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Hull UK City of Culture 2017 impact report

As a longstanding investor in UK arts and culture, bp was the first major corporate partner for Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. The partnership helped deliver an exciting and engaging programme to inspire audiences, create conversation and spark creativity

Following Hull’s year in the spotlight, the University of Hull published a preliminary evaluation of the year demonstrating its impact and how the city has used its cultural success.


Key statistics from the report show that Hull’s UK City of Culture year attracted a total audience of 5.3 million attending over 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions; over half of the audiences were from Hull with nearly all residents (over 95%) attending at least one cultural activity during the year;  three out of four residents are proud to live in Hull; and nearly 800 new jobs have been created in the visitor economy and cultural sector since 2013.

As part of the partnership, bp hosted a series of monthly lectures with inspirational and respected cultural figures. The bp Cultural Visions lecture series were held at the University of Hull and are still available to watch on demand. In addition, an exhibition of BP Portrait Award commissions at the University of Hull, and the bp Big Screens of opera and ballet were part of the programme, attracting around 22,000 people to these events. 


Karen de Lathouder, bp Hull plant manager, said: “We are incredibly proud to have been part of this fantastic year of arts and culture.


“Not only did it put Hull in the national spotlight, but the year of events and focus helped raise confidence in the community, while bringing investment to the region and developing new audiences. As a local business, we believe these are all important factors in creating a thriving environment to live and work in.”


One of the most memorable and successful parts of the year was Hull 2017’s volunteering programme, with a 2,500-strong army of turquoise jacket-clad volunteers devoting an estimated 350,000 hours to volunteering. Our Hull employees contributed to these impressive figures, with 14 people completing more than 1,000 hours of voluntary work between them.  


For analytical rota technician Amie Easey, being part of the programme boosted her confidence, as well as giving her unique, exciting opportunities to be involved in the events.


“I chose opportunities to take me out of my comfort zone, and it allowed me to have the confidence to dance and perform in front of others, to approach groups of people to talk about exhibitions and much more – it has been brilliant,” Amie said.


“My favourite event was the ‘Land of Green Ginger Unleashed’ parade which travelled through the city centre. I was selected for a performing role in the ‘Stag’ troupe and had numerous rehearsals which peaked with me being given a costume, having my hair and make-up done (which did include bright blue eyebrows and a beard!) and parading through Hull in front of 25,000 people!”


I chose opportunities to take me out of my comfort zone, and it allowed me to have the confidence to dance and perform in front of others, to approach groups of people to talk about exhibitions and much more – it has been brilliant.
Amie Easey, analytical rota technician


Hannah Brace, optimization process engineer, loved the idea of being actively involved in the year, and for her, volunteering was the perfect way to do this.


“The highlight for me was getting to throw smoke grenades from a boat on Victoria Dock as part of the Flood Part4 show,” Hannah said. “This is something I certainly didn’t imagine I would ever be doing!


“Being part of this show, as well as others I participated in, also gave me the chance to see what happens behind the scenes – it was really fascinating to be a part of the crew.”


Getting involved in the City of Culture was an opportunity too good to miss for Acetyls quality and technical service advisor, Jane Monk. “I wanted to help show Hull in a much more positive light to the rest of the world, and to give something back to the city where I’ve worked for almost 30 years,” Jane said.


“I knew that if I didn’t make the effort to get involved, I’d always regret it. Being part of a transformative year for the city and embracing the pride and excitement, which was palpable, was fantastic. It also allowed me to learn so many new things by taking part in volunteering masterclasses.”


Absolutely Cultured – the new name for the company which delivered Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture 2017 – also launched. Building on the success of Hull 2017, the company says its mission is to create “ambitious, surprising and challenging artistic works that bring people and communities together”.