[short excerpt showcasing possibilities for using computer graphics to engage new audiences in the story of Coventry’s ‘lost’ Cathedral-Priory - 2D/3D/VR. content c/o PJK/‘Coventry Re-built’]


[ALAN DENYER - OWNER, AWD RESTORATIONS / 07976 897002 / alan@awd-restorations.com]

Please be advised that I wish to be considered as the leaseholder re: the Priory Visitor Centre and Undercroft’s.

In terms of a quick critique -

  • there’s an interesting story to be told about the ruins and cathedral-priory - but the centre isn’t presently delivering on any of this.

  • the current displays are out-dated and not at all what today’s audiences want from a historic attraction.

  • the present layout is poor, with little attention to what might turn an interest into an experience

  • outside of a small group, the priory has very little visibility within the city, and almost no profile regionally or nationally

  • visitor numbers are very low compared with other similar facilities, and typically very short duration (less than 10 minutes)

  • limited resourcing has resulted in restricted opening times

  • little attention given to potential for grassroots cultural use (widening demographic appeal)

I believe there’s a way to turn this around, with a few simple ideas - and minimal capital outlay / resourcing;

  • bring in the urban cafe team we had at cet to offer catering plus provide front of house venue custodianship

  • open 6 days a week (tues-sun), free admission - but with premium (chargeable) element.

  • introduce a new usp - ‘the coventry VR tour - step back in time to explore the streets of old coventry’ including immersive 2-d film + 3-d ‘explore the priory cathedral, and see how it was in 1530 - ’ experience (to be developed in partnership with ‘coventry rebuilt’ - VR element to be a £5 premium charge* p/p). *free to ‘Go CV’ card holders

  • tell the priory-cathedral ruin (and several other, related) coventry stories through a series of 20 new info displays (which I’d devise - based on the successful V&A museum ‘story + idea’ approach), arranged around the visitor centre and grounds (self guide tour format).

  • blackout blinds to allow a change of emphasis to projection-centric multimedia storytelling (flexible, and dramatic - both main visitor centre, and undercroft)

  • introduce an electronic number lock entry system on the undercroft door so as to facilitate un-escorted visitor access - software restricted outside of opening hours (app based, multiple features to provide enhanced security + engagement).

  • introduce a rotational programme of grassroots coventry culture displays, and events - showcasing the city’s diversity (thus widening the appeal of the centre, with additional ‘interest strands’ to bring in a new audience - and keep them coming back)

  • minimise overheads by cutting costs to a minimum (eg. no expensive cityfibre broadband) and seek to establish a core network of volunteers that have the skills to tackle minor repairs/maintenance, provide basic diy, and the people-skills to deliver an engaging customer experience.

  • running costs to be offset via a new (realistic) focus on donations/events/hires/corporate sponsorship/arts&heritage grants

I’d produce a detailed destination plan to explain the methodology and rationale, including a business plan to show how the elements combine sustain-ably - with the goal of achieving a 10 x increase in visitor numbers/av. visit duration during year 1, building momentum toward the visitor centre playing a key part in Coventry 2021 City of Culture.

I see the project operating as a charity, primarily to reflect the core aim which would be to engage with and provide benefit to the public - however this also assists with business rates relief, that - aside from staffing costs - represent one of the few major risks to sustainability. The experience gained from the CET in regards to venue management and audience engagement is key to making a success of the Priory - and, as a uniquely knowledgeable, resourceful, high net worth business-person (and passionate supporter of arts + heritage in the city) - I’ve both the time, motive and opportunity to provide all the skill sets and oversight needed.