As someone who spends quite a lot of time travelling around the country, meeting creative people from all walks of life in some of the country’s best cities, it’s always interesting to hear people’s opinion on Hull. Much of the time people are indifferent, having nothing but the occasional top (or bottom) ten lists found in newspapers or online to base their opinions on. Often people take a mocking tone based on these lists that regularly place Hull amongst the country’s worst or least favourable places to live. The problem is, many of these same people will have never set foot in the city. A city that is making huge strides forward as 2017 approaches and artists, musicians, writers and performers embrace the title of City of Culture, using it as a platform to make their own voices heard.
I’ve visited most places in the UK and Hull, while it has some issues (as all cities do), is a long way from the worst. Once you scratch the surface and discover exactly what Hull, and the people of Hull have to offer, it is a vibrant, creative, imaginative and exciting place that looks set to grow and develop in amazing ways over the next few years. There is a momentum building that will hopefully carry the city well beyond 2017.
On a couple of occasions recently I’ve been sat in a bar or restaurant while out on my travels and have found myself talking to people about Hull. In years past when I’ve mention working in Hull the conversation has generally centred around those infamous ‘lists’ I’ve already mentioned. In recent months though something interesting has happened. Rather than focusing on the negative, people ask about 2017 and about the Turner Prize or the huge redevelopments taking place at the moment. People want to know what is in store as far as events go and what to look out for and often, where are the good places to stay and visit in the city.
This may not sound like anything particularly significant but I think it is. The fact that some people are starting to see Hull as a destination, as somewhere they may like to visit to see a show or attend an event is something to celebrate. There is still a way to go, but change has started and as someone who is invested in the future of Hull, I’m excited to see where it takes us.