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Seeing through other eyes: the enduring value of town and city twinning

13th November 2020 14:00-15:00

About this event

Born out a desire to promote reconciliation and peace, Coventry was a pioneer in twinning and went on to become twinned with 26 towns and cities around the world. Towns and cities in UK have twinned with other cities for four key reasons:

  • to break down barriers and misunderstanding (e.g. several cities in England became twinned with cities in Eastern Europe after the second world war)
  • to express a sense of solidarity (e.g. the active seeking of ties with cities in the global south)
  • to promote economic ties (e.g. new links with cities in China and Japan)
  • to strengthen already close ties (e.g. links between cities in EU countries)

Our project was particularly interested in schools and here twinning has encouraged sporting, drama and other cultural exchanges as well as collaboration on curriculum projects. Projects have sometimes been supported for trusts and philanthropic grants, and in Europe by EU funding.

Coventry has a rich and particular tradition of twinning and this talk will explore this history. We will illustrate our story with pictures of artefacts including: a tablecloth signed by women in Coventry as a fund raiser for the besieged people of Stalingrad in the Second World War; the Stalingrad Madonna that hangs in the city cathedral; and a cover of a programme for a pantomime put on by Coventry students in Jinan in the 1980s. We will suggest that twinning is worthwhile but requires planning and the active participation of participants.

For more about our project on twinning go to:

Welcome to the 2020 Festival of Social Science

This website is an archived version of the 2020 festival, visit the main website for this years events