It has been called “the most poetic city in England”, and this year besides its poetic name Kingston upon Hull, it just got another one, UK City of Culture. Namely, The City Of Culture as an event in the UK, occurs every four years and highlights a place in the country, a city that is celebrated as the Culture Place throughout the year. This year the chosen one to be celebrated in the year of 2017 was our charming Hull where there will be many events and festivals that celebrate the art and culture of the country as a whole.
Everywhere I look, people seem happier, very energized by all the happenings around. Everybody is going out more, spending time with their family and friends, gaining new knowledge about the culture and history of their city, children learning how to appreciate art, youngsters having fun at concerts, even food lovers can find their place too, but this event will give art and music lovers the special chance to get to know their local but also international culture of music as well. From folk festivals to Dutch punk there seems to be a little bit for everyone, or should I say plenty?
On January the first the event was introduced by a spectacular show of colorful fireworks attracting thousands of people, where I honestly had the impression that the whole England was there with me. Six months have passed already, and the city is blooming with so many things to do, places to visit, events to attend to in each part of the day, that you don’t know where to go first (Last week we ended up tossing a coin on where we should go, because we just couldn’t decide!).
I love the idea of how the whole event is divided into 4 parts, each telling a different story: Season 1: Made in Hull which focused on the contribution of the city to art, the industry and ideas. Season 2: Roots and Routes described Hull as a gateway, a place of movement to and through. Season 3: Freedom taking place in the third part of the year, will explore the role of the city in the emancipation movement, and the existing summer festivals in Hull, like the Freedom Festival. Season 4: Tell the World presents the last and closing season from October to December 2017, which will attempt to redefine the city for the future, building on the legacy of its year as UK City of Culture.
Because volunteering is a humble way to show respect and give back to the community where you grew up, I highly support the decision of our city to give a unique opportunity to people who are looking for a volunteering experience and want to become cultural ambassadors. This way they made sure everyone is included in the happenings in their own way, from helping with directions, press, and marketing, to performing on stage and even translations. So far there have been well over 2500 volunteers proudly wearing their blue shirts and hats, helping visitors and making memories. I have stumbled upon many volunteers in their 50s and 60s excited to be part of the game makers for the show. This was very heartwarming to me!
So which is your favorite part so far? In our home, we are still deciding on that and it has been one tough decision so far! Just like the 5000 gentle ceramic poppies were giving a charming touch to Queen Victoria Square and the colorful dancing fountains in the center of the city, I hope there will be many events to come, stealing smiles and provoking happy feelings in the people of Hull and its visitors.