As a young person growing up in Hull, Freedom Festival has always been a big part of my life. The first time I went, I fell in love with the atmosphere of Hull and for the first time I felt truly connected to the city.
Every year I have looked forward to Freedom Festival and seeing the variety of arts displayed, enjoying every unique aspect and participating in things I may not have been able to see outside the festival. As soon as I saw I could be a part of this festival I was eager to join and share my passion for the event. A key aspect for myself is that the festival encourages people to take part, to become involved in the culture of Hull and this is something I believe to be important, which is why I chose to be a part of the project.
By Miriam Thomson
When discussing Hull in most conversations, the topic of Hull’s maritime history will probably become a subject area. Hull has always been proud its nautical culture and this is something that Associated British Ports (ABP) understands and strives to spread across the local area.
As the UK’s biggest port operator, responsible for 21 ports across the UK, ABP has a global footprint that is firmly rooted in the communities in which they reside. A huge employer in the city and long term sponsor of not only Freedom Festival but several other festivals, they are custodians of the past who are also looking to the future, who recognise the transformative power of arts and culture. Talking to Rachel Addison, Head of Communications at ABP, she spoke of Hull with such passion and enthusiasm for the city and its communities, it became very apparent that supporting their local community and supporting Freedom Festival is an essential part of their business.
Rachel spoke of culture spreading a “positive attitude” within Hull stating that “we should be proud of ourselves for going through tough times and coming out no longer having to hide”. For Rachel culture is to be celebrated by all, no matter what age and through Freedom Festival they can support and encourage engagement in arts and culture. It’s clear that Rachel and ABP recognise the role that arts and culture can play in transforming people and places, commenting that the growing cultural programme has mean that “People from all walks of life, no matter their age, are not embarrassed to be seen engaging with culture.” Rachel, herself a local resident, has recognised the ongoing improvements Hull has invested in over the last few years. She says events like Freedom Festival are about “opening a door and allowing people to say this is Hull and this is what we’re about, so why don’t you come and join the fun?”
Rachel remarks that the key to Freedom Festival is the spontaneity that as you turn every corner you stumble across a completely different event and the smaller quirks of Hull which she described as “the little pockets of brilliance which have galvanised the culture.” When asked to consider the impact of this period on future generations, Rachel hopes that they will look back at this period in Hull’s history and be proud of the result of this culture influx. She says “I hope they will wander down Humber Street and think this place may be a little city, but this place is awesome.”
By Miriam Thomson
Peace. Equality. Rights. Maybe for you it’s liberation, truth or justice. For me it is everything. Freedom is essentially perspective, a subjective beauty. Freedom is you, freedom is me, freedom is everything. Freedom is taking that step out your door. Freedom is a challenge but one worth the fight. But most importantly freedom is the people who support it. We are freedom.