‘Surprise package’ sets out to clinch 2017 bid

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ORGANISERS of Hull’s 2017 £11m City of Culture bid are confident their quirky edge will get them on the shortlist to be announced next month.

Those behind the bid – still fourth in the running at 6/1, according to bookmakers William Hill – are promising a 365-day programme, with themes “informed by the unique geography of the city and inspired by its distinctive character.”

It will involve local artists as well as those who have left the city and will involve collaborations with Yorkshire Sculpture Park and its twin city of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Bid adviser Andrew Dixon said Hull was the “surprise package”, but they “had to watch out for” rivals Leicester, Dundee and Plymouth: “We are not lining up Olympic divers or famous comedians or celebrities to champion the bid.

“The word that came up again and again was quirky, from its white telephone boxes to its ten-foots to some of the cultural organisations, like the Museum of Club Culture. It has a bit of humour, it’s offbeat, a city of surprises.”

The package – of 1,500 events, 25 festivals and 12 artists residencies – ranges from putting a graffiti artist on a wind farm, to partnerships with artists and producers across the north, including singer-songwriter Paul Heaton and Barrie Rutter, Hull-born founder of the Northern Broadsides.

One project aims to give everyone in the city the opportunity to display works of art in their own living room windows – using digitised images from the city’s Ferens Art Gallery. A programme “Looking Up” will shine a light – or compose music – for a different hidden architectural gem – like the blitzed ruins of the National Picture Theatre – every week of the year.

Playwright Rupert Creed said Hull had “always had it” – just like Liverpool, which was European Capital of Culture 2008: “When you meet local people, they are so quirky, creative, they have their own distinctive qualities. We have to make sure it has a platform and a wider audience.”