Substance Future Forum: Listen, learn and debate.

Substance Future Forum will invite creative industries, businesses, organisations, artists, digital pioneers, social commentators, policy makers and change makers tomorrow to discuss the culture, creativity and future of the north, just a few tickets remain.

Through panel discussions, keynote speeches, installations and debate, the forum invites you to have your say about important topics including how arts can save the NHS, how digital integration can build new and global audiences, why musicians may be better away from the capital, ask what is the point of a City of Culture?

Hosting the day will be Niki Bedi and John Harris. They will both be explaining the locations for the day, so make sure you get yourselves there early! The introduction will take place at 10am with registration starting at 9.30pm. 

Here’s just a selection of the panels on offer as part of the forum. 



 If you’ve had the opportunity to get involved with any City of Culture event this year and are wondering why they all happen in the first place, for this panel, we ask; what is the point of a City of Culture? What are the measures of a success for a City of Culture? How does this manifest and what is the promise in relation to the reality?  

The panel will also question disproportionate levels of arts funding with a panel comprised of representatives from previous Cities of Culture including Chris Baldwin, Creative Director of Galway 2020: European Capital of Culture, Paula Murray, Creative Director Croydon Council bidding for Borough of Culture, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Martin Green, CEO and Director at Hull UK City of Culture 2017. 

“Cities of Culture are vital catalyst for a long-term social, economic and cultural regeneration” says Shona McCarthy. “Even at their least, with a strong, year-long cultural programme and an engaged community, they can still be a wonderful year of magical happenings that give fresh perspective for people and place and give citizens an opportunity to come out, look up, share joy, reconnect and celebrate their place and identities.” 

SHOW ME THE MONEY – C4DI THEATRE. 2.45pm – 3.30pm 

What are the benefits of investment in culture? Does it improve the quality of life of communities?

Hull 2017 has raised more corporate money for its year as city of culture than the London Olympics did for the Cultural Olympiad. Come and hear this discussion on the crucial nature of this investment. 

Chaired by Susannah Simons, Director of Arts and Outreach for Canvas, supported by the Arts Council England funded project. The panellists include Dominic Gibbons, Managing Director at Wykeland Group, Fran Hegyi Executive Director at Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Pat Connor, Head of BBC Development & Events, UK & Director, BBC South West and Dr Kevin Moore, Chief Executive at Humber Bridge.  

This informative discussion will highlight the benefits to place, people and the local economy when business and culture find the correct synergy together.


How are digital changes impacting the decisions of the UK’s leading broadcasters and arts organisations? How are they adapting to the constant change in technology? Here, Sky Arts, BBC Arts and Channel 4’s Random Acts will talk through different ways in which to be commissioned for broadcast. 

Panellist Jeremy Routledge, from Bristol-based production company Calling The Shots will be joined by Lamia Dabboussy, Editor for BBC Arts, Peter Groom, who directed the short film Herd as part of Random Acts and Rocio Cano, a TV producer who has worked mainly on arts and entertainment series for Sky Arts.


Why did Hull vote so overwhelmingly to leave? What happened? How will leaving the EU impact the generations who will grow up in this new territory?

It’s A Little Bit Leave It will see representatives from The Warren Youth Project discussing the concerns of younger people across the north. They will also address the findings of the Next Generation UK report commissioned by The British Council and carried out by Demos which surveyed young people across the country on their views about their future in the world.  

For this panel representatives from The Warren will also be performing poetry in response to these issues, followed by the panel discussion. Emma Hardy MP and Emily Morrison from British Council will join them as well as their host, spoken word artist Joe Hakim. 

It’s a Little Bit Leave It will be attempting to challenge assumptions, and find out how young people really feel about the world they stand to inherit” says Joe. “As well as discussing the impact of Brexit and how it affects the disaffected, we will also be looking to find out what it will take to get young people engaging in politics again. We will be looking how art – particularly music and spoken word – can be used a platform for protest, and how modern technology such as social media informs their worldview when it comes to contentious issues like the EU and our place within it.”



To view the full line-up of panels for the day, visit the Future Forum page. Tickets are available at £20 – £25 for the full day.