Regeneration “top of the agenda” for 2017, say City of Culture leaders

The newly-appointed chief executive of the 2017 City of Culture company is to tell business leaders that a legacy of regeneration is “top of the agenda” for Hull’s year as the UK’s cultural capital.

Martin Green takes up his new role on October 1, but before then he will address the region’s business community, alongside Hull: UK City of Culture 2017 chair Rosie Millard, at a Bondholders breakfast to mark the start of Freedom Festival, Hull’s premier artistic and cultural event.

Mr Green, whose impressive track record includes being Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said major events such as the Olympics, Tour de France Grand Départ in Yorkshire and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were a powerful tool for regenerating cities and communities and transforming their image.

He said:

“People are mistaken if they think that London had it all already.

“We got the Olympics not because we just wanted to put on the Games, but because we wanted to regenerate east London.

“In the five years I worked for London I was able to see that area physically change in front of me.

“The change in Stratford is sensational and that is all because we put a cultural event on.

“I am really glad to say we put that cultural event on really well, so it also had legacy in terms of memories, pride in the country and belief in ourselves that we can deliver.”

Mr Green added:

“I believe we can do the same with Hull.

“The scale may be different, but the principles are the same – staging cultural events, bringing people into city centres, putting on things that people want to come and see and while they come and see them, they eat and they drink and they stay.

“It also builds the reputation of the place, so you get people saying ‘I want to live in the city now’ or ‘they’ve clearly got a lot of creative people in that place, we should put one of our offices there’.

“It’s all about changing misconceptions – it’s often no deeper than that. If you can build on the pride people have for Hull it really changes how the city feels about itself and how it represents itself to the outside world.

“The legacy impact and regenerative impact is top of the agenda, because that is how we look at culture and delivering great events.

“Art for art’s sake won’t cut it. That doesn’t mean you put on loads of boring stuff.

“What we will put on will be new, exciting, relevant, diverse and of great artistic worth, but we will always be looking at what we’re doing within the agenda of what we’ve got to deliver before and, most importantly, after the year.”

The Bondholders is a fast-growing, private-sector led group of more than 230 member companies and other organisations that act as ambassadors for Hull and the Humber to encourage investment and job creation.

The regular Bondholders breakfast events bring these ambassadors together to gain insight into new initiatives and developments within the region.

At the Freedom Festival Bondholders breakfast Mr Green will also urge local businesses to “join in” and invest in supporting the cultural programme.

He added:

“We want to see a galvanised, proactive business community, which already exists in Hull, saying ‘we don’t need anybody’s help to do what we need to do, we just need a hook to hang our investment on’.

“The City of Culture company is going to give you 365 days of culture to hang your business strategies and plans upon. Engage and be proactive with us and everyone will benefit”.

The focus on legacy from 2017 will be underlined by Rosie Millard.

She said:

“City of Culture needs to improve jobs and futures in Hull; and it needs to change perceptions of Hull.

“We will be generating work from within the city that is genuinely jaw-dropping and accessible and that can actually change lives and perceptions, just by exposure to it.

“Places can be transformed. There is a reason why City of Culture has come to Hull.

“City of Culture has regeneration qualities, which Hull needs.”

The Bondholders breakfast will be staged on Friday, September 5, in the Big Top on the Freedom Festival site in Hull’s Fruit Market and is sponsored by local communications provider KC.

It will focus on how being UK City of Culture 2017 is acting as a catalyst for investment that will create a thriving environment for business.

Bondholders members will also hear from Hull City Council about how City of Culture is part of the overarching City Plan masterplan and details of specific projects such as improvements to Hull’s public realm, plans for a major events and conference centre, and regeneration of the Fruit Market.

In addition, the meeting will showcase case studies of investment which are reviving Hull’s waterfront and reinforcing its position as a focal point for Hull’s creative community.

Bondholders members can register to attend the breakfast meeting by e-mailing louise.drewery@hull.co.uk 

Places are expected to be in high demand so Bondholders are urged to register their attendance without delay. 

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Hull UK City of Culture 2017 chair Rosie Millard and chief executive Martin Green

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