Round and about in Hull
Despite an awkward arrival in Hull - getting tangled up in a complex system of roadworks and circling the city for hours - we were warmly welcomed into Queen Victoria square. The people of Hull were curious and excited to chat and, like almost everyone we’ve meet, had an enormous amount to teach us. On top of that, for whatever reason, the council and the police didn’t intervene much more than asking us to move after a few hours. We found this conviviality the whole time. At North Point shopping centre, the park where we camped, in the showers of our new friends, and in everyone who joined us for our Big Chat the day after. Hull, what a place to be!
It’s always a gamble hosting a public event. Will anyone come? Will they like our food? Our Wednesday night in Pearson Park chat was no different, but sure enough people from all around Hull began to arrive. The big chat was an amalgam of discussions across generations inspired by the question that Linda and George asked each group to consider: if you could change one thing about Hull, what would it be, and how? Clearly, the people of Hull shared concerns and hopes for the city, to name a few: More opportunities for young people, More awareness and funding for Mental Health, more funding to help the homeless. These discussions were not always easy, as people with different ideas and experiences came together, but they always resulted in new perspectives being brought to everyone involved.
During our event and our movements around the city,we were lucky enough to meet some of the city’s hard-working community groups.
Steve from the Beats Bus dropped in on us prepping dinner.
Adam Hawley, a local coop worker and flatpacker advised us all the way through.
Emma from Untold Stories - Voices taught us how much we have to learn from sex workers and other marginalised communities.
Kate McDonald from TimeBank Hull inspired us with stories of how we can form new types of exchange outside of the dominant economy.
And the GOSH group (Gardens and Open Spaces Hull) shared their vision for community management of public spaces in the city.
All of these together, and all of the contributions of the other attendees, built a picture of how we can carve out some autonomy and, dare I say it, freedom to do so much more together.
As Emma told us “what I’ve learnt from Hull since I’ve been here is that there’s a DIY spirit of survival and thriving and finding ways, which no one should be ashamed of, that’s what’s going to get the human race through the future”.