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The Phoenix Initiative Here

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As part of the Phoenix Initiative Public Art Programme, David Ward created an artwork in sound and light for the Priory Cloister of Coventry Cathedral. Blue light floods the walls of the cloister by night, and by day eight sound posts relay compositions of recorded voices via the adjacent Visitors’ Centre.   These voices were selected from the City’s Oral History Archive, which is open to residents to record their experience of Coventry from World War II to the present day.  The effect is of ‘whispering trees’ recounting shared memories of Coventry’s past.


I wanted to include people who talk in images so that as listeners we might, so to speak, see their recollections in the mind’s eye’. David Ward



Ward's work includes the following excerpts from the Oral History Archive:


‘The first time I saw the sea I was fourteen…. We used to go off on the back of a coal lorry to Weston-Super-Mare…. But of course we never saw the sea because it was never there.’

‘I saw it  [the Cathedral] being built…. On the day it was being topped out the big flying cross was being lowered…. there were these three big helicopters. It was amazing, absolutely amazing to see that done.’


This work is part of the Phoenix Initiative Public Art Programme, curated and managed by Modus Operandi.


David Ward

Title of work



Coventry City Council





Image credit

© David Ward