UK City of Culture
The UK City of Culture is a title awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years to a city in the United Kingdom, with the winner hosting a year-long programme of cultural events and celebrations. Having launched with Derry-Londonderry in 2013, the prestigious title for 2017 was given to the port city of Hull in East Yorkshire. The City of Culture is a chance to celebrate a city’s unique qualities and open its cultural life to the rest of the world.
Hull is a city that has often been overlooked. Following decades of economic hardship and industrial decline, many Brits were surprised when the city won the bid for the much-coveted City of Culture accolade back in 2013. However, new visitors to the city have discovered that there’s a lot more to Hull than meets the eye.
Hull is a hub for exchange of ideas and people and is one of the country’s largest ports, with strong trading links to northern Europe. The city has been a centre of free thinking, bold ideas and radicalism throughout history. Towards the end of the 18th century it was the home of abolitionist William Wilberforce (1759–1833) and writer, philosopher and women’s rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797). Aviator Amy Johnson (1903–1941) and poet and novelist Stevie Smith (1902–1971) also took on different strongholds of male-dominated culture: Amy Johnson broke into the world of aviation as the first woman to fly from Britain to Australia; and Stevie Smith took on the literary world, producing one of Britain’s most popular poems, Not Waving but Drowning. To find out more about the women who helped shape Hull’s culture, watch the video above.
Hull is famously the home of poet Philip Larkin, and more recently former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, who lectured at the University of Hull where fellow poet Roger McGough studied. Hull’s first theatre, Hull New Theatre, opened in 1939, followed by the Hull Truck Theatre in 1971. The creation of Hull Truck Theatre by actor Mike Bradwell is indicative of the passion and determination of actors from Hull. Other home-grown stars include Sir Tom Courtenay, Maureen Lipman and Ian Carmichael, as well as a younger generation including Reece Shearsmith, Debra Stephenson and Liam Garrigan.To get an insight into how Hull’s acting talent has impacted art and creative practice in the city today, watch the video below.