Chenine Bhathena was appointed creative director of the Coventry City of Culture Trust in 2018 and has been the architect of the creative programme for Coventry’s year of culture in 2021. During a hugely challenging final two years of the project (thanks to the pandemic), she has led the creative and production teams and built partnerships on local, regional, national and international levels. Bhathena has made a point of prioritising the inclusion of local artists and communities who might not normally engage with the cultural sector. She explains the success of her approach as such: “if you take work into the community, on to people’s doorsteps, they do want to engage in it. There’s just sometimes barriers we have to break down”. Bhathena has significant experience as a senior cultural leader and strategist. For over eight years, she worked at the Greater London Authority as London 2012 creative programmer and then as senior culture manager, responsible for embedding culture into new developments, infrastructure projects, industrial strategies and planning. Amongst other projects, she led culture and peacemaking for the Mayor of London.