Nearly 800 jobs have been created and almost £220 million invested in Hull’s tourism and cultural sectors since the city was named UK City of Culture 2017, according to a preliminary evaluation.
The assessment, prepared by the University of Hull, showed that “almost everyone” in Hull engaged with something in the 2,800-event programme, with more than 95% of the population attending at least one activity during the year.
Hull’s tenure as the UK City of Culture was widely hailed as a success when it finished at the end of December following the presentation of the Turner Prize in the city – both in terms of the quality of its artistic content and the stimulation of the local economy.
This early evaluation shows that Hull being UK City of Culture touched the lives of almost everyone living hereKaty Fuller, creative director at Culture Company
The evaluation study examined how Hull utilised the title as a “catalyst for creative place making and culture-led regeneration”.
Among the key findings of the research were:
– More than 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions took place, attracting a total audience of 5.3 million.
– More than half of the audiences were from Hull with nearly all residents (more than 95%) attending at least one cultural activity during the year.
– Although total visitor number figures are not available until later in the year, it is projected that 4.7 million people visited Hull in 2017 – an increase of 1.3 million on 2013, when Hull bid for the title.
– The projected value of tourism in 2017 is on track to contribute in excess of £300 million to the economy.
– Nearly 800 new jobs have been created in the visitor economy and cultural sector since 2013. These are a direct result of investments totalling £219.5 million in the cultural and visitor economy, which are “fully or partly attributable to Hull being awarded UK City of Culture status”.
– 465 new commissions were created, against an initial ambition of 60.
– The age profile of audiences showed a high representation of people aged 55-64, and an under-representation of audiences aged 16-34.
– In a survey, 75% of residents said they were proud to live in Hull.
Katy Fuller, the recently appointed creative director at Culture Company, which has taken over from the body running Hull 2017, said: “This early evaluation shows that Hull being UK City of Culture touched the lives of almost everyone living here. It increased the already fierce pride in their city and changed perceptions here and across the country.”
Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady said: “The evaluation demonstrates that our investment in City of Culture and in culture-led regeneration has paid off.”
He added: “Levels of participation and pride within the city have exceeded all of our expectations, with the opportunities for local people to get involved enriching and improving people’s lives in ways we could not have imagined when we decided to bid.”
Mr Brady said the plans for a strong legacy from the City of Culture year were well advanced with the 3,500-seat Hull Venue due to open this summer, detailed plans for Yorkshire’s Cruise Terminal in development, a £27 million project to create a new visitor attraction around the city’s maritime history and plans for a continuing cultural programme.
The next UK City of Culture will be Coventry in 2021.