Company behind Hull 2017 to continue as national arts organisation

The organisation set up to deliver Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is to carry on as a permanent national arts company based in the city, it has been announced today.

Building on the success of Hull 2017, Culture Company’s core purpose will continue to be commissioning world-class arts programming aimed at residents and visitors and it will work strategically with partners inside the city and across the UK to cement Hull’s reputation as a centre for culture and creativity.

Culture Company will also develop its role as an independent organisation specialising in culture and cities, which in addition to commissioning work, will offer unrivalled expertise, consultancy and advocacy, across the UK and internationally.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “We want to capitalise on the knowledge and expertise gained as Culture Company, supporting city efforts to help ensure a lasting cultural legacy for Hull, as well as helping to embed culture into policymaking for cities.

“The acknowledged success of Hull being UK City of Culture is the result of many partners, organisationally and individually coming together and this collective energy will remain critical to ensuring a meaningful cultural legacy. Over the next weeks and months we will be embarking on conversations with people across the city to inform the development of the company and its work.”

Culture Company will develop a 20-year legacy plan across three phases, as set out in Hull City Council’s Cultural Strategy, supporting the delivery of the city’s £250 million legacy plan to improve Hull’s culture and visitor infrastructure.

Phase one will take it to the end of 2020 when Hull’s tenure as UK City of Culture concludes and it hands over to the next city. During this phase Culture Company will capitalise on the impact that Hull 2017 has already had on the city, including:

– developing a cultural programme ranging from high quality annual events to public art, as well as celebrating the city’s heritage;

– working alongside Hull City Council, Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme, the city’s cultural community and other partners to ensure Hull continues to grow as a place for artists to live and to work;

– following the success of Hull 2017 projects such as Land of Green Ginger and Back to Ours it will commission high-quality work that goes into communities;

– harness the knowledge, energy and enthusiasm of the 3,000 Hull 2017 volunteers to support events and become community activists across the city;

– develop the Hull 2017 learning programme to ensure that culture remains central to the lives of children and young people living in the city.

– James Graham’s play The Culture: A Farce in Two Acts, which will premiere at Hull Truck Theatre in 2018, has already been confirmed, whilst the popular Back to Ours festival is also set to return next year. Other programme announcements will be made in 2018.

Phase two across ten years will see Culture Company develop its activities as a strategic cultural agency based in Hull, with a remit that encompasses the city, the North and the UK. Working with partners and funders the ambition is to reinforce Hull’s cultural dynamism, nurturing cultural leadership and the conditions in which artists and creativity can thrive.

The most ambitious element, phase three, aims to support generational change over 20 years, with the focus on the 16,000 children aged up to five growing up in Hull. Working with Hull City Council, schools, the NHS and Hull Clinical Commissioning Group and the University of Hull it puts culture at the heart of the development of young people and efforts to improve social mobility and raise attainment.

Martin Green continued: “Culture is not an add-on, or simply a nice to have. This incredible year is already showing the potential of culture to transform lives and the company will work with its many partners and our ambition is to build on the positive impact it is having in Hull.”

John Glen, Minister for Art, Heritage and Tourism, said: “Hull is building on the momentum of UK City of Culture to forge a strong and lasting creative legacy.

“Hull 2017 has been truly transformational. It has driven investment and brought world-class art and culture to new audiences and this ambitious plan will keep culture at the city’s heart for years to come.”

Phil Redmond, who chairs the UK City of Culture Independent Advisory Panel, said: “Legacy is both a commitment and a journey. Hull’s journey began when it’s first bid to be UK City of Culture didn’t succeed, but it learnt from that experience and the legacy became 2017. It is great to now see the commitment to take the experience of a great year and move forward with a bold legacy plan that will continue the journey of innovation, creativity and ambition.”

Cllr Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “2017 has been an exceptional year for Hull and as a city we are ready to build on this to achieve our long term ambition of making Hull a world-class cultural destination.  In 2013, we set out to harness the power of culture and the arts to regenerate our city and the combined impact of the regeneration work we’ve already undertaken and a truly outstanding cultural programme has exceeded all expectations. 

“As a city we are now firmly focused on the future and on delivery of the next phases of Hull’s renaissance. The Culture Company, with its new and permanent role in the city, will have a key role to play as we work with all of the city’s cultural organisations, institutions, artists and partners to ensure that Hull’s tenure as City of Culture delivers a lasting legacy for the city, the North and the UK.”

Rosie Millard, Chair of Hull 2017, added: “Hull has always been a city of culture, but this year’s success looks set to be a gamechanger. Working alongside the city council and many other partners, Culture Company continuing means it will be able to build on the achievements that have already been made, with culture embedded as the beating heart of Hull’s future success.”

Recruitment has begun to appoint an Executive Director and Programme Director, which will report to a new Board of Trustees and build a smaller company that will deliver on the new vision for Culture Company. It is hoped that appointments will be made by the end of the year.

Over the next few weeks and months the public will have the opportunity to have their say on creating a cultural legacy for Hull.