The Art of Hull: Six Exhibitions to see Right Now

Hull is the place to go right now if you’re looking to see a wide variety of art, from the world-renowned Turner Prize to a lesser-known exhibition featuring the works of alumni and former staff of the School of Art and Design. Together these six exhibitions not only showcase the city’s ability to be an art destination but demonstrate what makes Hull unique and the creative talent that can come from the city. Each of these exhibitions (in no particular order) offer a unique experience and all have their own interesting story that makes them well worth a visit.

  1. Turner Prize – Until 7 Jan , Ferens Art Gallery
A Fashionable Marriage, Lubaina Himid

Starting with the most well-known, the Turner Prize, is at the Ferens and features works from the four shortlisters; Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Rosalind Nashashibi and Lubaina Himid. Running since 1984 the Turner Prize, awarded by Tate, has become the most publicised art award in the UK and each year can attract controversy and much discussion.

This year the work of the four artists explores how art can respond to social and political upheaval. British painter, Hurvin Anderson’s work was praised by the jury for addressing identity and belonging, keys issues at the moment. Andrea Büttner’s work explores ‘religion, morality and ethics’ through a range of different mediums. Lubaina Himid was praised for addressing ‘personal and political identity’ and Rosalind Nashashibi’s work impressed due to the examination of ‘sites of human occupation and the coded relationships that occur within those spaces’.

More information on the artists can be found here. The winner will be announced on the 5th of December.

2. TORN – Until 31 Dec, Humber Street Gallery

TORN explores the effect of war and conflict on women through the use of torn poppy petals, which remind us that women are being torn from life as they know it every day. Then in the aftermath of war they must pick up the pieces and start again. This exhibition is a collaboration between Hull-born documentary photographer Lee Karen Stow, members of the Hull Women’s Refugee Group, sound artist Hayley Youell and textile artist Liz Knight. It is a digital photographic, sound and mixed media installation.

3. Portrait of a City – Until 31 Dec, Humber Street Gallery


Split over two floors of Humber Street Gallery this exhibition explores Hull’s culture, creativity and asks the question, what defines the city? Focusing on two main themes, food and youth culture, the photography by Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur demonstrates what makes Hull unique and reveals the people’s relationship to this City of Culture. Martin Parr’s colourful photography captures Hull’s food scene, which plays an important role in the city’s culture, from famous classics like Bob Carver’s fish and chips, patty butties and chip spice to the new up-and-coming cuisine of the city. Olivia Arthur’s black and white portraits reveal the burgeoning individuality, creativity and aspirations of the youth of the city and beg the question; what effect will this cultural year have on their futures?

4. An Eyeful of Wry: Government Art Collection – Until 26 Nov, Brynmor Jones Library, The University of Hull

At Night This Water Turns Black, Laure Prouvost

This unique exhibition brings together a collection of humourous and witty artworks that have been on the walls of British government buildings such as Downing Street and embassies all over the world. The exhibition features a variety of mediums and artists, from 18th century caricatures to the piece above by Prouvost, and demonstrates how comedy has been a part of the government art collection since its beginnings.  Also includes work by Grayson Perry, Peter Liversidge and Cornelia Parker. While at the university campus you can also see the CAIRNS Sculpture trail which is on until 31 Dec.

5. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future – Until 15 Dec, Brodrick Gallery, Hull School of Art and Design


This exhibition may seem slightly off the beaten path but it is only a short walk from Ferens and is definitely one worth seeing if you want a taste of the creative talent Hull has produced and inspired. Featuring work by former staff and students, the exhibition has a diverse range of works in many mediums. Since leaving the school many have gone on to be artists, teachers and lecturers and have made significant contributions to cultural life. By showing the impressive work of past students and staff this exhibition demonstrates the creativity that has been nurtured in Hull and offers a glimpse into the great possibilities for students of the future.

6. The Tool Appreciation Society – Until 10 Feb, Hull Central Library

Another gem off the beaten path is this exhibition at the library. The title might not give much away, but this exhibition of work by artist Linda Brothwell is actually a very interesting exploration of the importance and value of tools in our connections to community, family, home and heritage. The exhibition explores tools used by people of Hull, but also shows the worldwide significance of tools with the inclusion of those used by people in South Korea. The exhibition displays new tools made by Brothwell to help people with their craft. In a tribute to makers she performs her ‘Acts of Care’ so that tools can evolve and continue to serve their important purpose in society. The exhibition causes you to think about making, crafting, building and the role of tools in your own life. The exhibition is more thought provoking than you would expect and there are cards to write on about your own relationship to tools, in whatever form that may be, to be a part of the discussion.


Hull 2017: What’s On in March (10th onwards)

I’ve compiled a short guide to March’s main events, exhibitions and installations so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s going on in the UK City of Culture in March 2017, ordered by date. This month includes WOW Hull (Women of the World), ReRooted, the Heads Up Festival and a trio of operas!

I hope you find this guide useful if you live in the city or are planning a trip to visit, or maybe it will inspire you to go and give Hull a chance.


The following list is for events and exhibitions that run from 10 March onwards. It does not include SOLD OUT events as of 10 March. If you think I’ve missed anything off please let me know so I can add it to the list.

Marine Art: Nick O’Neill

1 Mar-30 April @ The Deep

A look at British Artist, Nick O’Neill’s contemporary marine and wildlife art. Nick uses unique materials and techniques to ‘bring the sea to life in new and exciting ways not seen before in the art world.’

Three Ships Exhibition

2 Mar-28 Apr @ Hull Maritime Museum (Free)

An exhibition of 9 textile and mixed media artists who have been inspired by Hull’s seafaring past. There will be a focus on three ships which all have a relationship to Hull, the Resolution, the Morning and the Viola.

The Night Season by Rebecca Lenkiewicz

2-25 Mar @ East Riding Theatre

Directed by Adrian Rawlins is ‘The Night Season’ by Rebecca Lenkiewicz. ‘The Night Season is a funny, modern and intoxicating tale of loves, losses and misdemeanours.’

See link for more details. Contains strong language. 12+

Between The Lines

3-25 Mar @ Studio Eleven (Free)

This exhibition brings together the work of Jenny and Geoff Morton who lived in La Selva Beach on the Monterey Bay in California for nearly ten years. Their work is influenced by the beauty but also the contrasts of this area, including those between surfing culture and agriculture. Their work also explores their position as immigrants.

Ceramics by Jenny Morton, paintings by Geoff Morton.

The Female Gaze

3-25 Mar @ Kingston Art Group Gallery (Free)

Celebrating some of the city’s female artists, the Kingston Art Group are holding not only an exhibition but a series of free events to show that women and girls can have ambition and achieve their goals. This is in response to the struggle female artists face in having their work exhibited as ‘the average representation of female artists at galleries in Europe is a feeble 22%.’

Art From The Tenfoot

6-31 Mar @ Artlink (Free)

A series of paintings by Chrissy Collinson which explore the Tenfoots of Hull.

Heads Up Festival

8-18 Mar @ Kardomah 94 and Hull City Centre

This festival takes place twice a year and is curated by Hull-based Ensemble 52.

Heads Up is 10 days of ‘the best new work across theatre, dance, comedy, music and audio performance, from the most innovative and thrilling artists.’ In various locations including Kardomah 94 and around the city centre. See link above for details.

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 21.17.01

WOW Hull (Women of the World)

10-12 Mar @ Hull City Hall & other venues

‘WOW is a festival of talks, debates, music, film, comedy and activism that celebrates women and girls and takes a frank look at what stops them from achieving their potential.’ Since WOW’s founding in London at the Southbank Centre, it has gone global and has travelled to five continents, Hull is the latest city to host. It is a celebration of equality. The festival takes place around the city in various locations.

WOW Day Pass tickets are available for purchase. See link for list of events.

Inspired by Nature

10 Mar – 1 Apr @ Gallery Forty-Nine (Free)

Presented by the Pleasely Art Explorers, this is a mixed media exhibition of a group of 6 artists. The exhibition includes original paintings, drawings and prints.

Ethel Leginska: The Musical Pioneer Exhibition

10-12 Mar @ Ferens Studio (Free)

An exhibition about a forgotten trailblazer, Ethel Leginska, who was born in Hull and ‘paved the way for women all over the world to find a place on the professional conducting podium’.

Hallé Orchestra

16 Mar @ Hull City Hall (£5-28)

Manchester’s award winning symphony orchestra returns to Hull with MAHLER Symphony No.4. Opening with Johann Strauss’ waltz, The Blue Danube and a selection of songs by Richard Strauss.

Ryan Wigglesworth conductor

Elizabeth Watts soprano

STRAUSS II Waltz: ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’
R STRAUSS Orchestral Songs

MAHLER Symphony No. 4

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: A Film Retrospective

17 Mar 6:30pm @ Hull Truck Theatre (£6-7)

A series of screenings and talks celebrating the impact of what is arguably Hull’s most important musical export – David Bowie’s band The Spiders From Mars, particularly the legacy of guitarist Mick Ronson.

La Boheme

21 Mar @ Hull City Hall (£12.50-33)

Ellen Kent directs the famous romantic opera, La Bohéme. See above link for more details.


22 Mar @ Hull City Hall (£12.50-33)

Also directed by Ellen Kent, Nabucco is a new production of the first opera she ever produced. See above link for more details.


23 Mar 7:30pm @ Hull City Hall (£12.50-33)

Another Ellen Kent production, this time a new interpretation of the classic opera, Aida. The opera will have international soloists, Olga Perrier and Liza Kadelnik and a highly praised chorus and full orchestra.



24-26 Mar @ Humber Street Gallery (Free)

The two-day live and media arts festival ReROOTed will take over place in the city’s new contemporary art gallery. It will include ‘interventions, performances, installations and conversations, reflecting on the legacy of the former commissioning agency, Hull Time Based Arts (HTBA) and 10 years of the Running Out Of Time (ROOT) Festival.’ The festival will encourage us to think about our capacity for change and ‘the possibilities that sprout as we re-root, transplant and grow.’ See above link for more details of individual events.


Hull City of Cinema

24-26 Mar @ Middleton Hall

This three-day event including screenings, Q&As, presentations and masterclasses at the University of Hull will celebrate Hull’s film heritage, its filmmakers, television makers and cinemas, past, present and future. See link for more details.

Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling: BP Portrait Award Commissions from the National Portrait Gallery

29 Mar-11 Jun @ Exhibition Hall, Brynmor Jones Library (Free)

Following the impressive ‘Lines of Thought’ exhibition, ‘Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling’ shows some of the best portraits in contemporary portraiture. The selection includes portraits of famous cultural figures and shows ‘the diversity, creativity and vision of a group of people who have shaped Britain today.’

Under the Skin: London Sinfonietta conducted by Mica Levi

31 Mar 7:30pm @ Middleton Hall (£10-20)

This screening of the sci-fi film, Under The Skin (2014) is combined with a live performance of the BAFTA-nominated score composed by Mica Levi, performed by the London Sinfonietta and conducted by Levi.


Hull Independent Cinema 

1 Jan – 31 Dec (various locations)

Catch a film you’d not usually be able to see in mainstream cinemas with Hull Independent Cinema. Link to their upcoming events above.


2 Jan – 31 Dec (various locations) (Free)

Bringing art out of the gallery space and onto the streets, onto billboards to be exact. Every four weeks 13 billboards will be ‘transformed into platforms for artistic excellence’ with accompanying cultural events at these sites.

I Wish To Communicate With You

18 Jan-31 Dec @ Thornton Estate (Free)

Italian artist Silvio Palladino’s vision is brought to life by international lighting consultant James Bawn and the people of Hull. Residents will introduce a splash of colour to their homes, creating a large-scale light installation.

The City Speaks

2 Feb – 31 Dec @ Fruit Market/Tidal Barrier

This installation by Michael Pinsky translates and projects your spoken words onto the city’s tidal barrier. Go and have your say at the steel lectern on the quayside of Humber Dock Street and have it projected on the tidal barrier for all to see. #thecityspeaks


Hull 2017: What’s On in February

I’ve compiled a short guide to February’s main events, exhibitions and installations so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s going on in the UK City of Culture in February 2017, ordered by date. This month includes the opening of Humber Street Gallery, a whole lot of music, a Cyber Film Festival with an impressive line up, and Back to Ours, a festival which will be held in various locations around Hull, taking the festivities to the local communities. I hope you find this guide useful if you live in the city or are planning a trip to visit, or maybe it will inspire you to go and give Hull a chance.


See Hull 2017: What’s On in January for details.

The following list does not include SOLD OUT events (as of 26 Jan).

Blade, In Queen Victoria’s Shadow

TAXI – An Exhibition by Mike Harvey

Until 12 Feb @ Hull International Photography Gallery (Free)

Documents the range of people that occupy the taxi space.

Marine Art: Mandy Barker

Until 28 Feb @ The Deep (Free)

Born in Hull, Barker is a photographic artist whose work focuses on marine plastic debris, raising awareness of the pollution of the oceans and its effect on marine life and us.


Opens 3 Feb

This new contemporary art gallery in the cultural quarter of the Fruit Market will showcase forward-thinking exhibitions and contemporary arts ‘from the shocking to the sublime and all points in between’.

Opening Exhibitions:

Power In Woman

3 Feb – 22 Mar @ Humber Street Gallery (Free)

In this exhibition three sculptures depicting female figures by British artist Sarah Lucas will be displayed. They will be ‘set in a powerful dialogue with the exhibition COUM Transmissions‘, curated by Cabinet Gallery and Cosey Fanni Tutti.

COUM Transmissions

3 Feb – 22 Mar @ Humber Street Gallery (Free)

‘Founded in Hull during the late 1960s by artists Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti, COUM Transmissions was a collective whose work confronted, subverted and challenged societal conventions.’ See the first exhibition of materials showing the life of COUM, taken from personal archives. There will also be live events involving music and discussions with original members.

See above link for list of events.

Exhibition contains explicit content. Not suitable for young children.

Hull Chamber Music: Fenella Humphreys & Libby Burgess In Recital

4 Feb 7:45pm @ Middleton Hall, The University of Hull (£5-14)

Performing a programme ‘which harks back to traditional and folk music’ Pianist Libby and violinist Fenella’s recital will include works by Bartok and Stravinsky and a performance of Beethoven’s Sonata no. 10 in G major.

BP Cultural Visions Lecture Series

6:30pm @ Middleton Hall (Free)

  • 8 Feb: Mark Babych and Richard Bean 
    • Discussing their careers and their new project, The Hypocrite at Hull Truck Theatre, are award-winning theatre director Mark Babych and Richard Bean, an acclaimed Hull-born playwright. They are joined by Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director.
  • 15 Feb: Stuart Pearson-Wright 
    • Artist and BP Portrait Award winner.

Xuefei Yang in Recital

9 Feb 5pm @ Middleton Hall (£4-8)

An evening with one of the world’s best classical guitarists. Yang is the first internationally recognised Chinese guitarist.

Digital Dystopias: A Cyber Film Festival

10 – 14 Feb @ Middleton Hall, The University of Hull

This festival, organised by Simon Willmetts, one of my American Studies lecturers, offers a fantastic line up of films exploring digital technology’s role in shaping our lives and society. The five-day festival is being held in the impressive, newly refurbished Middleton Hall at the university, making use of the big screen and full surround sound. The accompanying panels and Q&As sound fascinating, there is even one with an ex-MI5 agent. Get yourselves there, it promises to be a one-of-a-kind event!

  • 10 Feb 7pm: Ex Machina (Panel: Dystopias Today: Imagining Our Virtual Futures in a Post-Orwellian World – 6pm)
  • 11 Feb 2pm: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Panel – TBC)
  • 12 Feb 2pm: A Good American (Panel: Ex-MI5 Agent and Whistleblower Annie Machon Q&A – 4pm)
  • 12 Feb 5pm: Snowden
  • 13 Feb 7pm: Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (Panel: Privacy and Surveillance in a Digital Age – 6pm)
  • 14 Feb 7pm: Her (Panel: Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence and Us – 6pm)

See all six films for only £20!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

11 Feb – 22 Apr @ Beverley Art Gallery (Free)

Take a day trip out of Hull to explore the lovely market town of Beverley, not too far away from the city. While there make sure you see this exhibition on loan from the Natural History Museum in London. The exhibition showcases 100 of the most fascinating, breathtaking photographs of animals and wild landscapes.

Circus Of Horrors: The Never Ending Nightmare

15 Feb 7:30pm @ Hull City Hall (£18-26)

‘The Never Ending Nightmare’ is the Circus of Horrors’ latest incarnation as they celebrate their 21st anniversary this year. They have travelled all over the world to perform, made the finals of Britain’s Got Talent and have made festival appearances with acts including as Oasis and Eminem. This unique and wacky circus show is described as an ‘amazing amalgamation of bizarre, brave & beautiful acts all woven into a Alice in Horrorland type story’.

Unsuitable for children.

Roderick Williams & Christopher Glynn: Schubert’s Winter Journey

16 Feb 5pm (£5-14)

Baritone Roderick Williams, together with renowned pianist Christopher Glynn, will perform Schubert’s Wintererreise.


17 Feb 7:30pm – 11pm @ Fruit, Humber Street (£15)

Visit Fruit to see Space, a band who have sold over 2 million albums worldwide. Their sound is a ‘mish-mash of SKA, Punk and the classic Space sound’ according to lead singer Tommy Scott.

Mind On The Run: The Basil Kirchin Story

17 – 19 Feb @ Hull City Hall (£6-£20)

A music festival celebrating the life of Basil Kirchin, a post-war music genius from Hessle Road. See link above for details and individual events.

Back To Ours

22 – 25 Feb @ Various Locations (from £2.50)

This festival takes the City of Culture events to other areas of Hull, to the local communities. It will feature a range of events and acts in various locations, from big names to local talent. There will be comedy, music, dance, theatre, film, circus and cabaret. See above link for list of events around the city. Suitable for everyone.

The New London Chamber Ensemble: Mainly Mozart

23 Feb 7:45pm @ Middleton Hall (£5-14)

This wind quintet will perform arrangements by Mozart, Faure and Debussy.

Telling Tales: Musical Stories With Narration

24 Feb 1pm @ Middleton Hall (£4-8)

In this family-friendly programme, featuring musical stories such as Opus Number Zoo, actor Simon Callow narrates classical music presented by the New London Chamber Ensemble.

The Hypocrite

24 Feb – 18 Mar @ Hull Truck Theatre (£2-22.50)

A comedy play by Hull-born Richard Bean.

Hull Philharmonic Orchestra

25 Feb 7:30pm @ Hull City Hall (£8-15.50)

With a new piece for the City of Culture, this classical symphonic programme will feature the City Hall Organ and the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Saint-Saens Symphony No 3: The Organ Symphony

Piano Soloist: Martin Roscoe

Organist: Jonathan Scott

Conductor: Andrew Penny


Hull Independent Cinema 

1 Jan – 31 Dec (various locations)

Catch a film you’d not usually be able to see in mainstream cinemas with Hull Independent Cinema. Link to their upcoming events above.


2 Jan – 31 Dec (various locations) (Free)

Bringing art out of the gallery space and onto the streets, onto billboards to be exact. Every four weeks 13 billboards will be ‘transformed into platforms for artistic excellence’ with accompanying cultural events at these sites.


Hull 2017: The Blade


I took this photo in Queen Victoria Square in Hull. It captures Nayan Kulkarni’s Blade installation. The city centre landscape was completely altered by the positioning of the 75 metre B75 rotor blade, one of the first made in Hull. The zoomed in photograph shows the imposing nature of the structure on its surroundings, demonstrating one of the ways it affects the space around it. It also shows the beautiful curve of the Blade which result in making it look unreal, almost photoshopped. An impressive way of making you look up and around and consider your surroundings in a different way.

Hull City of Culture 2017

Hull 2017: What’s On In January

Another shot:


Dogwood Photography Challenge


Hull 2017: What’s On in January

I’ve compiled a short guide to January’s main events and installations so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s going on in the UK City of Culture in January 2017, ordered by date. By the sounds of it there are a lot of great things to come. If the first week is anything to go by it will be an incredible year and the city will be well worth visiting. I hope you find this useful if you live in the city or are planning a trip to visit, or maybe it will inspire you to go and give Hull a chance.


2 Jan – 19 March @ Hull Maritime Museum (Free)

The University of Hull and Hull School of Art and Design have created a lifelike audio visual installation of a Bowhead whale to honour the city’s whaling heritage.

Hull Charters

3 Jan – 24 Feb @ Hull History Centre (Free)

A different approach to understanding the city’s history in the History Centre’s first exhibition of 2017. Through its Charters, from the first in 1299 to that of Queen Mary, the exhibition reveals the rights, responsibilities and privileges the people of Hull were granted and the effect they have had on the city up until this day.

British Museum: Lines of Thought – Drawing from Michelangelo to Now

3 Jan – 28 Feb @ Brynmor Jones Library, The University of Hull (Free, but book tickets for guaranteed entry)

Visit The University of Hull’s brilliant campus, from which I happen to be a graduate, to see this exhibition. The University has recently been investing in renovations to improve the campus and the Brynmor Jones Library is its shining example. It contains a great gallery space and the first exhibition to be held there in 2017 is certainly impressive. ‘Lines of Thought’ includes the work of Michelangelo, Matisse, Degas and Rembrandt to name a few. On show are the drawings from these masters, which reveal the basis and creative starting point for many of their works.


8 Jan – 18 March (as part of Look Up, which runs all year) @ Queen Victoria Square (Free)

This installation by Nayan Kulkarni is part of Look Up, a series of installations which will feature in different spaces of the city throughout the year. The series encourages people to see the city in a different way, to look around them and to notice things they never have before, to stop staring at screens and get out to explore the city. The Blade installation turns one of the first 75m B75 rotor blades made in Hull into a piece of art. Or is it?  In photos online it doesn’t look real, it looks like it has been photoshopped into pictures of Queen Victoria Square, an internet hoax. This makes it even more interesting to see in person, to see the sheer scale of it, to look up at its unique curves and to see how it changes the space of Queen Victoria Square.

Ferens: Hull’s Philanthropist 

13 Jan – 31 Dec @ Ferens Art Gallery (Free)

Ferens Art Gallery opens on the 13 Jan after a £4.5m refurbishment. Enjoy the gallery’s permanent collection in the now revamped gallery that came into being due to Thomas Robinson Ferens’ philanthropic gift.

Pietro Lorenzetti: Siena to Hull, A Masterpiece Revealed

13 Jan – 23 April @ Ferens Art Gallery (Free)

For the first time since its acquisition in 2013 the panel painting, Christ between Saints Paul and Peter (c.1320) is shown at the Ferens Art Gallery and is shown amongst other works which give the piece context.

BP Cultural Visions Lecture Series: Martin Green, Chief Executive & Director at Hull 2017

18 Jan (first in series) 6:30pm @ Middleton Hall, The University of Hull (Free, ticketed)

Opening Ceremonies: From London 2012 to Made In Hull

In the first of a series of lectures which will run throughout the year, Martin Green shares his story and experiences of the London 2012 Olympics where he was Head of Ceremonies to being the Chief Executive and Director of the City of Culture year. Learn about the creation, production and staging of such events and the creative process that goes into such ‘cultural moments’.

Open exhibition

21 Jan – 12 March @ Ferens Art Gallery (Free)

The Open Exhibition showcases the talent and creativity of local amateur and professional artists and 2017 marks its fiftieth anniversary at Ferens.

Francis Bacon Screaming Popes

21 Jan – 1 May @ Ferens Art Gallery (Free)

Joining the display of the permanent collection are five of Francis Bacon’s ‘Screaming Popes’, including the revered Head VI (1949).

Anthony Minghella: A Retrospective 

ALL @ Middleton Hall, The University of Hull (£5-7)

  • 22 Jan: Minghella on Television
  • 24 Jan: The Talented Mr. Ripley 
  • 25 Jan: Cold Mountain
  • 26 Jan: The English Patient  

An Oscar-winning director, producer, playwright and lecturer Minghella is a Hollywood Legend who also happens to be one of the most famous alumni of The University of Hull. To celebrate his life and legacy, screenings of several pieces of his award-winning work will be held in the newly refurbished Middleton Hall. A look back on his life, from where it all began with his studies at the university. There will also be a free accompanying display of artefacts from his play Whale Music and his production of Madame Butterfly.

Lisa Ronson

25 Jan 7:30pm @ Fruit (£10)

‘Ronson’s rare sound is a dynamic convergence of synth pop and alternative rock with dystopian and existentialist lyrics.’

Creative Voice Dance

29 Jan 7pm @ Hull Truck Theatre (£3)

See Hull’s next generation of performers in a new piece created by the Hull Dance Youth Company inspired by Ceyda Tanc Dance, a professional Turkish contemporary company.



Hull Independent Cinema 

1 Jan – 31 Dec (various locations)

Catch a film you’d not usually be able to see in mainstream cinemas with Hull Independent Cinema. Link to their upcoming events above.


2 Jan – 31 Dec (various locations) (Free)

Bringing art out of the gallery space and onto the streets, onto billboards to be exact. Every four weeks 13 billboards will be ‘transformed into platforms for artistic excellence’ with accompanying cultural events at these sites.

Humber Street Gallery

Opens Jan

This new contemporary art gallery in the cultural quarter of the Fruit Market will showcase forward-thinking exhibitions and contemporary arts ‘from the shocking to the sublime and all points in between’.

And check out what happened in the first week of Hull 2017 here:

Video | Made In Hull & In With A Bang | Hull 2017 | UK City of Culture

Hull kicked off its City of Culture year in great fashion with the ‘Made In Hull’ event last week, which involved a series of projection installations around the city. They revealed Hull’s story, showed what the city is all about and were a great introductory piece for the year of events. This video also includes clips of the firework display, ‘In With a Bang’ which impressively brought in the New Year on the 1st January at 20:17pm. I’m looking forward to all the cultural events which will be taking place in Hull this year. I’ll be visiting often, why don’t you get yourself there too?

Featured Installations:
‘We Are Hull’ – Zsolt Balogh
‘(in) Dignity of Labour’ – MakeAMPLIFY
‘Arrivals and Departures’ – imitating the dog

A ‘What’s On in January’ post, listing key events and installations in Hull this month, will be coming soon. Keep an eye out!

Until 30 October: Georgia O’Keeffe at the Tate Modern | Exhibition Review

Catch it while you can:

Georgia O’Keeffe. Tate Modern, 6 July – 30 October 2016.

Marking 100 years since Georgia O’Keeffe’s first show at the ‘291’ gallery in New York, this exhibition is a rare display of her paintings in the UK and demonstrates the breadth of her career from the 1910s to the 1960s. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) became an American icon and a key figure in the modernist movement in the United States. Throughout the last century several of O’Keeffe’s paintings have been associated with erotic imagery and this is what many people know her for, yet this was not her intention and it frustrated her greatly. This retrospective exhibition at the Tate aims to ‘dispel the cliches that persist about O’Keeffe’s painting,’ instead concentrating on and emphasising the pioneering nature of her work.

From the Lake No.1, 1924. Oil paint on canvas.

The exhibition is extensive, bringing together over 100 works, some of her most important and iconic. With no works by O’Keeffe in UK public collections this is definitely an exhibition to catch in its final couple of weeks. Laid out over 13 rooms, in chronological order and divided into sections, the exhibition delves into her long career. O’Keeffe’s story is told with the addition of photographs by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz. They parallel her works and provide a deeper look into her life, her circle and her influences. Each room has a distinctive theme; from her beginnings in ‘The Early Years and ‘291” and ‘New York Cityscapes’ to her later years in ‘Late Abstractions and Skyscapes’. As a result the exhibition is easy to follow and can be appreciated by all audiences as I witnessed in the ‘Flowers and Still Life’ room. A little girl sat beneath the iconic ‘Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1, 1932’ (the most expensive painting by a female artist ever sold at auction). She was colouring her own version of the painting, pencil crayons scattered on her lap, completely enthralled with matching the greens and blues perfectly. A little girl clearly inspired by the work and legacy of O’Keeffe.

Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1, 1932. Oil paint on canvas.

During her earlier years, as a female artist, critical response was focused on her gender and the feminine qualities and erotic imagery that could be found in her paintings. Again and again the exhibition makes clear that her paintings were never intended to be interpreted in that way. The exhibition delves into the different avenues she took in her works and reveals how they drastically changed throughout her lifetime; from her early pieces which drew inspiration from music and synaesthesia (the stimulation of one sense by another), to her flower paintings to her desert landscapes. Each room is like an exhibition in itself, a fresh beginning, a new outlook, keeping your attention, yet there is continuity in the chronological order of the works. The exhibition makes startlingly clear that O’Keeffe should be remembered for much more than her famous flower paintings and the associations of her work with erotic imagery.  The range of pieces displayed demonstrates her love for the American landscape, particularly in New Mexico and also shows her impressive adaptability and the variety of inspirations which made her one of the most prolific American painters of her time.

Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow, c.1923. Oil paint on canvas.
From the Faraway, Nearby, 1937. Oil paint on canvas

It is the final room, which displays some of O’Keeffe’s later and lesser known works, the ‘Skyscapes’, which I found most impactful. These pieces are inspired by views from aeroplane windows, of clouds and rivers below. By showing that she painted up until the days of flying on planes in the 1960s, this room makes very evident the extraordinary length of O’Keeffe’s career since her first show in 1916 in New York City. This room also shows that O’Keeffe continued to develop her depiction of the American landscape and her relationship and experience of it.

The exhibition demonstrates O’Keeffe’s important role in American modernism and marks a great start to the new larger Tate after its recent extension. This is a rare chance to see O’Keeffe’s work in the UK, so make the most of the opportunity if you can. Ending 30 October 2016.

Escaping Past Identities: Hull’s Freedom Festival and the City of Culture 2017

2nd-4th September 2016

For the last few years, as a student and then a graduate from the University of Hull, I have seen firsthand how underrated the city of Hull is and how people’s perceptions are still influenced by old criticism, such as being top of the list in the 2003 book Crap Towns. This is an identity the city has struggled to remove itself from over the last decade. I find myself defending Hull to people all the time; I loved living there and all the students I know did too. In fact when you live there for a while you seem to form a deep connection to the city, you want it to succeed, for people to look past the negatives and for it to be recognised for how great it actually is. You begin to root for the underdog. The Freedom Festival works to do this and demonstrates the potential of the city. It has been going for several years and aims to highlight Hull’s unique identity and make the city ‘a recognised home of artistic freedom.’ In its three-day run this year it attracted nearly 73,000 visitors despite Saturday’s heavy rain. I was one of those people eager not to let the rain stop me from seeing the music, installations, art, street theatre, spoken word and dance. The weekend provided a huge variety of acts performed by people from all over the world, from the spectacular performance of As the World Tipped by Wired Aerial to the somewhat strange and comedic street theatre The Spurting Man.

Demand Change, Wired Aerial presents As the World Tipped
A group of children enjoy getting soaked, Avanti presents The Spurting Man

Hull has been named UK City of Culture 2017, a move which will hopefully provide the city with the funds and development it needs to get further away from that Crap Towns identity. This year’s Freedom Festival was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the city’s potential and with the right strategy, what can be done on a bigger scale next year and into the future. With the festival’s array of performances and installations there was something for everyone and as a result it attracted a diverse audience of all ages and a mixture of locals and tourists. It proved to be an inclusive event, with something for everyone to enjoy. Hopefully this can be replicated with the City of Culture events.

This year the festival was mainly based around the Fruit Market, which after its revamp, is set to become the city’s art and culture quarter in coming years. The festival showed the potential of the area and its already burgeoning creative atmosphere with its independent galleries, cafes and Fruit, a cultural space featuring live gigs, cinema screenings and much more. The festival also encouraged the visitor to explore the city, with events taking place in Queens Gardens and even Albion Street car park. It gives you a different perspective of the city and how its spaces can be used. For instance, Queens Gardens was used for the building of Olivier Grossetête’s People’s Tower, an impressive collaboration with the festival’s visitors to build a large structure out of cardboard boxes and tape.

Olivier Grossetête presents The People’s Tower

The festival also puts the city’s well-known structures into a new light. An impressive example of this was the placement of Ray Lee’s installation of giant kinetic sculptures, Chorus, under the Tidal Barrier. In addition, the new open-air amphitheatre Stage@TheDock opposite The Deep, became an integral part of the festival showcasing performances such as The Spurting Man and HURyCAN Dance’s Asuelto. Its location, as well as emphasising the impressive structure of The Deep, connected the area between the Tidal Barrier and the Fruit Market by providing a cultural performance space.

Ray Lee presents Chorus
HURyCAN Dance presents Asuelto (UK Premiere)

The brilliant performances and the evident potential for the City of Culture left me excited to go back next year. Next time, I want to show off the Freedom Festival to my friends and I hope others who visited feel the same way. With 2017 only a few months away, the people behind the City of Culture in Hull must build on what the Freedom Festival has established over the last few years and produce similar results on a bigger scale, all while encouraging the arts and culture in the city to flourish. Hopefully the year will provide a new beginning for the city, full of investment and growth, much like the European Capital of Culture did for Liverpool in 2008. It’s a chance to show the country and the world what Hull is about and why those who live there for a while, like me, form such a love for the city.

Enjoy my compilation of highlights from the weekend combined with Joe Hakim’s inspiring words about Hull from the Speak Out tent:


Until 31 May 2015: Cornelia Parker at the Whitworth | Exhibition Review

A review I wrote for an art course while at university.

Cornelia Parker

The Whitworth Art Gallery, 14th February to 31st May 2015


 The Whitworth reopened in February after renovations and this inaugural exhibition gives the revived gallery a fresh and compelling new beginning, showcasing its potential. The exhibition combines many highlights of Cornelia Parker’s career over the last few decades with several works from 2015, providing a strong and compelling visual journey. Parker’s work is itself innovative; her preeminent interest involves transforming everyday materials and objects into works of art, often unrecognisable from their previous identity. The exhibition showcases a variety of forms and pieces are grouped together to create a manageable and coherent narrative spanning five rooms, two of which showcase single pieces; her renowned ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’ from 1991 and ‘War Room,’ from 2015.


The first room of the exhibition begins the narrative, using smaller pieces to exhibit Parker’s versatility and key ideas she demonstrates in her work. At this point the viewer gets the sense that Parker takes materials associated with danger or controversy and transforms them into pieces of art with powerful connotations. For instance, this room features a sawn up shotgun, cocaine and a ‘Pornographic Drawing,’ not in its visual content, but in its material, made from ink created by dissolving a pornographic videotape. This causes the viewer to think about these objects, how they have changed from their original identity and why they are considered pieces of art. The display of this room appears scattered with different sized frames and kinds of work, yet there is uniformity in a sense, with the grouping of particular works and just enough distance between to differentiate between groups. For instance, four pieces hung in a row vertically titled ‘Poison and Antidote Drawing’, created using rattlesnake venom and anti-venom compliment each other, all reminiscent of anatomical parts. Placed next to this group are ‘Bullet Drawings’, which Parker has crafted by turning bullets into wire. These examples reveal the unusual and diverse assortment of materials Parker uses in her work.


This idea is developed further by ‘Room for Margins’, a collection of canvas linings from the paintings of JMW Turner. What would most often be considered inconsequential, Parker transforms into art. Showcased in white frames the markings from light and dust on the canvas create an interesting unseen story of pieces of art history. Three pieces of Parker’s work also infiltrate the watercolour section in the same room. The positioning of Parker within the collection of paintings by artists such as William Blake and JMW Turner, dating back to the 18th century creates a meeting of old with new. The display also continues the narrative, as her three pieces are paper used to blot Turner’s works in a flood. Parker’s pieces are watercolours of another type, stained, with a very unusual connection to art history. This is an exciting discovery as her work amongst the closely packed together watercolours, prompts the viewer to look closely at the other works.


Between the several different rooms the exhibition has a range of atmospheres and backdrops that compliment the variety of works. The first room is dimly lit with grey walls however the white framing and spotlighting highlights the art, a reversal of the white cube technique. From the first room you must walk through a gallery of other artists’ work to enter the main exhibition room for Parker, which in contrast is very bright from natural sunlight and use of white walls. The gallery in-between interrupts these sections and the experience of Parker’s work, making the exhibition somewhat disjointed. However, the effects are not too detrimental as in the main exhibition space the full impact of her work is achieved. Information about the artist is given upon entering the space, which may have been useful in the previous room, however, it also suggests the previous room is intended as a taster, and the audience is encouraged to gather the artwork’s meanings independently. The previous room also focused on smaller pieces, whereas this room features the much larger installations, an enjoyable progression, to experience quite literally the larger significance and intentions of Parker’s work. Pieces suspended just off the floor are especially intriguing and innovative as the gaze is drawn to all levels giving a complete view of the exhibition. Different materials are grouped together, many unrecognisable from their previous identity. The main exhibition hall contains a variety of pieces including self portraits made from Parker’s own blood and a sculpture titled ‘The Distance (A Kiss With String Attached)’. The exhibition’s disjointed nature seems intentional, to make the viewer consider the pieces and their content individually as well as a collective. Parker’s work is mesmerizing on its own but the captions accompanying the artworks provide another dimension; they highlight the unusual materials used, giving understanding to the viewer of the artist’s intentions and themes, making the pieces even more compelling. The exhibition pamphlet written by Parker also compliments by providing very detailed explanations of how some of the key pieces were made.


The two dimly lit rooms with just one piece allow quiet reflection of the bigger themes, an effective sequencing and play of light and darkness amid the bright main exhibition hall. In their simplicity these rooms are highlights of the narrative structure of the exhibition. To the left is ‘War Room,’ which is covered in perforations of poppies from a factory that manufactures them for memorial. The walls and ceiling become the exhibition; the audience becomes entombed in the poppies, or the absence of the poppies. Despite the absence it is interesting that we still know the meaning and the piece highlights the loss of life to war. The installation room to the right is ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’, which has just one bulb, central to the explosion of the piece. The white walls are key, as the shadows projected by the objects become part of the piece; the walls become filled with art too. The exhibition’s intermingling of old with new, small pieces with large, produces a captivating narrative of Parker’s career and complements the innovative and intriguing nature of her work, the transformation of material identity.