Kingston-upon-Hull has a reputation. The only thing is, what is that reputation? I’m not from Hull, but it’s now on my doorstep and I’m essentially a tourist here. I’ve heard many reputations over the years – some brave (its role during WWII), some inspirational (as a thriving port in the past), some fresh and innovative (Siemens is here now as a centrepiece of the offshore windfarm industry), but much of it is negative and overrides pretty much everything else. Hull at the bottom of every sort of social league table you can think of. But now Hull is UK City of Culture 2017 and it looks to me like it might gain a new reputation.
The promotion is everywhere – and I don’t just mean locally – national media covers Hull in a positive light now. The city is filled with people like never before. We have city urban landscaping underway, new arts and culture venues and a packed cultural programme. I’m only just starting to experience it all and it’s great! We’re only three months into twelve busy months and it’s now about working out how often to get to Hull.
So what will happen to Hull’s reputation? There’s positivity all round at the moment (and Hull seems to have got the City of Culture programme nailed – well done organisers). But, when it’s over what will be the legacy? There will still be buildings and structures, but what will be the reputational legacy? Will it help Hull longer term? (What was the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics for that matter?). This will be one I’m going to be interested in for a good few years to come.
And if you can make it – come to Hull. Have you heard? It’s City of Culture this year…