Leading dramatist and Hull resident John Godber outlines what winning City of Culture means to Hull and what we can expect to see as part of the city’s 2017 programme.He is Chair of the area’s tourism board and has a long history with pioneering independent theatre company Hull Truck Theatre.
It was a euphoric moment when The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP uttered the word ‘Hull’ on the morning of 20 November. A huge reaction spread across the city and the UK ensued as word travelled that despite tough competition from three great cities, we had won: Hull was going to be the UK’s next City of Culture.
The city has barely calmed down since and is imbued with a new sense of confidence and belief. Our bid was developed from the ground up and support from the public and organisations across the city was phenomenal. Such huge backing helped demonstrate how much Hull needed, wanted and was ready to deliver a UK City of Culture. Everyone in the city can be proud of what we have achieved together.
To have that support, energy and enthusiasm rewarded means so much to residents who have remained quietly proud of their city in the face of Hull’s much-maligned reputation. Being the UK’s City of Culture has huge potential to enhance Hull’s profile and is a true game-changer for the city. We are already seeing positive reputational benefits as we utilise this fantastic platform to tell the world about our great city and transform perceptions of Hull.
The title is a catalyst for change. Our bid was a serious one, aimed at tackling the serious economic and social issues facing the city as part of a wider long-term plan for the city.
It is estimated that being the UK City of Culture will deliver a £60 million boost to the local economy in 2017 alone. The title is anticipated to leave a lasting legacy creating a more vibrant, sustainable cultural sector and increased access to tourism and cultural sector jobs. It will accelerate the pace of the journey to make Hull a top place to visit in the UK and will certainly increase the scale of our ambition.
Hull 2017 will deliver a spectacular programme with artistic excellence and events on a scale never seen before in the city that will entice people from around the UK and beyond. The programme builds on our rich cultural heritage and though rooted in Hull, is global in outlook.
Inspired by Larkin’s poem Days the ambition is for each day of Hull 2017 to make a difference to a life in the city, the UK and the world. The programme will follow a number of themes to celebrate the city including Roots and Routes, Made in Hull, Freedom and Quirky. Plans include programming activity to stretch across 365 days with an estimated 1,500 special events such as 15 national and international commissions, 12 artists’ residencies; 25 festivals; eight major community participation projects; and a programme of conferences and major broadcasting events.
This is a once-in-a-generation experience will improve the quality of life, aspirations and opportunities for local people.
It is an extraordinary time in Hull’s history: we are a city coming out of the shadows.
For further details on Hull’s UK City of Culture programme and how to get involved people can visit www.hullcc.gov.uk/2017Hull , follow via Twitter @2017Hull or like the Hull City of Culture Facebook page.