22 Sep 2016

Q&A with Hull 2017 Executive Producers

Meet Sam, Katy and Henrietta.

Hull’s year of game-changing arts and culture is fast-approaching. As we announce the programme for our first season, Made in Hull, we celebrate what it means to be from ‘ull – a fiercely independent city that has always been home to incredible local talent, which will finally be exposed to the world.

This is just the beginning. Our next three seasons – Roots and Routes, Freedom, and Tell the World – are looking just as incredible and it won’t be long before we can reveal what’s next. We can’t wait.

We caught up with our executive producers, Katy Fuller, Sam Hunt and Henrietta Duckworth to find out about their approaches to curating the 2017 programme.

So, what’s your job all about then?

Sam: It’s our job to support the amazing activity already happening in the city whilst helping to develop and deliver the curated programme of events which will run through the year – specific to 2017 – that help tell the story of the themes and seasons.

Katy: Last year was all about research, scoping and feasibility, talking to artists, getting under the skin of this city, exploring locations and dreaming about what might be possible.  In 2016, everything has got a lot more real; we’ve been budgeting, negotiating partnerships, nailing contracts and doing everything to ensure we can deliver those brilliant ideas in the best way possible for audiences.

Henri: Identifying a range of great artists, developing their projects and making them happen in Hull in 2017.  We support original creative people making a difference every day, it’s a joyful job.

Who is the Hull 2017 programme for? Why?

Sam: Firstly, it goes without saying the programme has to be for the residents of the city – not just the residents who already frequently attend Hull Truck, Fruit and Hull City Hall, but everyone across the city. This is also a national celebration. We are the UK City of Culture, so the best bit of our job is helping make sure we have a programme that can speak to a national audience, but that always speaks in a Hull accent.

Katy: It’s for everybody. We’ve worked really hard to make sure there’s a lot of balance across the programme so there are things which are directly happening in people’s neighbourhoods and on their doorsteps that will be very relevant to people that live here, whilst also drawing in an audience from the region and further afield.

Henri: I’ll be happy when everyone in Hull is able to experience a performance or piece of art that they’ve never known before and that they want to experience again. That exchange will fuel relationships between artists and audiences, which leads to more work being made here, and more work being brought here.  It’s also for people who’ve never been to Hull or don’t live here, to book a trip to see a gallery or an event here so they don’t miss out.

We support original creative people making a difference every day, it’s a joyful job

– Henrietta Duckworth

Most challenging aspect of curating Hull 2017 so far?

Sam: The challenge is: Hull has so much to tell the world and it’s about working out how these stories can find a space in a city that already produces 365 days of world-beating culture. Hull already is a city of culture – we’re just here to put a spotlight on it.

Henri: Trying to balance all the different scales, genres and agendas of projects.  All the projects are creative, significant and need care and attention, there are not enough hours in the day!

Katy: It’s challenging – but rewarding and totally necessary – to develop the projects so they are right for Hull and, while being nationally and internationally significant, still feel relevant and not an imposition.

What does the 2017 programme say about ‘ull?

Katy: The programme is driven by pride in this city and showcasing it for the fantastic place that it is. It challenges assumptions that people make about Hull.

Sam: It will say that for the past 500-odd years, for countless people (not just artists) Hull has been a place of inspiration and that it continues to inspire as we fly headlong into a new era in terms of the city’s fortunes. It will highlight new work made in the city and by artists from here and elsewhere – all inspired by the city’s history, its people and stories.

Henri: I think people will be surprised at just how much is happening in Hull and has been happening in Hull for centuries. The “secret” of Hull will be out in 2017.

“The programme is driven by pride in this city and showcasing it for the fantastic place that it is. It challenges assumptions that people make about Hull”

– Katy Fuller

How does it celebrate the work of local creatives? 

Henri: The programme stems from the city, its culture and its people.  That’s where it all started back in 2012/3 with the bid.  And the programme is everyone’s projects, from the tallest to the smallest, Hull 2017 recognises and celebrates all this creativity.

Katy: In so many ways. Local artists are driving, directing, contributing and collaborating on much of the programme. It also celebrates the idea that everybody is creative with opportunities for all residents to participate, from novice to expert.

Sam: The programme has been created with local creatives at its core, from our amazing opening show to the list of collaborators celebrating the legacy of Basil Kirchin.

The creative scene in this city is way bigger than just the programme we’re working on – this is when the city shows the world what it’s got, so let’s use Hull 2017 to do just that.

This is about Hull as host to the UK’s cultural festival, let’s put work from the city up there against the best in the UK, the best in the world, not as an add-on, but as part of the same programme. The scene here is as strong, innovative and forward-thinking as any in the UK. I think it’s fair to say we’ve kind of kept it to ourselves – so let’s do a very un-Hull thing and show off.

“The programme has been created with local creatives at its core, from our amazing opening show to the list of collaborators celebrating the legacy of Basil Kirchin”

– Sam Hunt

What impact will the 2017 programme leave on the city?

Katy: For me, I would like every resident and visitor to be left with some phenomenal lasting memories of sights and sounds and experiences that they never expected. Things which have surprised, delighted, inspired and invigorated. I hope it will leave a sense of possibility, that this is just the beginning.

Sam: This is more than the programme. This is a culmination of a whole load of things from investment to city centre regeneration. Hull has always been a city of culture; it will always be a city of culture. 2017 is just an opportunity to point it out.

Henri: Everyone will think of creativity when they hear “Hull” – a city for fun, for original expression, for making, for a career.  A happy city.

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