The City of Culture volunteers are an emblem of 2017 and all that it has meant for the city.
They are one of the forces which have propelled the year to success. Always there, always smiling, ambassadors of Hull, rooting the year in the city that most of them call home.
At Nova we had the privilege of documenting the Big Picture project, which will give the 2017 volunteers a lasting memento, a photographic thank you for their hard work.
Award winning photographer Leo Francis was brought in by the 2017 team to carry out eight photo shoots. We joined him at four of them. Getting up at 4.30am and getting nithered for sunrise at the Humber Bridge and St Stephens shopping centre were just two of the occasions that we filmed at to document the project for KCOM Culture.
The 3-minute film can be seen at the Humber Street Gallery and on KCOM’s Facebook feed, where it has already had more than 45,000 hits.
It provided us with something beautiful to film, which is of course, wonderful. But more than that it enabled us to tap into one of the biggest stories of 2017… How, the shared experience of dosing up on culture, making friends and volunteering has changed lives.
Again and again we interviewed volunteers who told stories of transformation, and empowerment.
One woman described herself as a mouse turned lioness. Others were carers who felt that they had regained there sense of self. We met people with disabilities who felt they had been accepted for who they are. Lonely people, unemployed people, people looking for a leg-up in life. Everyone of them felt indebted to the scheme that had helped them to change their life.
Hull is indebted to the volunteers, because everywhere you go when you see people in turquoise jackets you know that something is happening (even in 2018!). You know that Hull is on the move.