We spoke to the freelance digital media journalist from ‘ull.
Michelle Dee is a freelance writer who has been covering the arts scene in Hull for a long, long, time. Michelle promotes artists’ ideas and intentions through her own words giving creatives in the city the opportunity to promote their work to larger audiences.
Known as ‘the voice of culture’ in Hull, Michelle aims to be ‘omnipresent at all manner of cultural events/openings/performances/meetings’, by writing, blogging and helping to spread the news of all the ongoing cultural activity within the city – all with her trademark, playful sense of humour.
After being part of the burgeoning spoken word scene in Hull, Michelle found she had a voice and something worth listening to. ‘The community website ThisIsUll.com first gave me a platform’ Michelle says. ‘I attended a gig at the Adelphi club, I visited the Humber Mouth Literature Festival and I rediscovered Spring Street Theatre’. Someone then invited her ‘a little closer to the fire’ and since then, she’s not looked back.
Although her primary aims are to promote creative talent within the city, Michelle is obviously no exception to Hull’s talent pool. Her work, particularly in the last eighteen months has allowed her to ‘become more relevant’ and ‘able to respond to events rapidly’. Even her ‘sense of critical thinking’ has improved, as well as being able to give artists more exposure.
Michelle has now become involved with pretty much every artform out there, with her biggest passion at the moment being contemporary dance. ‘Dance in Hull is in a state of transition right now’, says Michelle. ‘With the right support, infrastructure and exposure, there can be a really exciting programme that values and nurtures dance talent in the city.’ Theatre productions such as Mapping the City by Slung Low Theatre have also had a great impact on Michelle’s work, which she describes as ‘thrilling’ and ‘powerful’.
“All manner of life exists in this city and each and every time I go out my front door there is the potential to find my next article. The next person I meet could change the way I see the world, turn me on to a new artist or art form. It’s the wondrous people I meet and their lives, and the sharing of their passions.”
Events such as The Butterfly Dementia Collaborative which help to promote understanding of dementia through various forms of artistic activity have had a lasting effect on Michelle too. Michelle feels events such as these have helped to build more of a ‘dense narrative of cross-agency relations, building support networks and infrastructure to support those living with dementia in the region.’
As well as her writing specifically aimed at exposing local talent, Michelle has also found success in the form of a short story Twinkle Toad Goes Home which was accepted into the children’s book Toad Tales in the Summer of last year, responding to the Larkin with Toads public art exhibition. The achievement inspired her to create more for herself, rather than always for other people. ‘I’ve entered more writing competitions’ Michelle says ‘I am seriously exploring the idea of publishing a collection of works.’ Being given the opportunity to be published in Toad Tales has given her such a thrill; ‘A book, a real book that you could pick up at a bookstore, it’s the most magical feeling.’
Michelle feels it is paramount that one of the effects of 2017 will be a ‘legacy where artists are valued and can see value for their work’. Her work has always been about ‘promoting the artist’ and the arts here in her hometown for twenty years. ‘It will be a great big party for sure, presenting a rare opportunity to see global artwork in a city trying to reinvent itself.’
Not only does Hull ‘stand apart’ Michelle says, ‘it is fiercely proud of being different from the rest as we rely on ourselves, like we have always done.’
To get in contact with Michelle, visit her blog.