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Hull announced as UK City of Culture 2017

Hull has seen off competition from Dundee, Leicester and Swansea to become the UK Capital of Culture for 2017

The sought-after title, which was announced by culture secretary Maria Miller today (20 November), is expected to net the East Yorkshire city at least £60 million of extra investment.

The current UK City of Culture is Derry-Londonderry. The title was created by the government back in 2010 to replicate Liverpool’s year as the European Capital of Culture in 2008 with a new city chosen to take over the role every four years.

Miller said: ‘This is brilliant news for Hull and everyone involved in the bid there. This year’s UK City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry, demonstrates the huge benefits that the title brings. These include encouraging economic growth, inspiring social change and bringing communities together. It can produce a wonderful mix of inward investment, and civic pride and I hope Hull’s plans will make the most of all that being UK City of Culture can bring.’

The decision was made by an independent advisory panel chaired by Phil Redmond. Redmond commented: ‘There was real understanding and appetite from all four short-listed cities, for the sort of transformational change that a year of culture can bring. But ultimately it was the unanimous verdict of the panel that Hull put forward the most compelling case based on its theme as ‘a city coming out of the shadows.’ This is at the heart of their project and reminds both its people and the wider world of both its cultural past and future potential.

‘We were particularly impressed with Hull’s evidence of community and creative engagement, their links to the private sector and their focus on legacy, including a commitment to enhance funding beyond 2017.’

Winning the title is a real game-changer for Hull

Leader of Hull City Council Stephen Brady commented: ‘Winning the title today is a real game-changer for Hull. It will give Hull a platform to tell the world what this great city has to offer, transform perceptions and accelerate our journey to make Hull prime visitor destination. Hull should be proud of what it has achieved together.’

Hull-born Richard Scott, formerly of Surface Architects now acting as a consultant under the Richard Scott Ltd banner, said: ‘Ever since the city committed to the bid, there has been an impressively coherent sense of how Hull would project itself. This is because there’s been a latent creative energy building up over recent years, which has flowed into the bid quite naturally.

There’s been a latent creative energy building up in Hull

‘[The city’s] much-discussed distinctiveness has increasingly been seen as a major asset. My work as BSF Design Champion has emphasised the value of Hull’s originality and taken advantage of the city’s diverse assemblage of forms, to allow for diverse architectural opportunities. 

He added: ‘Confidence has always been an issue holding the city back, but recent years leading up to today’s announcement have seen a marked increase in our understanding of the value of Hull’s assets. 

‘Having promoted the notion of ‘Hullness’ for the past decade or so, I am delighted its unique character and sense of place will now be in the spotlight for years to come.’ 

Jonathan McDowell of McDowell + Benedetti, who designed the new River Hull swing bridge, said: ‘All credit to Hull for putting together the most convincing bid. It is a brilliant opportunity to use the amplification that the event will bring to achieve much-needed transformation and that’ll be down to how cleverly they actually use it.

‘The tricky bit is getting beyond the razzmatazz and achieving real improvements’

‘The tricky bit will be to get beyond the razzmatazz and grab the moment to achieve real improvements that will last for generations.’

Terry Farrell, who designed The Deep aquarium overlooking the Humber, said: ‘I am very pleased for the City of Hull which has transformed in the last two decades to become a vibrant city with a strong sense of identity and civic pride. This award will hopefully continue the post-industrial regeneration of Hull which The Deep Submarium, which we designed as one of the flagship Millennium projects, has played a major part in.’

Hull now has three years to develop and prepare its programme for 2017, which will involve an opening ceremony, new landscaping and tree planting, a light show designed by local lighting designer Durham Marenghi, and artist’s residencies.

Further comment

Mark Hodson, chair elect of the Humberside Branch, RIBA Yorkshire and director of Hodson Architects

We are delighted that Hull has been selected as the winner of the UK city culture 2017. Hull has a great architectural heritage. The buildings around Victoria Square are amongst the finest in the UK. It’s querky too, the phrase ‘Hull-ness’ was invented to try and explain it’s unique qualities born out of a detached position and a gritty industrial past.

Hull has displayed a lack of confidence for many years. But there are signs of hope. The Deep, the swingbridge over the River Hull and the school buildings of the Building School for the Future have brought about an awareness of the positivity inherent in good quality architecture. The emergence of the off-shore renewables industry, Premier League football and the Humber LEP add to the increased optimism.

Hull should make more of it’s built assets

Hull should make more of it’s built assets. The proposal to bury the A63 link road will allow a better link between the estuary frontage and the city centre. This will open up the potential of the Fruitmarket district, the Old Town and enticingly the former site of the relocated Trinity House Academy, a little known gem in the centre of the city.

The latent creative energy within Hull now has a focus and a platform based on a genuine partnership between arts organisations, Hull City Council and business. Let’s hope to see Hull New Theatre given a thorough reworking, Hull Truck a wider programme of activities, existing festivals to grow and a new ‘fit for purpose’ music venue in the city centre.

Previous story (20.06.13)

City of Culture 2017 shortlist announced

Four cities have made the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2017

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey announced today (20 June) that Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea are all vying for the prestigious title.

Vaizey said: ‘I want to congratulate the four shortlisted cities who have made it this far, and indeed all 11 cities who put time and great effort into submitting bids.

‘The events in Derry-Londonderry over recent weeks highlight just how much of an impact being ‘City of Culture’ can have. It brings together communities, encourages economic growth, and inspires social change and the shortlisted cities should be very proud of the bids they have put together so far.’

Phil Redmond, chair of the independent advisory panel for the City of Culture added: ‘It was incredibly difficult to decide on a shortlist as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change and offered innovative and interesting programmes. In the end the panel thought the four short listed cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and would not only deliver for their communities, but would also maintain the momentum created around the success of Derry-Londonderry.’

The four cities have been chosen from an initial list of eleven, which included Aberdeen, Chester, East Kent, Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, and Southend on Sea.

The first UK City of Culture was Derry-Londonderry.

The four cities will now each submit a final bid in September, before a decision is made on the winning city by November 2013.

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