Hull 2017 appoints new leadership

The two people appointed to drive forward the legacy plans outlined by Hull UK City of Culture 2017 in September have been announced today, following an open recruitment process.

Katy Fuller, currently Executive Producer at Hull 2017, and Emma Morris, who is a University of Hull alumna and was most recently Executive Director at Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery, are to become Creative Director and Executive Director respectively.

Katy has over seventeen years’ experience in outdoor arts, festivals and site-specific projects and a career-long commitment to engaging the broadest possible audiences in cultural activity. She has been involved in scoping, developing and delivering some of the most ambitious events seen in the UK and as Executive Producer at Hull 2017, had a strategic role in developing the programme and led on the delivery of specific major projects in the city.

These include Place des Anges, the 2016 outdoor production that acted as a curtain raiser for the programme to come; One Day, Maybe, the acclaimed significant new commission from site-specific theatre company dreamthinkspeak; Turner Prize 2017 at the Ferens Art Gallery; and Land of Green Ginger, a groundbreaking citywide programme taking “Acts of Wanton Wonder” to people’s doorsteps through a series of commissions including 7 Alleys, Micropolis and the spectacular Land of Green Ginger Unleashed procession.

Emma Morris has over twenty years’ experience of working at a senior level for prestigious arts organisations, including overseeing the finances of the £8.5 million capital refurbishment of the acclaimed De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. Emma was until very recently Executive Director at Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne. Her role there included overseeing the artistic and learning programmes, audience development, marketing, fundraising and all commercial activities, including securing over £1,450,000 for the programme, acquisitions and a small capital project in 2016.

Katy Fuller said: “Working on Hull 2017 has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am excited to be working alongside Emma to drive forward the vision for Culture Company and to be able to continue to deliver ambitious projects, which resonate with local audiences and keep Hull in the national and international cultural conversation.”

Emma Morris said: “It’s wonderful to be returning to Hull, where I spent three fantastic years, and to be working with Katy on developing the organisation to take it into the next phase. I have been watching the success of this incredible year for the city and am keen to get started on building on the momentum there is to strengthen its reputation as a centre for culture and creativity.”

Katy will formally begin her new role as Creative Director on 8 January. Emma will officially start in her role as Executive Director on 1 February. Current CEO and Director Martin Green and Executive Director and Fran Hegyi will leave Culture Company at the end of February. Following Martin’s departure, Katy and Emma will share the role of Chief Executive.

Martin Green said: “It’s fantastic that Katy and Emma have agreed to lead the new company, building on its role in this momentous year for Hull and taking forward the ambition to help secure a cultural legacy for the city. They are immensely talented and have terrific energy, enthusiasm and creativity, as well as wide-ranging experience of success delivering amazing cultural projects around the country. As we move into the next phase of Hull being UK City of Culture they have the vision and creativity needed to commission exciting cultural programming for the city and develop an influential national arts organisation.”

Fran Hegyi said: “Katy and Emma bring a wealth of expertise that will be a huge asset to Culture Company and to the city. The national significance of these roles was underlined by how many applications came in, from Hull and from across the country. They each have an outstanding record in commissioning and delivering major cultural programming and in the stewardship of leading arts organisations, which will help ensure the company’s continued success.”

Culture Company is also recruiting for a new Chair to lead the Board of Trustees, when incumbent Rosie Millard steps down at the end of March 2018. This important role is being advertised from next week.

Rosie Millard said: “This has been and continues to be an extraordinary year for the city, one that I feel immensely privileged to have been a part of. I am delighted that we have two amazing women coming on board to take the company forward into the future. Whilst Hull 2017 has been about creating incredible moments and raising the profile of Hull this year – which it has delivered – it is only part of the ongoing story for this great city of culture. Katy and Emma are going to help ensure this wonderful narrative continues.”

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “I am delighted with these appointments. Hull’s ability to deliver a world class cultural programme is a key part of our plans to capitalise on the success of 2017 and deliver a long-lasting legacy for our city and residents.

“One look at their past work and we know that Katy and Emma are ideally placed to lead the new culture company. I look forward to working with them and other partners to cement Hull’s reputation as a great cultural city in 2018 and beyond.”