My family on my mum’s side all come from Hull, and as a child I visited it frequently. I loved the way everyone talked and the slightly grim sense of humour. My favourite place then was the joke shop in the Hepworth Arcade, but I also liked visiting my Uncle’s woodwork shop and my Auntie Cath, who worked in Ladieswear in Hammonds Department Store. Gran also took us to William Wilberforce House, where I found out about slavery for the first time, an injustice and outrage I found very hard to understand at the age of 7, when I still believed grown ups knew what they were doing.
This year, Hull has been awarded the much coveted City of Culture stamp, and is celebrating in grand style. I have been there twice so far and seen all kinds of music and some excellent exhibitions. Here's a selection:
Raft of the Medusa at Humber Street Gallery by Lucy and Jorge Orta – part of the Somewhere Becoming Sea exhibition. The exhibition looks at “the ever-changing boundaries between land and sea” as imagined and realised by a range of artists, including the Ortas, Simon Faithfull, Lavinia Greenlaw, Alec Finlay and many more.
Skin: Freud, Mueck and Tunick at the Ferens Art Gallery.
Cairns: a sculpture trail by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir dotted around the grounds of Hull University. Fascinating and moving.
Flaming Lips, Public Broadcasting Corporation and the Dutch Unkles in Zebedee’s Yard
The city is genuinely buzzing, and there are all kinds of events happening for the rest of the year. Just walking along the boardwalk where the Humber joins the sea is wonderful, and Humber Street Gallery is also a great place to hang out. There are loads of volunteer guides who are knowledgeable and friendly.
As the organisers tell us: The arts and cultural programme for the year celebrates the unique character of the city, its people, history and geography. In 2017, the programme runs from 1 Jan to 31 Dec and is split into four seasons, each with something distinctive and intriguing to say, and each created to challenge and thrill.
To find out more and plan your visit: https://www.hull2017.co.uk