Today ( Wednesday 3 November) at sunset, The Hull Vigil reaches the half-way point. Starting on 3 May 2021 and finishing on 3 May 2022, every day at sunrise and sunset a vigil keeps watch over Hull from a bespoke structure located on top of the Hull College building.

So far 365 people will have taken part in the vigil, each having their picture taken following their vigil and setting out in writing their unique experience immediately they leave the shelter. All of these are featured as a blog on the Vigil website ( and will form the basis of a book and public exhibition to be held during Freedom Festival 2022.

Since 2013, The Vigil, created by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from Paris-based WLDN, has been running continuously in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. Hull is the first city to host The Vigil in the UK, and this is the 10th time The Vigil has been performed globally.

In these turbulent times the idea that while each vigil stands alone, together they are forming a human chain and an expression of global community, humanity and resilience is a powerful one. Wherever we are, we watch over and protect each other, our cities and our planet.

“What a great experience! It felt as if time stood still as I entered in glorious sunshine and departed as the night sky fell.”

Sophie Lee – September

“This year and last have really had a strange impact on everyone. I reflected on this and impact on Hull and the arts in general. I have missed the arts so much and I have missed Hull.”

Matt Barrass - July

“At first, I wasn’t so sure regarding taking part in this project but I love new experiences and am wanting to broaden my horizons all the time. The more I learnt about the project the more fond of it I became and now, having had the privilege to take part, I definitely have no regrets.”

Zamzam Ziaei - May

The Hull Vigil is a distinctively collaborative project between public funders and the corporate sector. Freedom Festival are grateful to everyone who helped fund this project including the Arts Council, national/international touring network Global Streets and international arts co-operation network, In Situ, Hull College and Hull Esteem who brought together corporate partners including Sewell Construction, Spencer Group, Hobson & Porter Ltd, GW Power, Houlton, Vic Coupland, Vulcan Aluminium and Dappat Engineering to manage the project’s build and installation

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said:

“What an extraordinary experience the Vigil has been and continues to be for everyone. Not just those that have taken part as a Vigil or Companion, but also everyone who has come to watch a Vigil at sunrise or sunset, or just glimpsed the shelter while looking up as they walk through the City.

We are proud to have produced this project in collaboration with our UK and international corporate and public funding partners. This project would simply have not happened without their input.

The 6 month mark of the project caused me to review the vigil’s words in light of the events of the last 18 months and what comes through is the hope and positivity for the future, not just for Hull, but also our wider region leading the way on renewable energies, across the nation and globally in this post pandemic world.

We can’t wait to see what the next 6 months holds for The Hull Vigil and all its participants and look forward to sharing these experiences with a wider audience through our commemorative book and exhibition which will form part of Freedom Festival 2022.”