood
Coventry we have a situation


We Have A Situation:Coventry! is a DMLL project involving Helen Varley Jamieson, a media artist, playwright, performer, director and producer and the ‘International Artist in Residence’ 2016, in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities (FAH), at Coventry University from November 17 – 24th.

During the residency period, coordinated by Rachelle Vader Knowles, Helen led a week-long workshop to involve both students from across FAH as well as engage people of Coventry in an online-offline performative media artwork, or cyberformance hosted at Theatre Absolute. The focus of the residency and ‘situation’ was to explore how dialogue-based projects such as We Have A Situation! can offer valuable spaces and opportunities for the fostering of relationships between the university and city and to propose new models for active citizenship. The DMLL will be evaluating the project, led by Katherine Wimpenny.

Project details

Specifically, WHAS:C! addressed questions about the relationship between a city centre university and local community issues, through a live, online-offline performance developed through active participant involvement in a community theatre space.

WHAS:C! created a space where students from across disciplines, at different stages of study, came together with academic staff, artists, and local residents to collaborate on research and artistic creation, with a focus on collaborative learning communities (Jamieson, Fisher, Gilding et al. 2000). The reciprocal skills, values and understandings of the participants were explored in networked contexts, to learn about knowing ‘the world around us’; to reconfigure learning spaces in order to better facilitate formal and informal, experiential, interactive and social learning (Oblinger 2006; Dugdale 2009).

The distinction between ‘players’ and ‘audience’ (online and offline) within UpStage offered a novel and different sense of space for the sharing of different perceptions of the university and the community. The ‘players’ shared the operation of digital media, live audio-visual streams, and performance in the proximal (offline) space, while the ‘audience’ contributed in UpStage through an anonymous text chat and in the proximal space via chalkboards.

The project led to a final ‘performance’ in the ShopFront Theatre, revealing a rich collage of digital and performed material that articulated stories, legends, facts and experiences relating to the city/university relationship as sites of conflict and accommodation; including concepts of community, of coexistence and managing difference.

The project gave students the opportunity to explore their creativity outside of university assessment, and to become inspired by artists from other creative fields through a collaborative effort.



Please check out a recent article about ‘We have a Situation: Coventry!’ on
See the following link to find out more about WHAS,C! as well as other ‘situations’ Helen Varley Jamieson has facilitated



In Dialogue Conference, Nottingham New Arts Exchange, 1 – 2nd Dec, 2016

The project team were invited guest speakers forming a panel who discussed the work, entitled: Cyberformance, dialogue and participatory learning platforms.

The project is currently being written up for publication April 2017 – watch this space!



  • Rachelle Viader Knowles, Associate Head of School (International), School of Art and Design
  • Helen Varley Jamieson, Media artist, playwright, performer, director and producer (New Zealand/Germany), Faculty of Arts & Humanities ‘International Artist in Residence’ 2016
  • Dom Breadmore, Media artist and Creative Director at Ludic Rooms, Coventry. Lecturer in Media Production, School of Media and Performance
  • Katherine Wimpenny, Reader in Arts Related Research and Pedagogy, and Co-Lead, DMLL
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