In 2017, Hull was the UK’s City of Culture. As an international partner for the festival, the British Council created new connections and ideas through arts, culture and education in Hull.
A Hall for Hull
The British Council supported the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Hull 2017 to commission A Hall For Hull in the heart of Hull City Centre.
Designed by Chile-based architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Swiss artist Felice Varini, A Hall for Hull was an ambitious temporary outdoor structure that transformed Trinity Square. The installation comprised of 16 galvanized steel columns arranged in a grid formation in front of Hull Minster to highlight the symmetry of its facade.
Visitors to the installation were able to inhabit each of the six-metre-high columns and experience varying light conditions created by perforations in the steel skin. The rigid geometry of the columns were carefully distorted and redefined by the artwork of Varini, who explores the illusions of geometry through eye-deceiving photographic techniques, together with the tradition of pictorial representation.
The project was developed through an invited competition for an architectural and artistic collaboration, with a brief to create a temporary intervention designed specifically for Trinity Square. Hull 2017 and RIBA worked closely with Hull Minster to develop the project.
World Voice Residency
Hull schoolchildren experienced the joy of singing and improved their learning through music during October 2017, as part of the British Council’s World Voice residency in more than 50 schools in England.
The project helped children explore identity and culture, supported by Arts Council England. More than 55 schools and over 3,100 pupils took part.
Up to 20 World Voice Master Trainers from around the world travelled to the UK to collaborate with local teachers, music educators and UK-based World Voice trainers.
The international visitors ran workshops in schools and communities, sharing musical knowledge and experience of music education with children and teachers.
World Voice in Hull is working with Hull Music Service.
The Tool Appreciation Society
The Tool Appreciation Society was dedicated to makers and their tools – the tools which serve their craft, their master, their tradition and their community. This exhibition from artist Linda Brothwell for Hull Culture and Leisure Library Services explored the significance of craft skills and tools, illustrating their value to our social, cultural and economic development.
Inspired by the heritage and workers of Hull and the wider world, The Tool Appreciation Society exhibition presented tools made by Brothwell, as she pays tribute to skilled crafts people – from Hull and South Korea to Sheffield, Liverpool and Lisbon. Alongside her tools were the historic tools and stories of the crafts people of Hull.
The artist also showed tools she has crafted as part of this project in the UK Pavilion exhibition, Form + Motion, at the Cheongju Craft Biennale, inspired by Korean crafts people and their tools.
Produced by Thirteen Ways, The Tool Appreciation Society was supported by the British Council alongside Hull Culture and Leisure Library Services, Arts Council England, the BBC and the Cheongju Craft Biennale.
The Tool Appreciation Society took place from the 27 September 2017 to 10 February 2018 at the Central Library, Hull.
A Colossal Wave!
A Colossal Wave! was a public artwork celebrating the occasion of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, and the Hull UK City of Culture celebrations.
A collaboration between two countries and the creative scenes of both cities, Marshmallow Laser Feast collaborated with teams of local artists and organisations to realise a kinetic VR installation in which real-world and virtual actions merged.
In a public installation audiences witnessed an explosion of colour after a real ball was thrown from a great height and hit the ground to create a huge virtual wave. Meanwhile in a nearby gallery participants were invited to explore the work’s virtual world from another perspective, in an installation where you used your voice to generate live art in VR.
Commissioned by the British Council, in collaboration with the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and Hull UK City of Culture 2017, with the support of the GREAT Britain campaign, the Canadian High Commission in the UK, the Phi Centre and the BFI Vision Awards.
Contains Strong Language
Contains Strong Language is the UK's biggest annual poetry festival devoted to new work. As one of the partners of the festival, the British Council supported international projects showcased at Contains Strong Language, including:
Talking Doorsteps was a spoken word exchange project that explored the idea of ‘home’ by connecting young poets and filmmakers from across the globe and sharing their work digitally with audiences worldwide.
For Hull 2017, The Roundhouse, Wrecking Ball Press and the Bocas Lit Fest teamed up with the British Council and the BBC. Over the course of three workshops in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), Hull (UK) and London (UK), the next generation of spoken word artists from the Caribbean and the UK learned from one another and developed new work which was presented at Contains Strong Language.
Talking Doorsteps featured on BBC radio and at a live showcase at Hull’s Kardomah94 on Saturday 30 September. In addition, poetry films from the Talking Doorsteps workshops screened at a live event in Hull on 29 September and are available to watch on BBC online.
Poetry from Poland
The British Council collaborated with Hull City of Culture and the Polish Book Institute to support the presence of two Polish poets at Contains Strong Language.
Weronika Lewandowska and Wojciech Cichońin travelled to Hull to perform their poetry alongside Bohdan Piasecki at the festival on 29 September.
The poets also featured on BBC radio and delivered workshops with the Polish community in Hull as part of Hull City of Culture’s Hull Gada project.
Details of the Hull Gada project can be found on the website of Hull City of Culture.