Evaluating Hull’s Cultural-led Transformation

Author(s) S. Merali-Younger

Over the last 18 months Regeneris has been working closely with the University of Hull and Hull 2017 Ltd to evaluate the wide-ranging outcomes of Hull City’s celebrated year as the UK City of Culture.

Last week saw the evaluation work undertaken culminate in a major two-day conference where colleagues Margaret Collins and Stuart Merali-Younger shared their outcome findings with local and national stakeholders.  The event also saw the launch of the preliminary impacts report and summary report.

Although at an early stage to fully evaluate the long-term impacts of the programme on the economy and community of Hull, the report confirms that the initial signs are positive, including:

  • Signs of a significant uplift in visitor numbers in 2017 (an estimated 400,000 – 700,000 additional visitors to Hull in 2017 creating an extra £11-19 million of economic value), as well as new investment in hotels, bars, restaurants and visitor attractions that could help sustain an uplift in future years
  • Indications that the programme has helped raise skills and ambitions in the local cultural sector and developed new audiences (14% increase in ticketing revenues since 2015) and funder revenue streams (more than 300% increase in Arts Council annual grants for the arts funding since 2012) to support this sector to grow
  • Major public and private investment into the city (£3.4bn announced since Hull won the title), with a significant proportion linked to the city of culture programme, which can help the city’s economy continue to develop
  • Raised pride, confidence and ambition among city residents (including 75% residents now proud to live in Hull, up from 70% in 2016) which could contribute to individual outcomes around skills development and accessing work in the coming years

Work continues to understand the impact and lessons learnt from Hull’s City of Culture experience.  Building on our work, the university will continue to undertake further analysis of the wide range of data collected during 2017, as well as speaking to a large number of stakeholders over the coming year. A final evaluation report for Hull UK City of Culture is expected in Spring 2019.

For more information on Regeneris’ work on assessing the economic and social impacts on cities, capitals of culture and culture led regeneration schemes, please contact Stuart Merali-Younger or Margaret Collins.