Skip to main content

Arts, Culture & Industry: Interconnected responsibility for a low carbon future

25th August 2021
12:00am - 12:00am
Hull Minster, Church Side, Hull, HU1 2JJ
Arts culture

Marketing Humber hosted its first in-person event for over 18 months as over 60 people attended 2021’s first Bondholder Breakfast.

Arts, Culture & Industry: Interconnected responsibility for a low carbon future took place on 25th August under the Gaia installation in Hull Minster, an artwork by Luke Jerram as part of Hull’s Freedom Festival.

The event brought together arts, culture and industry and explore our shared role in transitioning to a low carbon future, while Gaia offered a powerful new perspective on interconnection and why we have a joint responsibility in accelerating and delivering this transition.

Attendees heard from Professor Mark Jolly, Director of TransFIRe, who explored the role of heavy industry in the transition to net zero. Professor Jolly was joined by local business leaders who will explore the hopes for new visions and ambitions for the Humber's cultural sector.

The full programme of speakers included:

Professor Mark Jolly, Director of Manufacturing, Cranfield University & Director of TransFIRe Project

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive, Freedom Festival Arts Trust

Dr Anne Velenturf Senior Research Fellow, University of Leeds & Research Fellow at Cranfield University

Dominic Gibbons, Manging Director, Wykeland Group & Chair, Hull & East Yorkshire Cultural Compact

Bishop Frank White, Community Engagement, Hull Minster

Opening the event, Bishop Frank White said: “It's great that bondholders have been able to reconnect and put on a number of events which will move us forward to a contribution from the Humber to COP26.

“It's important we're able to work together for a common future, the partnerships with organisations across the Humber is very important to us.

“Our home - Earth - has become tragically deeply inhospitable to many people across the globe. It's crucial we limit or reverse this by building back greener and building back better. The Humber is pivotal to the new, green industrial revolution.”

Mikey Martins shared insights on the city’s annual Freedom Festival and its importance in propelling Hull’s arts and cultural scene, including why the decision was made to invite Gaia to the city. He said: "One thing that was important to us during 2020 was that we reached more people, those with mobility issues and those that otherwise that may not have come. It is important those lessons we learned from digital and broadcast - let see how we can carry them forward into a hybrid future."

"We elongated the festival this year so people could access it whatever they feel comfortable with. 5,000 people have visited Gaia already, and 3,000 have visited the exhibition in Ferens Art gallery."

"I can bring thousands of people to Gaia, but the key is what happens around it in terms of partnerships, what are you offering people, what are you showing them, what can they learn?

"2017 is a key example, now let’s look at climate change. We as the arts sector are here it help and reflect on society. We're not short of artistic interventions, but how can we take it further in partnership? This region is the place to do that - revolutions don't start in London, they should start in Hull."

Professor Mark Jolly discussed the work of TransFIRe in supporting the Foundation Industries' transformation into non-polluting, resource efficient modern competitive manufactories working in harmony with the communities in which they are situated.

He said: “TransFIRE is part of a very large programme by UKRI, essentially it's about transforming all our fundamental materials - cement, chemicals, ceramics, glass and paper. We have to find match funding from industry in terms of time and resources - a collaboration.

"The vision is to produce a proactive, multidisciplinary research and practice driven research and innovation hub, which optimises flows of resources within foundation industries.

"We're improving competitiveness, working with communities, and assisting the UK in achieving its net zero 2050."

"How do we get the industries to work together? We're not going to get them to use the same process - so we have developed key work streams: transferring best practice, creating new materials opportunities from waste, and working with communities to co-develop new business."

Dominic Gibbons explored the hopes for new visions and ambitions for the cultural sector and the goal for creating strong links to other sectors, in addition to positioning culture more prominently in local agendas, such as the transition to net zero: "Coming out of the last recession we decided to review what regeneration was all about. There was low market confidence and a lack of funding. We realised it would take time and patience and the investments we made would need to be long-term.

"In the last ten years we've supported numerous cultural organisations within the city. Culture can improve health and thus provide a more productive population, foster a creative mindset outside corporate constraints, and build local pride. Net zero in the Humber won't happen just within industry - it needs to attract and retain talent, and with a vibrant cultural offering we can do it."

Joining as part of a Q and A to finish the event, Dr Anne Velenturf said: “Culture and science have historically played a huge role in global change, now we have a huge challenge with increasing sustainability to meet, which we can tackle by working together. It's important we transition in a fair way, unfortunately in Yorkshire we have some of the country's most deprived areas. We're working on a strategy to fairly implement the circular economy."