Cultural guru Martin Green CBE delivered an inspirational and thought-provoking talk to business owners, managers and tourism specialists at a lively breakfast meeting in Lincoln.
Martin, who is well-known for his work as former Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Director and his earlier role of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ Head of Ceremonies, fired-up his audience at the White Hart Hotel with a wealth of creative ideas.
Now, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Chief Creative Officer, he used his exciting experiences at Hull (and elsewhere), to highlight the true power of culture and the arts in helping cities to create strong identities for themselves and drive their future success.
“Cities are my passion, along with the people in them and the stories they tell,” he said.
Referring to the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 project – which has left a lasting legacy – Martin said it took off from an ambitious starting point.
Rather taking the stance of people asking “Where Are You?”, he said the project adopted a positive starting point by posing the question: “We’re Here – Where Have You Been?!”
Martin reminded his audience of the numerous innovative projects and colourful events used to ensure Hull’s year of culture will be remembered for many years to come – including the day thousands of people gathered at dawn to strip off, be painted blue and photographed for the quirky Sea of Hull installation.
“Culture is really about the combined sum of everyone’s total creativity. It can help bring people with differing views together on common ground,” he said.
Whilst it is important to bring in “experts from away” to help a destination to realise bright ideas and bring events to fruition, Martin said it is always important that they work with people already on the ground.
Getting young people on board can help when there is a need to balance a city’s historic nature with its drive to become more modern.
Whilst not every destination will have or need a multi-million pound budget to work with when it comes to fulfilling its cultural ambitions, Martin suggested taking a creative approach to finding partners who might be able to fund individual projects.
“Cultural and arts projects are good for people’s health and wellbeing and also help the local economy,” said Martin.
“We got lots of good impact figures from events staged during Hull City of Culture 2017. For instance, for every event we staged, the city did another three,” added Martin.
He said the highly successful year has left a lasting legacy. Volunteers are continuing to be involved, people have more pride in their city and today there is a much wider awareness of Hull.
The breakfast meeting was staged by Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln. Martin’s talk was warmly applauded and it encouraged a wealth of questions from his audience.
Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Sarah Loftus said: “It was a really lively breakfast meeting which really got everyone thinking about how we could use cultural and arts projects in creative ways in the future to make Lincoln even more successful and better known.”