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bp and Hull, UK City of Culture 2017

bp was the first major corporate partner to support Hull UK City of Culture 2017, which delivered 365 days of transformative culture through an impressive range of diverse, high-profile events and projects in which bp played a significant part

Hull was only the second city to hold the title of UK City of Culture and the first in England. The year-long celebration, which reached over 4 million people, was an unprecedented opportunity to show how much there is to Hull’s story and to reveal the many new and exciting sides of both traditional and contemporary culture. From theatre, music and poetry to wind turbines and caravans, Hull has long inspired great ideas, great people and great artists.


The partnership with bp delivered an inspiring programme throughout the year including the bp cultural vision series, an exhibition of bp portrait commissions at the University of Hull, and the bp Big Screens of opera and ballet. Around 22,000 people came along to take part in these events.


bp Cultural Visions lecture series

In collaboration with the University of Hull, bp enabled a series of lectures designed to spark reflections about culture. Featuring luminaries from the UK arts world, they took an intimate look at the creative journeys of several high profile people. Audiences heard about the challenges and obstacles that were faced and how this shaped them into the person they are today. Speakers included:

  • Sir Andrew Motion – poet, novelist, biographer and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009
  • Nick Cullinan – art historian, curator and director of the National Portrait Gallery in London
  • Kevin O'Hare – director of The Royal Ballet and former ballet dancer
  • Alex Beard – chief executive of The Royal Opera House
  • Clara Drummond  winner of the BP Portrait Award 2016
  • St John Simpson – the British Museum's senior curator for pre-Islamic collections from Iran and Arabia
  • Ian Blatchford – director and chief executive of the Science Museum Group.