Billboard art encourages free speech in Hull

Billboards across Hull have been brought to life this year in the name of art and culture as part of REDboard, a project supported by the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme celebrating 20 years of RED Contemporary Arts (formerly RED Gallery).

Situated on the corner of Freehold Street and Spring Bank, near Hull city centre, the latest billboard, Freedomination, was designed by artists Davin Watne and Dawn Woolley. It tackles the concept that, as more people exercise their freedom of speech it can become increasingly difficult to hear what is said. Therefore freedom to act without restraint can in fact oppress others.

And this Saturday 23 September will see Freedomination act as a backdrop to a unique performance allowing people to stand up and speak their mind.

Artist Dawn Woolley said: “For the Freedomination soapbox performance we invite anyone who is outspoken and passionate – about any subject – to get on a soapbox and make a speech.

“It can be about something very serious, or not. Someone might get up and speak for one minute or 60 minutes, it is entirely up to the audience. As more and more people express their freedom of speech it will become increasingly difficult to hear what is said, demonstrating the concept of Freedomination.

Audience members can spontaneously decide to participate during the event itself, which starts at 3pm at the REDboard billboard and should last between 30 and 60 minutes. If you would like to know more about the soapbox, email Dawn at

The Freedomination board is the 10th in a series of 13 billboards in the REDboard project, with the final billboards being displayed at: Cleveland Street from 9 October; Melrose Street on Anlaby Road from 6 November; and Devon Street in Gypsyville from 4 December.

So far, the project has seen local artists join international artists from Rotterdam, Reykjavik, Aarhus and Freetown to produce inspirational artworks across the city.

Martin Green, director of Hull 2017, said: “REDboard is one of many projects this year showing that art doesn’t have to be confined to galleries. The fantastic artwork has been displayed on billboards all over Hull meaning that it’s probably been harder to miss the project than see it.

“The Creative Communities Programme has taken Hull 2017 to doorsteps all over the city, ensuring that everybody has the chance to be part of this incredible year.

Discover more about the year-long REDboard project.