Hull to be 2017 UK City of Culture

The city where poet Philip Larkin worked as a university librarian—Hull—has been chosen as the UK City of Culture for 2017.

Hull beat Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay to be declared the winner by culture secretary Maria Miller.

She said: “This is brilliant news for Hull and everyone involved in the bid there. This year’s UK City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry, demonstrates the huge benefits that the title brings. These include encouraging economic growth, inspiring social change and bringing communities together. It can produce a wonderful mix of inward investment, and civic pride and I hope Hull’s plans will make the most of all that being UK City of Culture can bring.”

Hull’s bid video featured the poetry of Larkin, and the city’s proposed programme has been inspired by his poem Days, with the ambition being that there will be a cultural event every day of the year.

Among the events being planned is an aerial spectacular themed to honour a line from one of Larkin’s poems, An Arundel Tomb: “What will survive of us is love.” Hull City Council said the event would “incorporate ground-breaking design, breath-taking aerial choreography, an evocative live music score and jaw-dropping fireworks to tell the world Hull's story”.

Television writer Phil Redmond chaired the independent expert advisory panel which helped choose the UK City of Culture. He said: “There was real understanding and appetite from all four shortlisted cities, for the sort of transformational change that a year of culture can bring.

“But ultimately it was the unanimous verdict of the panel that Hull put forward the most compelling case based on its theme as ‘a city coming out of the shadows’. This is at the heart of their project and reminds both its people and the wider world of both its cultural past and future potential.”

For every £1 invested, the UK City of Culture is expected to generate £5.