Entertainment & Arts

Hull to be UK City of Culture 2017

Hull has been named the UK's next City of Culture, beating Leicester, Dundee and Swansea Bay to the right to hold the title in 2017.

Hull, known for being the home of poet Philip Larkin, the Ferens gallery and the Hull Truck theatre, will follow the 2013 City of Culture, Londonderry.

The UK government chooses a new destination every four years, with the aim of helping tourism and the economy.

Hull council leader Stephen Brady said winning was "a real game-changer".

He added: "It will give Hull a platform to tell the world what this great city has to offer, transform perceptions and accelerate our journey to make Hull a prime visitor destination."

TV producer Phil Redmond, who chaired the City of Culture panel, said Hull was the unanimous choice because it put forward "the most compelling case based on its theme as 'a city coming out of the shadows'".

"This is at the heart of their project and reminds both its people and the wider world of both its cultural past and future potential," he said.

Swansea's city council said losing to Hull was a "bitter disappointment".

In an apparent swipe at the winners, council leader David Phillips said the residents of Hull "had to have something to look forward to".

He added his team wouldn't "give up", as "there were too many good ideas in the bid, we're not going to let them slip through our fingers."

Leicester's Mayor Peter Soulsby expressed similar sentiments, saying: "We don't need to wait until 2017 to show ourselves off. We are going to do it now."

In Dundee, bid director Stuart Murdoch simply said the city was "broken-hearted".

Being City of Culture has brought Derry events like the Turner Prize and BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend.

But income from sponsorship and ticket sales has failed to live up to expectations and there have been tensions among organisers.

Ministers created the UK City of Culture title in an attempt to replicate the success of Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture in 2008.

However, the winner does not receive direct funding from the UK government.

Culture secretary Maria Miller said Derry's tenure was "encouraging economic growth, inspiring social change and bringing communities together".

The Humber Bridge is the seventh-longest of its type in the world.

But she admitted she had not visited Derry herself since its tenure began in January.

"It's not been possible to go," she told the BBC. "It's always difficult to fit every single thing into the diary."

Hull's most famous cultural figure is Larkin who, while not born there, lived in the city for 30 years and found fame while working as a university librarian.

He produced most of his published poetry while living in the city and Hull's bid is partly based on his work.

A statement from Hull City Council said: "Inspired by Larkin's poem Days, the ambition is for each day of Hull 2017 to make a difference to a life in the city, the UK and the world."

The council said it expected the events to bring a £60m boost to the local economy in 2017 alone, as well as a longer-term legacy for the city.

The Hull Truck theatre company moved into a £14.5m new home in 2009
Hull is home to the Maritime Museum (right) which explores the seafaring heritage of the city

Hull is already home to the Ferens Art Gallery, which broke visitor records with a Da Vinci exhibition last year, and the Hull Truck theatre company, which became a national force in the 1970s and '80s and moved into a new £14.5m home in 2009.

Hull's cultural programme will be inspired by the poems of Philip Larkin

The city's plans for 2017 include an opening ceremony involving theatrical elephants, dancing white phone boxes and four "rivers" of light, people and sound flowing into the city.

Hull's annual Freedom Festival will incorporate a special aerial show taking its theme from the last line of Larkin's poem An Arundel Tomb: "What will survive of us is love."

There will also be a stadium sound and light concert that will see lighting designer Durham Marenghi work with 500 dancers on the theme of illusion and fairs.

Phil Redmond added that the panel was "particularly impressed with Hull's evidence of community and creative engagement, their links to the private sector and their focus on legacy, including a commitment to enhance funding beyond 2017".

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