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University of Hull launches unmissable cultural events as part of UK City of Culture programme

Following the success of the stunning first two months of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 events, the University of Hull announces its programme for the next two seasons: Roots and Routes and Freedom.

2nd March 2017

As a Principal Partner of Hull 2017, the University is organising events as part of the city-wide programme, as well as providing great venues, performers, volunteers and academic research.

The University’s programme celebrates its ‘culture campus’, building on the rich creative talents of its students, staff and graduates.

Among the University’s highlights coming up in Seasons 2 and 3 are:

  • Retrospective of the life and work of poet Philip Larkin at the Brynmor Jones Library, where he served as librarian for three decades. This exhibition will be complemented by The Philip Larkin Society’s Distinguished Lecture 2017, delivered by award-winning artist and Larkin devotee Grayson Perry (5 July to 1 October).
  • Major exhibition of BP Portrait Award commissions from the National Portrait Gallery including artwork portraying stars such as JK Rowling, Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen (29 March to 11 June).
  • Trent Falls to Spurn Point: A Sound Portrait of the Humber Estuary by Chris Watson will see the world premiere of an original, multi-channel sound installation from the internationally acclaimed and BATA-winning sound artist, held at the University’s Gulbenkian Centre. One of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, Chris will present an enthralling journey along the Humber Estuary and out into the North Sea using sound, space and light. (22 June to 15 July)
  • The National Student Drama Festival, supported by The Times & The Sunday Times, will bring the best of young theatre to the campus (8 to 14 April) with performances, workshops and discussions.
  • Cairns, a series of stunning life-sized figures by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir will form a trail through the University campus, sparking thought about the historic connection between Hull and Iceland (29 April to October).
  • Music lovers of all stripes will be catered for with everything from gigs by White Lies and Peter Hook & The Light at Hull University Union, to a weekend of classical music concerts broadcast by BBC Radio 3 from Middleton Hall (throughout 2017).
  • And as part of the Freedom season, the University’s Queen’s Award-winning Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation is inviting internationally-renowned speakers for Freedom Talks and a Freedom Summit (various dates in September).

Professor Glenn Burgess, Acting Vice-Chancellor and the University’s City of Culture lead, said: “The University is proud to be both a Principal Partner and exclusive academic research partner in Hull 2017 UK City of Culture. Our contribution to the 2017 programme helps share Hull’s compelling story and showcase its rich cultural heritage.

“We have been delighted by how the first season was received, especially among audiences who are new to Hull’s culture offering, and we look forward to playing our part in making the rest of 2017 a tremendous success.”

University of Hull students, graduates and staff were at the heart of the programming in the first season. Our academics’ and student expertise helped create the stunning Made in Hull installations which spectacularly opened 2017 with light, sound and images telling the story of Hull projected onto iconic buildings around the city. Our students are embracing the opportunity to enrich their studies whether volunteering as gallery guides for the British Museum’s Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now centrepiece exhibition, or creating works themselves, such as Music students who composed music and created visitor guides and games for the Bowhead installation at Hull’s Maritime Museum.

University of Hull graduates are blazing a trail across the arts, with young theatre companies like Middle Child and The Roaring Girls starting out here. The University rollcall of cultural alumni also includes: Darren Henley, Arts Council England chief executive, comedian Lucy Beaumont, broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray, Martin Lowe, the musical director on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Mamma Mia, Marianne Elliott, the Tony award-winning theatrical director of War Horse, and BBC broadcaster Mark Chapman.

Nina Hanney, a third-year History of Art student, trained as a gallery assistant on Lines of Thought, which attracted around 20,000 visitors to the University campus. Nina is also a Hull 2017 volunteer and says the opportunities she’s had so far have been incomparable. She said:

“The Lines of Thought experience has been pivotal for me for many reasons. It has given me the confidence to speak in public which will be invaluable when I start training to be a teacher later this year, and on a personal level it has brought to life just how much I love art. For me, the legacy of this exhibition and City of Culture generally is how it has created a shared conversation and brings people together.”

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, added:

“As a Principal Partner the University of Hull has an important role to play in this City of Culture year. The wide-ranging programme it is hosting will enhance its reputation as a key cultural destination for the city. As well as attracting audience, we hope this will also inspire the next generation of cultural leaders and creative talent, adding to the impressive rollcall of alumni that have gone on to great success in their chosen fields.”