Countdown to Hull City of Culture 2017

Hull Marina

Hull Marina

The Countdown is underway with details emerging on the events programme planned for Hull’s City of Culture year in 2017 and the vision looks nothing less than amazing. With a budget of £18 million, the 365 days will feature more than 60 commissions, 12 artists in residence, 8 large scale community projects, 25 festivals and a packed programme of conferences and big broadcasting events. City of Culture year is part of a wider City Plan with projects to include a new international art gallery, conference venue and a centrepiece visitor attraction. City of Culture Year for Hull will be transformational.


Distinct themes for City of Culture year will be Roots and Routes, Made in Hull, Freedom, Quirky and The Green City. All are a reflection of Hull’s history and future. They promise to open up to the world this maritime city’s unique contribution as a trading port, the contribution of anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and the city’s rich artistic legacy from Larkin to cutting edge contemporary theatre writing at Hull Truck Theatre.

In March this year Siemans confirmed plans to construct major wind turbine production and facilities along the banks of the River Humber, announcing that Green Port Hull would be operational by 2016. Green City Hull is moving forward fast with plans to establish the Humber estuary as the UK’s Energy Estuary!

Programme Highlights

The opening ‘Four Rivers’ ceremony will involve 3000 lantern-bearing performers who will converge in the city centre along with dancing white telephone boxes (a nod to Hull’s unique locally operated telephone company and white phone boxes), special tributes to lost trawlermen and elephants will walk the street of Hull again, following a route once used by elephants who used to live in the city’s old zoological gardens! The opening ceremony is to be organised by Hull born Tracey Seaward who co-produced the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Statue of William Wilberforce outside his birthplace home. Admission to Wilberforce House is Free.

Statue of William Wilberforce outside his birthplace home. Admission to Wilberforce House is Free.

Other programme highlights will include an aerial spectacular featuring breathtaking aerial artists, special effects and fireworks. Hull’s architecture is to be celebrated in a commission featuring light, sound, film and theatre with one site chosen for each of the 52 weeks in the City of Culture year and a big stadium light show – Sonic Lumiere – will be a feature event, with Hull’s award-winning lighting designer Durham Marenghi and 500 dancers involved.

There will also be a flag festival across the city involving international artists, with flags adorning city streets, neighbourhoods and fronting the river. A Roots and Routes Food Festival will celebrate Hull’s rich diversity of flavours and the creativity of the city’s chefs, and the poetry of Hull’s own Philip Larkin will be celebrated. A vast lamp will be shone of various buildings which inspired the poet plus an umbrella-shaped installation will be erected at Hull University where poets and performers from local schools will be performing daily during City of Culture year.

Visit Hull during the Big Build Up

Watch this space as more detailed plans emerge through 2014. This summer there will be a public celebration and thank you event, with an official civic handover from Derry-Londonderry. A host of events are planned in the build up to the City of Culture year! There’s never been a better time as excitement builds to visit Hull with its free Museums Quarter and Old Town, the new Penguin Exhibit at The Deep and creative retro hub The Fruitmarket next to the marina with boutique markets, live music, the acclaimed Oresome Gallery & Jewellery Workshop, Dinostar interactive dinosaur museum for children, the Museum of Club Culture, bistros, bars and more. Book a Hull city break online or direct with iknow.

Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.