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:

 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.


Kate McDonald - Changing Face Of Hull

I moved to Hull in 1992 to study Psychology and apart from a couple of years living near Hornsea I’ve been here ever since. I love this city, its down to earthiness and friendliness and connectiveness. It’s a wonderful time to live here with the promise of the City of Culture to show the world what we’ve got to offer!
I’m sat in my shed in this photo because it was here back in 2011 that I was mulling over the impact of the recession on the city and the people. Having been made redundant myself some years before, I understood the effect this had on my sense of identity and on my confidence and wellbeing. I felt strongly in my gut that now was the time to develop timebanking, something which had been on my ‘to do’ list for some time in the context of my work in mental health (I had been a researcher and amongst other things led the development of PSYPHER, the early psychosis service). I realised that for the timebank to work, the whole community needed to be involved and that a mechanism was needed to facilitate questions about what people could offer rather than focus purely on what they need. It felt important to just do it right then and that like in the film ‘The Field of Dreams’, the people would come and the resources to make it happen would follow.
And that is what happened! We now have more than 400 members across the city including individuals, communities of interest (including PSYPHER) and organisations and businesses and the momentum is building. And this is the key thing – the timebank belongs to everybody. It is a mechanism which can help get things done. It unlocks the hidden assets within our communities which have always been there and it is beautiful!
The reason I have a heart in the photo is because for me timebanking is not just about ‘reweaving communities’, it is about love. Having the privilege to facilitate this and be a member myself takes it beyond work – its life! I’ve learnt so much too, that to break down barriers and stigma between groups happens when people come together with common values and that because everyone is equal, it enables people to connect who would never do so in normal circumstances. I call this a quiet revolution, a movement which enables us to exchange without money and value each other perhaps recognising that we are not so different after all. For people who have been ‘recipients of services’ the time bank enables them to be active citizens, being able to contribute as well as receive. I’ve met so many amazing people and it is wonderful observing friendships being made, interest groups being set up and exchanges happening.
And now it’s going to be even easier to get involved as last week we migrated to new software which means members can manage their own accounts (we even have a phone app freeing brokers up to spend more time supporting members who are less confident to get going. The range of things on offer is huge but the ones I have been most excited about recently include being able to get married for time credits. We even have a member with a vintage wedding car!
Timebanking is a way of connecting people and organisations to exchange skills and resources where time is the principal currency. In a sense it is like going back to the old days of bartering but the difference is no matter what is exchanged, for every hour you give, you get an hour back which you can ‘spend’ getting something you need. Everyone’s contribution is valued equally from rebuilding a wall, to having a massage to picking up some shopping for someone who can’t get out. To find out more about timebanking visit our website

 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