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bp Cultural Visions lecture series

As a longstanding investor in culture, bp recognizes that the experience of new ideas has the power to inspire and innovate and is proud that its support of Hull City of Culture 2017 demonstrated its commitment to the Humber region with a wider celebration of excellence and access to the arts

bp worked in partnership with Hull 2017 and the University of Hull to produce a world class programme of free public events throughout the year. One of these programmes was a series of lectures based around four themed seasons.


bp has a strong affinity with Hull. There have been operations on our site at Saltend for over 100 years and in 2017 we celebrated 50 years of bp in Hull.Peter Mather,group regional vice president, Europe, and head of country, uk


The lectures were a unique opportunity to follow the creative journeys of some of the UK’s leading cultural visionaries – to discover what first inspired them, what challenges they faced in their careers and how those challenges shaped them into the person they are today. And they're now available to watch today.


Made in Hull 

The opening season, ‘Made In Hull’ lectures, focused on the many magnificent things Hull has made, from theatre, music and poetry to wind turbines and caravans. Hull has long inspired great ideas, great people and great artists.


Martin Green, chief executive & director at Hull 2017 


Martin kicked off the lecture series outlining the challenges and obstacles he faced on his journey from head of ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics to CEO and director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.


Mark Babych, Richard Bean and Erica Whyman


Richard Bean’s riotous new comedy The Hypocrite recounted a defining moment in the city’s history. Award-winning theatre director Mark Babych (artistic dDirector of Hull Truck Theatre) and acclaimed Hull-born playwright Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) joined Erica Whyman (RSC deputy artistic director) to discuss the joint project and look back at their careers so far. 

Stuart Pearson-Wright


Stuart Pearson-Wright, headline-making artist and BP Portrait Award winner who has been compared to the likes of William Blake and Stanley Spencer, gave us a chance to take an intimate look at his creative journey.


Routes and Roots 

The ‘Roots and Routes’ season explored Hull’s connections and its place in the networked, globalised and digital world. With a distinctive international flavour, new partnerships and collaborations rubbed up against old friends. 


Richard Twose


In 2014 Richard was awarded second prize at the BP Portrait Award in the National Portrait Gallery. Ben Luke, art critic and journalist, described Richard’s painting as having an elusive, poetic quality. Richard revealed what made him tick.

Dame Deborah Bull


Deborah delivered a talk about her extraordinary career, first as a performer, dancing with The Royal Ballet and, more recently, as creative leader and cultural commentator. In 2001, she joined the Royal Opera House Executive to devise and implement strategies for developing new art, artists and audiences, becoming Creative Director in 2008 and taking the lead on the organization’s Olympic programming.

Sir Andrew Motion


Sir Andrew Motion FRSL, English poet, novelist, and biographer, was Poet Laureate of the UK from 1999 to 2009. During the period of his laureateship, Motion founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work. 



Hull played a pivotal role in the emancipation movement. It helped ignite the still unfinished global journey towards equality and social justice for all. Hull has always attracted creative risk takers and rule breakers; it is a place that seems to inspire rebellion and freedom of thought, not bound by the conventions of others, a place of pioneers.


Nick Cullinan


Nick Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, London looked at his journey from inspiration to creativity.

Kevin O’Hare


Kevin O’Hare shared his incredible 40-year journey from dancer to director of the Royal Ballet as the company prepared to take to the stage at the newly opened Hull New Theatre. 

Telling the world

Looking to the future, exploring what’s next. How will Hull redefine itself as a key city within the Northern Powerhouse? Will it be a confident city, a city reborn and a people on the up? As 2017 drew to a close, you could tell this was the start of something special for Hull and something the world should hear.


Richard Whitehead MBE


Paralympic world champion and world record holder Richard Whitehead MBE talked about his belief in living life without limits and how he became one of the world’s best sprinters.

Alex Beard in conversation with Peter Mather


Alex Beard CBE, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, was joined in conversation with Peter Mather, bp regional president for Europe and head of country, UK, to discuss their journeys from inspiration to creativity.

Sandy Nairne


Writer, historian, curator and former director of the National Portrait Gallery Sandy Nairne discussed how people's engagement with art in Britain has fundamentally changed over the over the past 40 years.

St John Simpson


Archaeologist and British Museum curator Dr St John Simpson talked about his life and current role working in the Museum’s Middle East department.

Clara Drummond


Looking at the journey from inspiration to creativity, Clara Drummond the winner of the first prize for the BP Portrait Award 2016, focused on how receiving the award had affected her life and career. 

Ian Blatchford


Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group, focused on the importance of arts and culture and the positive impact it can have on a person's life.