Hull City of Culture

A research collaboration with UCL Division of Psychology and Life Sciences exploring the impact of everyday creativity online for people experiencing low mood and anxiety.

The brief

At the heart of the City of Culture programme sat a belief in the transformational power of culture. But, together with Hull2017, we asked, "How can this culture be initiated, developed and owned by everyone in Hull?" We wanted to offer an opportunity for the people of Hull to celebrate their passions and creative flair and to encourage them to nurture and develop it, changing the way they see themselves and their city.

Who was involved?

We worked with staff at Hull2017 and 52 organisations across the city of Hull. These ranged from primary and secondary schools to the National Citizen Service, The Goodwin Development Trust, Mencap and Age UK. Residents from the city were invited to participate in the public campaign.

What we did

Together, we initiated a city-wide intervention – to catalyse a population of 250,000 people through creativity. We developed a year of #ChallengeHull; 52 organisations across the city set a different creative task each week. Challenges ranged from drawing a view from your city to making music from old rubbish to form a giant conga line. Residents from across the city were invited to complete the tasks and post the results on social media – showing the world what Hull can do.

What were the outcomes?

With our partnering, participants of the #ChallengeHull campaign experienced:

  • Increased creative courage and vulnerability in individuals, creating a sustainable culture and creative legacy driven by the people of Hull
  • Giving people the confidence to lead activity, also lending to the legacy of Hull2017
  • Through online activity – increased interaction between those who work and live in Hull and more interaction between people who wouldn’t usually meet
  • Aligning people of Hull in a shared purpose – everyone completing the same simple action in the same week, creating a moment of cohesive creativity across the whole city
  • Providing ideas and content for other activities in different contexts – homework/outdoor events/creative groups
"64 Million Artists' year of creative challenges put Hull communities in the driving seat of their own creative participation rather than as passive observers."
- Ian Read, Head of Learning - Hull 2017