Hull UK City of Culture 2017

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Hull UK City of Culture 2017
Hull CoC black and white.jpeg
Date1 January 2017 (2017-01-01)
Duration1 year
Also known asHull 2017
TypeUK City of Culture
Theme"A city coming out of the shadows"

The UK City of Culture, active throughout 2017 to the end of 2020, is Hull.


UK City of Culture is an event, once every four years, highlighting one location in the UK and promoting arts and culture as a means of celebration and regeneration. The aim of the initiative, which is administered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is to "build on the success of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture 2008, which had significant social and economic benefits for the area".[1] The inaugural holder of the award was Derry~Londonderry in 2013–2017.

Bidding and selection process[edit]

After Derry~Londonderry in 2013, the next UK City of Culture was scheduled for 2017. Officials from Aberdeen stated they would bid for the title,[2] as did officials from Dundee,[3] while local officials from Colchester,[4] Derby,[5] Leicester,[6] Plymouth,[7] Stoke-on-Trent,[8] Swansea,[9] Hull,[10] and York[11] suggested that those cities would bid for the 2017 title. On 18 April 2013, the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce announced that Portsmouth and Southampton were making a joint bid for the 2017 title.[12] There was also a bid from East Kent (Canterbury, Ashford, Folkestone, Dover and Thanet),[13] and another from Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, supported by celebrity Graham Norton.[14]

In June 2013 the shortlist of four bids from Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay was announced.[15] The winner of the 2017 title was announced on 20 November 2013 and Hull was chosen.[16] TV producer Phil Redmond, who chaired the City of Culture panel, said Hull was the unanimous choice because it put forward "the most compelling case based on its theme as 'a city coming out of the shadows'". On 31 July 2014, Martin Green was announced as chief executive of the team. Green was previously head of ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and organised the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ ceremony in Yorkshire.[17]

Season 1: Made in Hull[edit]

The first three-month season was intended to focus on the contribution of the city to art, industry and ideas.[18]

Hull City Hall illuminated at the opening event for Hull City of Culture 2017 event

On 1 January 2017, the Hull event opened with a fireworks display over the Humber Estuary and a series of sound and light installations which reportedly attracted more than 25,000 visitors.[19][20] By the end of the first week, the BBC was reporting that 342,000 people had participated in the opening events.[21] The event included multimedia sound and light projections onto landmark buildings in the city's Victoria Square[22] as well as a display of Hullywood Icons featuring local people recreating famous scenes from film.[23]

Season 2: Roots and Routes[edit]

The season from April to June 2017 focused on Hull as a gateway, a place of movement to and through, a celebration of migration and flux.[18]

Season 3: Freedom[edit]

The third season explored the role Hull played in the emancipation movement, building on the contribution of William Wilberforce and the existing suite of summer festivals in Hull, including the Freedom Festival.[18] At the Freedom Festival, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was awarded the Wilberforce Medallion and gave the Wilberforce Lecture at Hull City Hall, which celebrates the historic role of Hull and Wilberforce in combating the abuse of human rights.[24][25]

The 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality was marked as part of LGBT 50, a series of events which included the title of 'UK Pride' being awarded to Pride in Hull.[26]

Season 4: Tell the World[edit]

The closing season from October to December 2017 looked forwards and attempted to redefine the city for the future, building on the legacy of its year as UK City of Culture.[18]

The 2017 Turner Prize was held in Hull on 5 December 2017.[27]


Group of volunteers

The events constituting all the seasons of City of Culture are staffed by volunteers working alongside paid staff.

From an initial 120 Pioneer Volunteers recruited in March 2016 through various Wave 1, 2, 3 and 4 recruitment drives, a total of 4,000 individual volunteers were signed up. Volunteers helped to deliver 365 days of cultural content for the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme with enthusiasm, professionalism, and a big smile, all while wearing their own 'scandalous, ludicrous and mischievous' coloured uniform, consisting of black trousers or shorts, blue polo shirt, jacket, baseball cap and purple backpack. The uniforms are made and provided by the local company Arco. These make all volunteers easily identifiable and approachable by members of the public looking for assistance and advice.


The BBC reported that a report by Hull University in March 2018 found Hull's status as the UK City of Culture attracted more than five million people, £220 million of investment and 800 new jobs.[28][29]


  1. ^ "Derry/Londonderry will be UK City of Culture 2013". Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Aberdeen to prepare bid for UK City of Culture title in 2017". BBC News. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Dundee aims to win UK City of Culture prize with festivals bid". The Courier. 30 April 2013. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Colchester: Successful bid to become UK's Capital of Culture 2017 could net town £10million boost". EADT24. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Derby considers UK Capital of Culture title bid". BBC News. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Leicester - City of Culture Bid". BBC News. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Plymouth's decision to bid for City of Culture status". Plymouth Evening Herald. 3 March 2013. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  8. ^ "City to make bid to be UK Capital Of Culture". The Sentinel. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  9. ^ "Swansea Bay is aiming to become the UK's City of Culture for 2017". The Wave. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  10. ^ "City of Culture bid: Send us your pictures to show off best of Hull". This is Hull and East Riding. 25 March 2013. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  11. ^ "York's UK City of Culture 2017 Bid Confirmed". One and Other. 6 February 2013. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Business News Hampshire". Hampshire Chamber. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  13. ^ "East Kent bid chiefs submit City of Culture 2017 bid with hopes high - News". Kent News. Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Norton's heartfelt plea to culture judges - Local". Hastings and St. Leonards Observer. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  15. ^ "UK City of Culture 2017 shortlist of four announced". BBC News. BBC. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Hull named UK City of Culture 2017". BBC News. BBC. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Hull hires Olympic ceremonies boss to head 2017 city of culture team". The Guardian. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d "The Seasons". Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  19. ^ "UK City of Culture: Fireworks and projections start Hull 2017". BBC. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Made in Hull - the crowds keep coming". BBC. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  21. ^ "'Staggering' visitor numbers for culture city". BBC News. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Made In Hull opens, Hull 2017 City of Culture - BBC Arts". BBC. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Hullywood: Peter Levy is James Bond, Hull 2017 City of Culture - BBC Arts". BBC. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Kofi Annan gets Wilberforce honour at Freedom Festival". BBC. 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Wilberforce Lecture Trust". Wilberforce Lecture Trust. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  26. ^ "UK Pride". UK Pride Organisers Network. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  27. ^ Youngs, Ian (25 September 2017). "Turner Prize is 'most diverse to date'". BBC News. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  28. ^ Bosworth, Mark (23 April 2018). "Do UK Cities of Culture create legacies?". BBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  29. ^ "University of Hull reveals UK City of Culture 2017 evaluation | University of Hull". Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External links[edit]