Hull’s links with its twin city of Freetown are set to be given a cultural boost this week as a high level delegation from Hull heads over to Sierra Leone.
The team, representing Hull’s cultural, civic and educational sectors, will visit Freetown tomorrow (22 January) to explore future partnerships and projects.
As part of the ongoing development of links between the cities, it is hoped this exploratory trip will help to forge closer civic, cultural and educational links, including opportunities for artists from Sierra Leone to be involved in the Hull 2017 programme.
Representatives making the trip include Deputy Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Daren Hale, Chief Executive of Hull 2017, Martin Green, Chair of the Freetown Society, Kathleen Guthrie, the Director of Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, Professor John Oldfield, and Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Freedom Festival Trust, Mikey Martin.
Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council said: “The connection between Hull and Freetown is an important one, which has historically worked to strengthen the commercial, educational and cultural links between the two cities.
“This twinning link has a long and prestigious history and I very much hope that this visit will help to continue its success into the future.
“The legacy of our year as City of Culture is as important, if not more, than the year itself and I am keen to ensure that Freetown plays a part in it.”
Martin Green, Chief Executive of Hull 2017 said: “Hull’s close links with Freetown are part of the story that we will want to share with the world in 2017.
“During the visit, we hope to meet people and artists who will want to work with to tell that story through art and culture. I hope it will be the first step to creating something very special that will strengthen the ties between both cities, leaving a legacy well beyond 2017.”
Director of Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, Professor John Oldfield said: “The Wilberforce Institute has strong links with Sierra Leone, particularly in the areas of education and outreach.
“We see this visit as an important opportunity to strengthen and develop these existing links, while at the same time exploring the possibility of future co-operation between the University of Hull and Fourah Bay College”.
Teachers from some of Hull’s schools will also join the trip, visiting Freetown partner schools. Deborah Tague, Headteacher of Sutton Park Primary School, will be joined by Stacey Barrell, also from Sutton Park Primary School, Laura Sarel from Wansbeck Primary School and Kayleigh Garner from Collingwood Primary School.
Ms Tague said: “As the Headteacher lead for City of Culture and Global Schools for the Hull Collaborative Academy Trust, I am travelling out to Freetown to reinvigorate our school links as well as hopefully making some new ones.
“Our plans were halted during the Ebola tragedy and we were devastated to hear of the plight of many of our friends and colleagues during that terrible time. As Hull prepares to be UK City of Culture, it is now time to re-engage and re-build.”
“My colleagues coming to support me back in Hull will be working to roll out the curriculum and build school partnership engagement.”
During the trip, the delegation will meet their Sierra Leonean counterparts, visit museums, galleries, schools and theatres in the area and see a cultural showcase, hosted by the Director of the Ministry for Tourism and Culture, Foday Jalloh.
Hull supported Freetown during the Ebola crisis in 2014, raising funds to provide equipment to combat the destructive disease. The country was declared Ebola transmission free by the World Health Organisation in November last year. The group will depart for Freetown on Friday 22, returning Friday 29 January.