Project Details

Coventry Dresden Arts Exchange

Short Description and Goal

Set up by two artists, John Yeadon from Coventry and Jean Kirsten in Dresden. The idea is to promote arts based partnerships between the two cities and they have organised several exhibitions including ones in Roots Gallery during Coventry Peace Festival 2012 and in the Johann Stadthalle in Dresden in September 2013.

Detailed Description

The Coventry/Dresden Arts Exchange is an artist-led initiative founded in 2012 by John Yeadon from Coventry and his Dresden counterpart Jean Kirsten. The exchange programme seeks to develop dialogue and communication between artists from the cities of Coventry and Dresden and to establish collaborative partnerships of exchanges, exhibitions, educational projects and forums.

From what was John Yeadon’s personal initiative the programme now opens up into a city-wide project. The programme provides opportunities for artists and individuals, venues and organisations in both cities to participate. The focus is on the contemporary arts and on developing access to them through educational and other partnerships.

Short History of Exchange

John Yeadon initially organised an exhibition, ‘For R Laban‘ by prominent Dresden artist Jean Kirsten at the Roots Gallery during Coventry Peace Festival 2012, with a reciprocal exhibition featuring ‘ENGLANDIA‘ by John Yeadon and ‘Tanzt!‘ by Jean Kirsten showing at the JohannStadthalle in Dresden in September 2013.

These pilot exhibitions have helped to make connections and establish the Coventry/Dresden Arts Exchange. The Exchange received an Arts Council Grant for 2014/15 years programme, with a view to establish the Exchange into an unincorporated association, also forming a partnership with Dresden City Council and holding an exhibition ‘Works on Paper‘ at the Rathaus, (Dresden City Hall) 5 Dresden Artists and 5 Coventry Artists in June 2014. In March 2015 the ‘Dresden Exchange‘ exhibition saw 7 Dresden artists at the Lanchester Gallery, thus forming a partnership with Coventry University. This exhibition was the inaugural exhibition of the Coventry/Dresden Arts Exchange and the vehicle to kick start the process of opening up and broadening the Exchange as a city wide project involving more Coventry artists and more Dresden artists.

In June 2016 over one thousand people visited the exhibition of 7 Coventry artists and 7 Dresden artists at the Orangery at the Pillnitz Castle during Elbhangfest in Dresden.

An exhibition of banners ‘British Traces in Dresden’ created by the Elbhangfest and the Anglo German Association in Dresden were on display at St Michael’s House during the 2016 Coventry Peace Festival, Rainer Barczaitis of the Dresden Anglo German Association also gave a talk, ‘Dresden: A Love Story?‘ at St Michael’s House in Coventry.

In January 2017 two Coventry artists, Martin Green and Cressida Haughton, were invited as guests as exhibitors at the Kunstlermesse in Dresden.

Dresden artist Alexandra Müller was artist in residence in Coventry in July-August 2017, hosted by John Yeadon. The residency was a great success and Alexandra was a perfect ambassador for Dresden and Dresden artists. During her month-long residency she worked hard on her drawings in the project space City Arcadia provided by Artspace partnerships in Coventry. She had an open studio and a final exhibition in the City Arcadia Gallery which were well attended with over 60 visitors, amongst whom were The Lord Mayor of Coventry and the Dean of Coventry Cathedral. Earlier, Alexandra had met Coventry’s Lord Mayor Tony Skipper, when he invited her to the Mayor’s Parlour in the Council House.

Alexandra visited museums and historic sites in Coventry including the Cathedral, and also artist’s studios in Coventry. She also visited art galleries in London and Birmingham accompanied by Coventry artists, and the Compton Verney Art Gallery in Warwickshire.

Alexandra benefited from the experience as did the Coventry artists she met with and though there was no direct or immediate influence of Coventry on her work, a question often put to her, she appreciated developing a intensive work routine. Going to the studio and working all day on a regular basis, working in a different environment and discussing her work with Coventry artists and audiences proved very beneficial to her.

Jack Foster, a Coventry based artist, had the reciprocal months residency during February 2018 in Dresden, hosted by Dresden artist Christian Manss.

Born in Coventry, Jack is 26 year old painter and a graduate of Coventry University and  currently lecturing on the Foundation Art and Design Course at Coventry University. Jack has had solo exhibitions and group shows in London and the Midlands. He was the 2013 winner of Coventry University Drawing Prize from which he was artist-in-residency at Rugby School, teaching and creating a new body of work.

In Dresden, accommodation and studio was provided by Christian Manss. Jack’s residency was a great success. Jack produced a substantial body of work during his months residency. He relished the isolation and time, so that he could solely focus on his art. He had an open studio exhibition at the end of his stay.

Jack took part in studio visits to Dresden artist studios, also visiting Dresden museums and Galleries, including the Albertinum and Zwimmer. He appropriated some of the Old Masters’ paintings from the Zwimmer in his work. He visited the Malerweg, the Artists Way in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, in a winters -10 degrees.

This pilot residency programme is been supported by Coventry City Council, with a Small Arts Grant, and also Dresden City Council and the Anglo German Association Dresden Branch.

Coventry Dresden Arts Exchange hopes to make these exchange residencies a regular feature of our activities.

Initiators are

• Public institution

Project Website(s)

Project Topics

Arts & Culture

Level / Project Complexity /


Participating Cities

  • Coventry
  • Dresden

Sizes of Participating Cities

• 100.000 - 500.000
• 500.000 - 1,5 Mio

Participating Countries

  • UK
  • Germany

Project Region(s)

• Europe

Media Credits

Cover picture: