Martin Green Presentation

City of Culture company Chief Executive Martin Green has delivered a presentation of his previous work and ongoing work to students, lecturers and officials of Hull School of Art and Design in the Horncastle Building.

Featuring much on his experience as Executive Producer for the opening and closing ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Mr Green laid out extremely impressive credentials to a captivated audience as to why he is the man to deliver the City of Culture celebrations in 2017.

“Ceremonies show who we were, who we are and, most importantly, who we wish to be,” Mr Green told the audience.

He showed videos of the opening ceremony for the London Olympics and the Beijing Olympics as well as videos of the preparations for the opening ceremony in 2012.

Being both engaging and entertaining he explained, sometimes in quite comedic ways, how he helped deliver on promises that had been made about the games, he also spoke of his involvement with the o2 Arena.

He then carried on by explaining about what is expected for Hull 2017 saying “We’re not at the end of the road, we’re at the beginning of it, we’re the gateway to Yorkshire,”

Mr Green also said that a volunteering initiative will begin at the start of 2016 because of the size and complexity of such an operation.

Taking questions from the audience he continued to engage with everybody there and still had time, despite his busy schedule, to talk to people afterwards, both inside and outside the building.

One man from the south bank said; “When Hull won the bid I was dreading it, I thought typical, more money to Hull and still nothing for us, but after today I’m actually genuinely looking forward to it,”

Mr Green also explained that Hull will do City of Culture in a unique way because it is a unique place.

“I believe culture can move mountains,

“The bid was good, it won, we’re curating what is in the bid, that’s our central act,” He concluded.

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HSAD Commission for Green Port Hull

Hull School of Art and Design (HSAD) hosted a launch for their commission for artwork to be shown at the Siemens development at Green Port Hull.

ABP Projects Manager, Humber Laura Morrish and ABP Engineering Manager Paul Hatley gave a presentation laying out the size of the plan for the development which will cover 57 Hectares, the equivalent of 130 football pitches, and will see 7.5 Hectares of land reclaimed from Alexandra Dock.

The site will include a facility for the manufacture, assembly, testing shipment and on-going maintenance of offshore turbines which will be more than double the size of the wind turbines that we see inland.

The commission for HSAD is for 6 sculptures that will be placed along a public right of way at the north end of the site which will be placed on concrete plinths which are 2 meters in diameter and raised 450 millimeters.

There will also be 3 exhibition boards measuring 5.9 meters by 2.9 meters and 4 information boards.

Students from HSAD are expected to come up with their individual design ideas. The students will visit the site on 9th February and will have time from March to May to work up their designs before issuing them on May 8th.

A review panel will choose the design on 26th May and students will then have June to October to produce final designs and then October to March to actually prepare the artwork before it is installed in April 2016.

There was also a presentation from Spearfish, who students will work alongside if their design is successful. Spearfish were started in Manchester as a small artistic company but these days are internationally known for their institution of the Eurocultured Festival and the artistic workshops they offer which are delivered all over Europe.

After the main presentations and a short break there was a split into 5 break out groups to facilitate candidates with information they need regarding the work space and what is expected of them.

The themed break out groups included themes of Project Purpose, Benefits and Spin offs, Place and Site, Material Scope, Connections, Audience and Interaction and Ephemeral Pieces.

After about half an hour the break out groups came back together to give their feedback which included discussion about potential artwork, artists maybe working together and about research needed like a public consultation with the residents of Victoria Dock who will be affected by this installation.

ABP also provided drawings of the plans for the development and also stats and facts such as the fact that they handle around one quarter of the UK’s seaborne trade and contribute ¬£5.6 Billion to the economy.

Rosie Millard, Hull and City of Culture

When Hull won the bid for City of Culture 2017 Rosie Millard could have been forgiven for climbing to the top of the building she was in at the time and screaming about it with sheer excitement.

She may have been born and raised in Wimbledon but she has enduring memories of her adopted city from her time studying English and Drama at University of Hull.

Now talking to me in the bar area of the Holiday Inn on the marina she cuts a very relaxed figure but one which has a burning desire bubbling just under the surface. It is a desire to see Hull as a place of growth and economic stability in 2017 and beyond.

Upon being asked how the plans are going so far for Hull’s year in the spotlight she says “The plans are going very well so far.

She continues to tell me “The year will be broken up into 4 quarters based on Hull, the first quarter will be Made in Hull, the second is Roots and Routes, the third is Freedom and will tie in with the Freedom Festival and the final quarter will be based on Quirkey and Hullness.

Going more in depth she says that the first quarter is all about things that have come from Hull such as bridges and works of art. She also explains that the second quarter is more about Hull’s heritage, what it’s known for and why people want to come here because it’s removed enough from the glare of London and has its own identity.

The third quarter is to be based around the exploits of William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery and the final quarter will be celebrating Hull’s quirks like cream telephone boxes.

“We’ve looked at the bid to see what made it so strong and why Hull won and now we’re expanding on it.

Telling me that it will be totally unique and will not resemble anything like what places like Liverpool and Derry did in their year in the spotlight she says “It will be great that all the events will only be seen in Hull.

Continuing with great excitement she says “UK City of Culture is for places that have had economic difficulty but now you can see the growth that Hull is attracting.

“We won’t build a hotel in Hull but I would think that somebody will now.”

I asked her what she thinks to what’s happening at Hull Truck Theatre with the announcement of them receiving an 8th bailout in 4 years, she replied “Many contemporary theatres are regularly in trouble and it was always going to be difficult moving from Spring Street but Mark Babych is a great artistic director and I’m sure he’ll get it back on an even keel.”

She also tells me that Rufus Sewell is the man behind the recently announced deal between the National Theatre and Hull and says it’s great that they will bring more great shows to venues like Hull New Theatre.

She says that having Hull City in the Premier League has also brought growth and she thinks Steve Bruce is a great manager and that he will get them away from the relegation zone.

Asking her about rugby league she answers with great purpose “I think it’s fantastic that Hull has 2 Super League teams. Rugby is very strong and important in Hull and it’s great that there are 2 teams who are so connected to different areas of the city.”

She also reminds me of Hull Stingrays Ice Hockey team saying “My son loves Ice Hockey.”

Asking her about Kardomah 94 and what might a small place like that bring to the party Rosie tells me “It has a lot of potential, Malcolm Scott has got some great plans there like a projection from across the road onto the outside of the building.”

Mentioning her comments about how she thought “Grafton Street was the coolest place to live in Hull” when she was studying at the university she says “Yes it was, with Paul Heaton at one end and Roland Gift at the other.”

I ask her what she thinks to the culture here now and if it is as exciting now as it was in 1984 and she assures me it’s every bit as exciting now and more.

She also tells me that when she was studying here that there was nothing on the marina and says it is now an amazing place.

The overriding fact that has come out of our conversation seems very much to be that City of Culture is about engaging with the people here and not from anywhere else, Rosie Millard is one very energetic cog in what appears to be a very well oiled machine, and with her boundless enthusiasm for the job at hand I believe Hull really can’t go far wrong.

Feature article assignment

This following article would be written for the magazine called Real People. The target audience would be the over 30s especially those who have an interest in the problem of homelessness and also those who are maybe not aware of how much of a problem it still is. As of 2014 it is estimated that nearly 27,000 people are homeless in the UK that have been accounted for, unfortunately there are likely to be many more that we don’t yet know about. There are many council run services and also voluntary and largely church led services that aim to help people living rough and now a new service has been set up by a group in Hull to help combat this growing problem and try to get people off the streets and out the hostels and into their own home. The Genesis Project has been set up by Hull man Jerome Whittingham. When I spoke to him Mr Whittingham came across very passionately about his hopes for the new mentoring service which came about from a discussion between 12 people from different churches in Hull City Centre. Mr Whittingham said “There’s not much daytime activity to help homeless people so we discussed possibly opening a day centre but we don’t have anywhere near enough funding for that so we decided on the mentoring scheme instead. “We will put volunteer mentor’s 1 to 1 with homeless people, the idea is for the mentor and the service user to have weekly meetings so mentor’s can be a point of contact and stability. “The weekly meeting is meant to be creative, whether it be to encourage the person to use a creative skill they might have, acquire things like clothes or even furniture should they get a tenancy or just go to something like a creative writing course each week.” The Genesis Project is going to work alongside a service called Community Links who provide adult learning at William Booth House hostel as well but the overriding factor behind the project is to get homeless people into a tenancy and off the streets or out of the various hostels in the area. Mentor’s will also signpost clients to services such as charities who can help them once they achieve a tenancy but they will still also be able to use the Genesis Project mentor’s for as long as they feel they need them. The idea is that the Genesis Project will add support to what is already available. Church volunteer’s like at a soup kitchen will contact Mr Whittingham if they see someone attending there or at their church regularly who they believe may benefit from the service provided by the project. The service is available now and so far they have recruited 6 volunteer mentors but they don’t see any reason why that can’t be doubled in time. The project is receiving funding from the Church Urban Fund. Mr Whittingham is currently working three days a week developing the project and he is in charge of co-ordinating the mentors. He tells me that mentor’s expenses will be funded to a point but they don’t get a great deal of funding. There is also a hope that they would like to get mentors and clients together to go to any sort of artistic event. “We’re not jumping on the 2017 bandwagon but there are classes and events that do require attending and there will be lot’s of opportunities during City of Culture and that includes for people using our service so if there is an opportunity for them they will be encouraged to grab it.” Said Mr Whittingham. I also asked him about the few rough sleepers who appear to choose that way of life for whatever reason. He said “I know there are certain people living rough who don’t want to change their lifestyle at the moment but I hope that the project will be running for many years to come and hopefully as they get older and more vulnerable to illness they will decide to do something about their situation.” Jerome tells me that other projects that give emergency supplies like clothes, blankets, hot food and drink are still, and will continue to be, very important but the Genesis Project is hoping to be a more permanent answer to the homeless problem that exists in Hull. According to the Shelter website the most commonly held view about why people become homeless is due to that persons failings, when actually the truth is far different. There are many different personal and social factors that can contribute towards a person becoming homeless these may include any of the following factors. Individual factors such as, lack of qualifications or social support, debt- especially mortgage or rent arrears, poor physical and mental health, relationship breakdown or getting involved in crime at an early age. Family background including family breakdown and disputes, sexual and physical abuse in childhood or adolescence, having parents with drug or alcohol problems or previous experience of family homelessness. Institutional background like, having been in care, previously served in the armed forces or been in prison. There are also structural factors that can cause a person¬†to become homeless. Structural causes of homelessness are social and/or economic in nature and are often outside of the control of the individual and family concerned. They include unemployment, poverty, a lack of affordable housing, housing policies, the structure and administration of housing benefit or wider policy developments such as the closure of long-stay psychiatric hospitals. These problems require long-term policy solutions such as changes in the housing benefit system, the building of more affordable homes and ensuring that a wider cross-section of society benefits from the fruits of economic growth. The website goes on to say the three main reasons given by applicants for homelessness support from local councils are, Parents, friends or relatives unwilling or unable to accommodate them, relationship breakdown including domestic violence or loss of an assured shorthold tenancy. However these reasons are only the catalysts that trigger people into seeking assistance, and not the underlying reason that have caused the crisis to build up in the first place. For many people there’s no single event that causes sudden homelessness. Instead homelessness is due to a number of unresolved problems building up over a period of time. Mr Whittingham said there are maybe about two dozen council and voluntary services in Hull to help the homeless but they are more geared towards providing temporary relief which could be misconstrued as making rough living seem like a more viable option rather than actually reducing numbers of people who are homeless. There is a belief within the project staff that the specific problems that lead people into homelessness are better to be dealt with once the person has found suitable accommodation and is no longer living rough. Mr Whittingham went on to say, “We want to help people who have a chaotic way of life and get them standing on their own two feet, but the service we aim to provide won’t stop there, if a person believes we can still help them once they have a roof over their head we will still be there to help for as long as they need us.” There are other services for the homeless in Hull including a project called the Futures Project and there is also Humbercare who provide support once a person has found accommodation among many other projects. Now homeless people in Hull have another service to rely on.