Hull UK City of Culture begins with a bang

A small industrial city in the North East of England aims to be a beacon of light for the world to see in 2017. Hull UK City of Culture 2017 officially launched on 1 January at 20:17 (8:17pm), signalling the start of a year-long series of events.

And whilst its focus remains close to home, Hull 2017’s international partners are impressive enough: Aarhus, Denmark, European Capital of Culture 2017; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Freetown, Sierra Leone (twinned with Hull) will all be represented in the 2017 programme, available to view online.

The landmark event kicked off with a major new commission Made in Hull, a filmic journey through almost a century of the city’s history curated by BAFTA-nominated documentary film-maker Sean McAllister, topped off with In with a Bang, a spectacular fireworks display over the river Humber fired from two barges resting on the water.

Still from Made in Hull
Still from Made in Hull

Made in Hull took the form of an enormous public display featuring large-scale projections, soundscapes, site-specific art installations, animation, archive material and interactive live performance to transform iconic buildings, streets, the skyline and other public spaces around Hull’s city centre.

The production was put together by Hull-based writer Rupert Creed; production designer Ala Lloyd, who worked on the London 2012 Games; lighting designer Durham Marenghi, renowned for work ranging from the Diamond Jubilee to the Rio 2016 Games; and BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award winning composer and sound designer Dan Jones, who worked with local and international artists to create the Made in Hull narrative.

The pyrotechnic display was produced by Titanium Fireworks and accompanied by a film co-created by Hull-based poet Shane Rhodes, filmmaker Dave Lee and musician Steve Cobby of Fila Brazillia fame, plus a music video mix from VJ DJ Cheeba

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013, and is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England.

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is delivered by The Culture Company, an independent organisation with charitable status that raised GBP32m (€36.95m) and recruited 60 partners to support the project, including public bodies, lottery distributors, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses.

Key support comes from Host City – Hull City Council,  Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water, University of Hull, Associated British Ports, Arco, BP, the British Council, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group.

Out of its overall budget 68 per cent of the funding is dedicated to public facing activities and 11 per cent for legacy and contingency. More than GBP5m is being invested in volunteering, learning and community engagement. The GBP1.6m invested to ensure a legacy after 2017 will encompass activities such as capacity building, programming and a new platform to support a unified ticketing system for the city.

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