Art in fin-de-siècle Hull: a study of artist-run initiatives in a marginal city

Wilczek, Emily (2014) Art in fin-de-siècle Hull: a study of artist-run initiatives in a marginal city. In: Live Art Space Event, 1st November 2014, Live Art Space, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull HU1 3RA.

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We need not, should not, accept the version of history that positions Hull as a “crap town”. This paper addresses the popular misconception encouraged by the national media that Hull is in some way lacking. With particular reference to artist-run organisations, attention is paid to why a marginal city such as Hull would see the flourishing of such organisations in the late C20th. The context within which three such organisations have been established since the 1980s is presented, specifically: the failure to fulfil earlier calls for a public Arts Centre (1946, 1965, late-1990s); the strong link between promoters, venues and artists in the spheres of art, music, performance and literature; and the existence of an art school in the city that championed a free thinking, experimental approach, bringing diverse students into the city who often stayed on after graduation. The three organisations considered are: Hull Time Based Arts (HTBA), Kingston Rowing Club (aka The Boathouse), and the New Hull School of Art. According to Roddy Hunter, artist, lecturer and former member of Hull Time Based Arts, if a city is to have an alternative arts practice, “artist-run initiatives and projects are not only an essential means of safeguarding – and by implication re-assessing – alternative arts practice; they actually present the sole means of doing so.”(1) With Hull set to be City of Culture in 2017, its recent history of artistic practice must not be overlooked.

1. Hunter, R (1997) “The Nomad Domain” in Phillips, A (ed.) (1997) Out of Time: Hull Time Based Arts 1984-1998 Hull: Hull Time Based Arts, p00:38

Keywords:Hull Time Based Arts, Kingston Rowing Club, New Hull School of Art, City of Culture
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V350 History of Art
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
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ID Code:16072
Deposited On:28 Nov 2014 09:43

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