Lullaby by Luke Jerram comes to Coventry

Published Wednesday, 03 November 2021

A magical night-time light display is set to roll through the streets of Coventry in time for Diwali as part of a city-wide celebration of some of the city’s most significant historic landmarks.

A look at the bicycles involved in Lullaby

Lullaby – a moving light and sound artwork created with help from Coventry citizens – will travel through residential areas on over 100 illuminated bicycles in November.

The flotilla of lights on two convoys of decorated bicycles will be accompanied by music and specially-commissioned bike bells, which will begin their journeys on Sunday, November 7 at 4.30pm. One route will pass by the Starley memorial in London Road Cemetery, a key historic landmark in Coventry’s heritage story. The other route will leave from Foxford School and ride through Longford before arriving at Foleshill Road.

Lullaby, created by Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram, will also feature as part of Abundance, a City of Culture event celebrating light, hope and freedom beginning and ending at the Indian Community Centre on Cross Road in Foleshill.

Qualified group leaders from British Cycling will guide two flotillas of bicycles playing the relaxing soundscape through the streets of Longford and Cheylesmore before converging in Foleshill at a cultural procession for Diwali.

The display will feature an ambient sound composition by Dan Jones and Guy Hughes as it travels through residential streets, arriving in the heart of Coventry’s South Asian community.

The bicycles will ride past memorials in London Road Cemetery in honour of James and John Kemp Starley, the godfathers of bicycle invention, ringing the specially-tuned bells designed by sound collective Friend or Foe.

Leading each flotilla will be a Hail pedicab – an electrically-assisted tricycle cab – decorated with lighting designed by local artist Avtar Kaur, while Sustrans, which is behind the National Cycle Network, will host creative workshops on the day of the ride.

Students from Foxford Secondary School, Blue Coat Secondary School, Earlsdon Primary School and All Saints Primary School will help Avtar prepare the pedicabs while decorating their own bicycles. 

The project is part of the activity programme supporting the National Lottery-funded restoration of London Road Cemetery – a partnership between Coventry City Council and Historic Coventry Trust.

Sarah Allen, at Historic Coventry Trust, which is presenting Lullaby, said: “Luke Jerram’s Lullaby is a great way to connect young people and families in the city with this year’s Diwali celebrations, and is set to be a real spectacle on a dark November evening.

“School pupils will be able to get involved by decorating their own bicycles before joining the convoy, while residents can enjoy the mesmerising sound and light display passing their front doors.

“The event will be part of a major City of Culture event that will see exciting displays and performances bringing a real sense of community to the city in a very visible way, and we’d love to see people sharing their photos of Lullaby on Twitter via #LullabyCoventry.”

The first Lullaby took place in Bristol in 2013 and has since featured in Tilburg, Holland; Portland in Dorset; Derry, Northern Ireland; Perth, Australia and the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival in London.

The project is being brought to Coventry with the support of National Heritage Lottery Fund, National Lottery Community Fund and Coventry City of Culture Trust, presented by Historic Coventry Trust in partnership with Coventry City Council and Arup, which has provided the lights featured in the display. 

Coventry City Council