This research project builds upon the legacy of Hull’s City of Culture year, by exploring the impact of the arts and cultural sector post 2017 and how we can understand the effectiveness of community arts programmes on the people and places that they work with.
In particular, it aims to generate a discussion around two arts groups (Absolutely Cultured & Back to Ours) and their role in improving access to community arts and local ‘liveability’. Through this, it hopes to identify the kinds of socially engaged art taking place in the city and its importance, as well as identifying any challenges that arts organisations are now facing, particularly in the wake of the most recent cost of living crisis.
Over the last few months the project has been working with Back to Ours and Absolutely Cultured, to undertake a series of interviews and workshops with community participants and volunteers, asking them to express how they view socially engaged art in Hull and its capacity for addressing social and environmental issues. The discussions from these have been both emotive and powerful in their recognition of how the arts and community engagement can be a real benefit to people’s quality of life particularly during periods of isolation.
At the same time the project was also part of developing a Creative Climate Workshop held in April 2023, in partnership with the Risky Cities Project and We Are Creative, which utilised arts-based approaches to encourage participants to discuss how the cultural sector can contribute to wider climate and environmental challenges. Throughout the day, a number of draft recommendations were developed which challenged wider exploitative funding structures, and presented options through which individuals, local and national government could develop which would support the arts sector to be more sustainable and a greater part of addressing climate change.