Arrivals and Departures
Completed Project

Arrivals and Departures

Migrant research transformed into a visual journey

Project summary

The Challenge

The Hull 2017: UK City of Culture opening ceremonies 'Made in Hull' provided an opportunity to tell the story of the people of the city.

The Approach

Researchers worked with an international and local artist team to recreate the story of migration through large-scale projections and soundscapes.

The Outcome

Our research underpinned the opening ceremonies and captivated tens of thousands of visitors with its powerful, innovative and moving content.

The Challenge

UK City of Culture status brought Hull into the national spotlight, with major investment in a world-class cultural programme and cultural and visitor infrastructure; increased visitor numbers; unprecedented media coverage; and a significant increase in participation amongst the resident population in a city that had previously had low participation in arts and culture.

Researchers at the Wilberforce Institute had an opportunity to contribute to the aims of the cultural programme, reach new audiences and communicate their research in powerful and innovative ways. Through collaboration with an artistic team, our research underpinned the opening ceremonies for the City of Culture year, and 'Arrivals and Departures' told the story of the history of migration in the city.

city of culture image

The University of Hull, UK City of Culture Evaluation revealed that:

  • The City of Culture year attracted a total audience of 5.3 million attending over 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions.
  • Over half of the audience was from Hull, with nearly all residents attending at least one cultural activity during the year. 
  • The total number of annual visitors in 2017 was 1.3m greater than in 2013.
  • Most residents felt proud to live in Hull, and the city achieved a significant national profile through the events.
  • Many new jobs were created in the visitor economy and cultural sector since 2013, a direct result of investments totalling £219.5m. 

The Approach

Arrivals and Departures, Hull 2017: UK City of Culture
We felt really proud and emotional that we were able to contribute some information and photos for the installation. We have a six-month-old son so we’re bringing a new generation of Lais to Hull to carry forward the name. It was great to see the BME community represented in such a positive way as they have helped to make Hull the diverse cultural city that it has become.
Linda Lai

Linda Lai

Curated by Bafta-nominated documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister and written by Rupert Creed, 'Made in Hull' saw international and local artists using large-scale projection, soundscapes, art installations, animation, archive material and interactive live performance to tell the city’s story in an innovative way.

Dr Nick Evans' research into the history of migration in Hull underpinned ‘Arrivals and Departures', which was projected onto The Deep, one of Hull’s most iconic tourist attractions, located at one of the former landing points for migrants arriving by sea. The show was created by the arts company Imitating the Dog, with an original soundtrack by award-winning composer Terry Dunn.

The Impact

I have spent my whole academic life researching Hull’s migrant history and the impact those people have made in the city and further afield. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something truly amazing and I am hugely proud to have played a part.

Dr Nicholas Evans

'Arrivals and Departures' attracted huge audiences and presented an emotive story showing how Hull’s population and prosperity grew as migrants arrived by sea, train and air since the 1800s.

The event featured the research of Dr Nick Evans and the University of Hull maritime historian Dr Robb Robinson who supplied archive material and research expertise. The research team were supported by PhD candidate Sam North. 

Made in Hull captivated tens of thousands of visitors with its powerful content displayed in an innovative and moving way.