Alan Azad Ahmad – The New Kurdish School Hull

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I was born in Kurdistan in Sulaymaniyah and when I came to England I spoke no English it took me a few months to learn English at School – we left Kurdistan because my dad wanted us to have a safe and better life he really valued education and that’s why we came to England.
What I like about Hull is that it is a very simple life – I’m hoping the city becomes more multicultural  and that people come to understand each other better.  I came with my dad and my brother to England 15 years ago – I went to Henry Cooper School I made many friends there and that is what keeps me here.
I am very excited about the City of Culture and hope it will make Hull more like Manchester, Liverpool or Sheffield.
It is my dream to have a very successful business but it’s a hard to place to grow a business but I’m still hoping to try again in the future.
Dilzar is a good friend of mine and a great musician and he said to me why don’t we start a Kurdish School for the community. We tried to consult the community but it was hard to please everyone because of political differences. So we decided to ask The Warren if they would host the school – and they said they would give us one day a week and now we have 65 children registered with us.
We want to teach the children the good things about our culture and knowledge of their roots. Our aim is to educate the children and to share our culture with other communities – we stick to geography, music and language and we steer clear of politics and religion our aim is to promote a positive image of Kurdistan for our children and the greater of community of Hull.

I am happily married and have two sons who I am very proud of.

To read more about and see photos from The New Kurdish School visit

The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photo © Quentin Budworth


Bashir Siraj – Open Doors Project

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I  work for Open Doors Project, set up by Princes Avenue Methodist Church in the year 2000. We  welcome  and support asylum seekers, refugees to help them exploring and enabling them to play a full positive role in our society.

My role is to make sure the activities of the Open Doors run smoothing, coordinate with our diverse team of volunteers, the members of Open Doors Management Committee, working partners, supporters and make sure the needs of our clients are met as much as possible.

The things I like about living in Hull are the people, the geography of the area, the city centre, museums and the central library.

The challenges facing people from different cultures in Hull are around confidence building, making progress in their careers, social integration  and sometimes in certain area of hull, racism or less acceptance.

Over the years people are becoming more welcoming to new arrival from all over the world , becoming multicultural society.

By having my portrait taken I am showing my solidarity, presence, belonging  and support to the various development initiatives taking place in our city.

I would like to see greater social cohesion, people working together, more jobs and a diverse  approach  and policy in the organisations and agencies of our city and a clean, safe and environmentally  friendly place to live.

The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

To see more images from the Open Doors Project residency follow this link to visit the Open Doors Project website follow this link

Photos © Quentin Budworth

::Si2:: – Hull Graffiti

Hull Graffiti artist ::Si2:: talks about his life and work in his own words…


Hull born, East Park raised I had drawn since I could hold a pencil and became a teen as the American Hip hop culture came to the Uk  and gripped. I was crap at breakdancing,was no rapper or DJ so graffiti art was the obvious way to be part of the raw, growing street culture.

Along with a small crew of friends and stolen car paint we were first to aerosol graffiti as an art in the city back in 1985/6.Spray paint is a very hard medium to use and my friends lost interest, looking back I’m amazed I had the patience to stick with it myself at that age, I carried on myself for a couple of years and then was lucky enough to become friends with an established graffiti writer D’lite from London crew ‘Essex Rockerz Foundation’ who opened my eyes to the bigger picture of Graffiti in the UK and inspired me to stick with it and make contacts around the country and to this day I’m still a member of legendary northern crew ‘Third Teem Kingz’ ( TTK ) based in Newcastle.

I’d like to think I went onto inspire some of the next generation of artists from Hull who in turn have done the same.Graffiti has always suffered from bad press and I have tried to portray it to people outside the culture, especially in Hull, as something positive.Personally  it has never been about causing damage but making our enviroment more interesting and colourful and after years of practice I hope my works at a quality that nobody can deny it’s artistic merit.I paint for fun and as a profession worked on too many commissions,events,workshops to name and prefer to let my work speak for me and I hope to play a part in the City of culture representing my artform that is now a rich,vibrant  global movement that deserves celebration ! The photo taken here is done for my friend at ‘Robbies Rehersals’ on Hedon road


The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photos © Quentin Budworth

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Anna Bean – Photographic Artist

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I have always loved being creative. I am most happy when I am engaged in making things; this for me is a truly positive activity. I work as a freelance photographic artist and I also work as a lecturer in Photography, Art and Design at the Hull College School of Creative Arts, Park Street.

I create surreal constructed photographic images inspired by old masters, cult films, fairy stories and TV from my childhood. I collaborate with friends and family who star in my photographs as fantastical and sometimes grotesque characters. I also create digital montages re-imagined from vintage photographs.

I have for years admired and been inspired by the creative practitioners within Hull. I am thrilled with the current momentum and amount of cultural activity taking place within the city in the build up to 2017. I love that creative minds are moving into the city rather than moving away. I am excited that motivated young people are beginning to choose to stay here rather than move away because of potential opportunities available within the cultural sphere.

A light is being shone onto to the idea that cultural activity in all its forms can offer an escape from, or alternative to, the routine of everyday existence. Art and Culture has the power to transform. Confidence and a belief in yourself and others have the power to transform. Things are changing and I think the change is good.

Anna Bean

The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photo © Quentin Budworth

I have been a big fan of Anna’s work for many years and I am delighted that she has allowed me to feature one of her photographic art pieces on the Changing Face website Mid Summer Dream.

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Dave Windass – Writer

I met with Dave in the main auditorium of Hull Truck. Here he speaks in his own words about life in Hull…Dave Windass

I was born in Hull. There are three council houses next to Albert Ave swimming baths. I came bawling into the world in the middle one, number 90. Growing up involved a lot of time in the outdoor pool next-door-but-one and swimming lessons with Jack Hale, the Olympic swimmer who revolutionised the butterfly stroke.

Our house was a creative one. My dad was a signwriter, responsible for all those fluorescent posters that used to fill the windows of Jacksons supermarkets. When he wasn’t working he was painting. He painted our bedroom walls with caricatures; our favourite cartoon characters, sporting heroes, whatever we wanted. The house was full of books. My sister was always wearing holes in the carpets with her dancing.

I write for a living now but I went the long way round to get here. I worked for ten years in the construction industry and filling notebooks with words, writing short stories, sketches and plays wasn’t anything that I could tell the lads at work about. The full story is too tedious to share but I ended up working as an arts journalist for all kinds of publications, including The Stage, Big Issue in the North and Emap. Then I started discovering outlets for my creative work and got more involved than is healthy in writing for the theatre. I’ve done some stuff with Hull Truck, including Sully back in 2006.

Hull is an exciting place to be able to do this. We’ve got a blank canvas, in essence, and there’s a chance that we could invent the future of theatre right here in this city. For me, that would be theatre a million miles away from the stuffy confines of traditional spaces, diverse work that appeals to people that might not, otherwise, go anywhere near theatre.

 The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photo © Quentin Budworth

Martin Green – Chief Executive Hull UK City of Culture 2017

It seems like an age since I stood in the biting late January wind with Martin Green, on the Scale Lane Bridge also known as The Millennium Bridge in Hull – I  recall we spoke of the bridge as Martin’s favourite place in Hull as it allows you to see so many different aspects of Hull from one vantage point, Here he talks about life in the City in his own words.

‘I am a new arrival to Hull, exploring it simultaneously as a place to live and work.  There is no doubt that Hull is driving itself into the perfect storm.  Our cultural scene is growing, new Businesses both large and small are opening here and the Northern voice grows ever louder.  We are no longer at the end of the road, but the beginning of it. As a new resident one notices that Hull is a city of bridges – literal and metaphorical.  Scale Lane Bridge is one of my favourites.  As you look out from it in every direction you are unmistakably in Hull.  It’s a modern, challenging piece of architecture that speaks of the future but references the past, which I see as the core goal for everything we will do together as UK City of Culture 2017’.

Martin Green Hull City Of Cuture

 The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photo © Quentin Budworth

Rick Welton

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I grew up in Hull. My dad was a fruit importer with a warehouse in Humber Street where I spent many Saturday mornings and holidays barrowing boxes of apples and oranges about. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the arts scene since I came back here after university as administrator of Hull Arts Centre in 1969. The first play when the arts centre opened in a converted church hall in Spring Street was Alan Plater’s ‘Don’t Build a Bridge, Drain the River’ with music by The Watersons and Michael Chapman. Hull actor Barrie Rutter was in the company then so it was great to meet him again last week in the foyer of Hull Truck after his performance of King Lear. The changes that are coming to the Fruit Market and to the city are momentous and so exciting. I love the new can-do spirit that’s around. It’s the spirit that made Amy Johnson, Hull’s aviator heroine, such an amazing pioneering woman. Hull’s taking flight and flying high just as she did!

 The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photo © Quentin Budworth

Liz Dees – Artist / Designer / Maker

Artist, designer and maker Liz Dees here she talks eloquently and intelligently about the changes happening in Hull…

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‘One of my theories is that the recent renaissance that Hull is experiencing is a direct bi-product of the global economic downturn. I believe that when the economic downturn hit in late 2007, graduates from within the city stopped returning to their home towns etc. young professionals stopped searching elsewhere for job promotion or better prospects. I believe these individuals decided to stay in Hull, because there were poor opportunities elsewhere, and staying here in Hull was cheap and a relatively safe bet for the short term. A decision made to stay maybe, until an up turn in the economy arrived, and to make the best of what Hull had to offer.

Due to low living costs Hull became a good place to begin establishing creative enterprises and benefited from the region being designated an area of cultural deprivation and a target for regeneration and investment. Thus hence, due to a greater graduate retention and the formation of many new young creative and cultural enterprises, Hull began to experience an upturn in quality cultural activity and ambition.

Ultimately left without an annual exodus of newly educated and trained young creative professionals Hull has begun to grow and develop an increasing exciting cultural scene. Longer established creative practitioners in the city responded well to the stimulus, being given new and renewed vigour to believe that greater things were possible.

The moment that the winning of city of culture was announced, that early morning televised announcement, I found myself almost overcome with emotion, ‘My goodness this is amazing’ I thought ‘ This is a real game changer’, ‘ This is an opportunity to make a difference to Hull and never turn back’.

So here we are 18 months on, and two years away from celebrating our own cultural rebirth, the future is exciting and increasingly positive. We all now have the power and potential influence to make beautiful progress with all our dreams and desires for our own cultural and creative practices, as well as our belief in the potential for Hull’s future. So there’s my theory.’

You can find out more about Liz Dees and her work here:

 The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:

Photo © Quentin Budworth

Gifty Burrows

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My name is Gifty Burrows I am the founder of The William Wilberforce Monument Fund a campaign that aims to restore the lighting for the Wilberforce monument in readiness for 2017. It also aims to improve the cultural and historical awareness of Wilberforce and the abolitionist legacy in the context of past and modern day slavery. We hope to involve most people in Hull in doing this in celebration of the city’s pride in having such a globally significant son as its own!

My feeling is that both historic and contemporary slavery have similarities in that both are giant elephants in the room, not mentioned in ‘polite society’. We are uncomfortable about acknowledging the cruelties of the past, guarding against blame and we don’t want to admit to the economic benefits in case there’s a call to give something back. However looking back has its own rewards in that it allows a clearer understanding about some of the long held views that shape our thinking within and across communities. Racism isn’t all about slavery, but it has a strong hand to play in it with ideas reinforced through the generations. It means that many continue to judge the calibre of a person on race and colour. There was no miracle even in Wilberforce’s time that said all men were equal, but it became obvious to the majority that humans were not commodities without feelings. This is the same value that should still apply today.

I see Wilberforce as a symbol on a path where he can both see the world he sought to improve through the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and yet he can see the crucial need to highlight the curse of modern slavery. He is a symbolic reminder that tells us what should already be held as true; no human life is subordinate to another such that someone can be exploited by another for their own gain.

Lighting the monument acknowledges past efforts but it reminds us that the cost to those before us was that requirement to step out of our comfort zone to do something different to the betterment of others. We can all be abolitionists in every small way, we live in a different age where we have more choice as citizens to petition, be responsible consumers and be vigilant in addressing the issue of modern slavery. Light the monument, light the message.