• Summary
  • Venue


This major commission for Hull 2017, by the artist Michael Pinsky, functions as a 21st-century Speakers’ Corner. Your spoken words are translated to text and relayed on the west tower of Hull’s tidal surge barrier.

On the quayside of Humber Dock Street, a steel lectern provides a platform where you can broadcast your thoughts and feelings. A microphone captures your words, and software transcribes them into a scrolling dot-matrix text on the tidal surge barrier.

The plinth and the tidal barrier perfectly align at each end of Humber Street, allowing you, the speaker, to see your own speech being displayed across Hull, embodied into one of the city’s architectural icons.

Michael Pinsky said: “Hull’s tidal surge barrier, the site for this work, plays a significant role in protecting the city from flooding. It has become a gateway guarding the future of Hull, not unlike Beverley Gate where, in 1642, Sir John Hotham refused Charles I entry to the city. This act of defiance in the defence of independence is widely acknowledged as the spark that ignited the English Civil War. These principles of resistance and protection lie at the core of The City Speaks. This installation gives a new voice to the people of Hull and, in doing so, celebrates resilience and freedom.”

The City Speaks is part of the Look Up programme of artists’ commissions for the city’s public spaces. It was developed with The Light Lab and realised with the cooperation of the Environment Agency.

Visit the Fruit Market and have your say.


Event Type

  • Family Friendly


All ages


Humber Street and beyond


If you have purchased a ticket for an event/activity at this venue through hull2017.co.uk, please do not contact the venue direct with enquiries for that purchase as they will be unable to help.

Venue Access

  • Assistance Dogs
  • Baby Changing

Opening times

Monday 10am - 6pm
Tuesday 10am - 6pm
Wednesday 10am - 6pm
Thursday 10am - 8pm
Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 10am - 6pm