As a citizen, I celebrate our freedom. As a historian, I recognise the huge part Hull has played in the freedom of this country. As a writer, I celebrate these freedoms in my writing. As a human being, I love being a part of the Freedom Festival.
Why did I become a Community Correspondent? I write poetry, but I think my prose could do with some improvement, so I applied to join the pros. A new approach to writing, different from the introspective nature of poetry. I also wanted to be involved in something I feel passionate about, which is celebrating our freedom in a spirit of engagement, as part of a team. I feel proud to be a part of this group, and have enjoyed seeing the rest of the team develop its skills.
By David Ogersby
Hull’s geographical location has dictated its history, its present and its future. The river and estuary tied this city to the sea, and it has ever looked outward to the world. We are a trading city; a maritime city. But this has also turned us into a city of freedom. Searchers for freedom and emancipation have spread ever outwards from here. Adventurers, explorers and traders made this city what it is today.
But now, we trade in another commodity. Culture. Artists from dozens of countries are coming to Freedom Festival, to demonstrate their commitment to freedom through their art. Dancers, singers, poets, acrobats and performers are coming here to celebrate with us.
Hull is inextricably linked with William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery, and women such as Dr Mary Murdoch and Dr Louisa Martindale advanced the cause of suffrage, while it was a man from Hull, Sir John Hall, who passed the first legislation giving women the vote. If you explore the cream plaques being erected all over Hull, you will find inspiration in the stories of one hundred people who advanced the cause of freedom, from Captain Colbeck to Lilian Bilocca and the Headscarf Revolutionaries.
And now, Hull has the chance to further its reputation as a freedom-loving place by becoming known for its art and culture. At Freedom Festival, we will show everyone what Freedom means to us, and in 2017 the spotlight will fall on us once again, as we become the UK’s City of Culture.
So, let’s seize the day, and welcome all to our fantastic city and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Freedom. Let’s embrace it. Let’s have fun, and then, in a moment of contemplation, ask ourselves this question. What does Freedom mean to you?