I Wish to Communicate With You © Sean Spencer

Culture, Place and Policy Institute

Back to Ours

Back to Ours, Hull's Creative People and Places (CPP) programme, is the result of a partnership between the Goodwin Development Trust, the University of Hull, Freedom Festival Arts Trust, Absolutely Cultured, Hull City Council and Hull Culture and Leisure (Libraries Service).

The Challenge

The project aims to deliver high quality arts and cultural experiences with and for the people of Hull, targeting in particular neighbourhoods with low arts engagement, but open and welcoming to all. With Hull UK City of Culture 2017 as its launch pad, Back to Ours will support the commissioning, production, creation and touring of new, original and inspirational work.

Funded by Arts Council England, Back to Ours will work strategically with a strong infrastructure of local creative partners and affiliates from the arts sector, community organisations, business and statutory bodies, and will share the lessons learned through in-depth evaluation. The aim of Back to Ours is to ensure its sustainability to 2026 and beyond.

The main challenge of Back to Ours is to continue to bring high quality cultural activities in areas of Hull where cultural participation is low, and to help consolidate, in the medium-long term, the positive cultural and social impacts of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

The Approach

The project’s partnership working approach aims to engage local people as audiences, participants, creators and commissioners, bringing the arts to life in homes, workplaces, libraries, public spaces, health and education settings. 

CPPI works closely with Back to Ours (BTO), providing strategic advice and delivering training and research. In November 2018 CPPI provided training for Back to Ours evaluators. In February 2019 the Institute made a successful bid to the BTO team to conduct research on the functioning of the commissioning hubs set up by Back to Ours, which involve members of the local community in 5 different geographical areas in Hull.

The Impact

The expected impacts of Back to Ours is to produce, commission and create new high quality, participatory cultural activities in Hull, which will reach individuals and social groups who normally don’t attend arts activities. Back to Ours could make a key contribution to continuing to sustain cultural participation and engagement in the city, challenge negative internal and external perceptions, and offer cultural opportunities to some of the more vulnerable and socially excluded social groups. The issues of cultural rights, equity and social inclusion remain very important in Hull, as many communities in the city continue to suffer from problems of poverty, unemployment, low educational and skills profiles, and social isolation. The development of a continuing, strong programme like Back to Ours, focused on participation and co-creation will be crucial.

Start and expected completion date

January 2017 - January 2020



The project is funded by Arts Council England (ACE). The total funding provided by ACE is £2.4m.

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