Amrita Singh

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Today’s Changing Face of Hull is Amrita Singh here she speaks of her life in Hull and her childhood.

“I grew up in Hull, at one time it felt like we were the only Indian family in the City. There wasn’t a lot to do then – now things are much improved with plenty of opportunities for going out and having a nice time as a family.”
The Changing Face Of Hull Exhibition shows portraits of the people of Hull from diverse backgrounds and communities – ‘a must see exhibition’ Hull City of Culture at Hull Central Library on until 30th April.
Photograph and interview Quentin Budworth

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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 https://thechangingface.org/communities/the-new-kurdish-school/

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

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-changing-face-of-hull-preview-tickets-16160036103?aff=efbevent

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:

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-changing-face-of-hull-preview-tickets-16160036103?aff=efbevent

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…

Liz Dees

‘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:
www.hullcarnivalarts.org.uk
www.lizdees.co.uk
www.apusproductions.co.uk

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

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-changing-face-of-hull-preview-tickets-16160036103?aff=efbevent

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.

http://wilberforcemonumentfund.blogspot.co.uk

Introducing mentee and second photographer Rebecca Robyns

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Hello – I’m Rebecca Robyns,  I am a freelance Humanitarian Photographer based in Hull, and currently working with the Thai Children’s Trust in south East Asia. My passion in life is to tell stories and raise awareness on issues that are going on around us, to empower and inspire people, particularly women and children.
My images for the Thai Children’s Trust have helped raise funds towards their many projects which are ongoing.
 Whilst in the UK, I am delighted to be working on the “Changing face of Hull” with my colleague and mentor Quentin Budworth and exploring the changing cultural landscape of the city.
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Steve Elliott

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Hull is a good city to live and work in. People in the art scene are working hard to generate an improved perception of the city, its history and people.

I settled here five years ago after getting regular work with Creative Partnerships, a scheme which engaged artists to collaborate in schools to inspire teachers to be creative in their lessons.

The scheme has finished now but my freelance work is the same. I still try to create opportunities for learning and the development of creative skills.

I make processional sculpture, Little Giants, mostly to make people smile.

In 2014 I have collaborated with Dom Heffer, Amanda Lowe, Carol Walker, Anita Anita, Creative & Cultural Company, Judy’s Attic and Kingston Artgroup.

Steve is pictured here working on a giant Jack Frost  a joint commission with Amanda Lowe and the Creative and Cultural Company – you can see the finished processional sculpture at Princes Quay until the end of January 2015.

http://www.stevelliott.co.uk

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

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-changing-face-of-hull-preview-tickets-16160036103?aff=efbevent

Photo © Quentin Budworth