Sixteen Thousand Bricks: Hull UK City of Culture of 2017

Sixteen Thousand Bricks: Hull UK City of Culture of 2017
Over the last five months every child under the age of five has been given the opportunity to get involved in a huge project aimed at firing up their creativity by stamping their own style on a clay brick.

The bricks have now been fired in readiness for their installation near the C4DI building at Hull Marina. The project has been embraced by all 151 of the city’s nursery schools, early years settings and children’s centres and forms part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s commitment to ensuring every child in Hull has the opportunity to participate in creative activities and to build a cultural legacy for the city. The Sixteen Thousand bricks that have been making their way into the hands of some of the city’s youngest residents have been quarried locally and have been supplied by our Broomfleet factory. 
 
 

Ian McCann and Ian Martinson from Broomfleet have been hugely involved in making this project a reality. They have worked closely with Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s since March. 
  
Martin Green, Chief Executive and Director of Hull 2017, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for some of the youngest people in the city to get hands-on and create something spectacular. I am delighted that every nursery school in the city got involved in the project as I firmly believe that engaging in cultural activities from an early age can be the catalyst for a lifetime’s love of the arts.” The bricks have been transported to their new home in the Marina where they are on display in Block C from 2 October until 5 November.

The bricks are displayed in a unique style on specially built shelves that are fitted in the windows of the largely glass walled space, so they are visible from both the inside and out, and they are lit up so that they can be seen at night. Inside there is a walkway constructed from leftover bricks and a creative space where workshops are taking place every Saturday during the exhibition and every day during half term. The workshops allow people to get to grips with clay themselves, allowing them to unleash their creativity and use a material they may be unfamiliar with. 

Ian Martinson, Heritage Services & Factory 3 Team Leader at Wienerberger, said: “Clay is the oldest artistic material and has been used for centuries to create both practical and aesthetic pieces, from making containers to store and transport food in pre-historic times, to the decorative vases of the Ming Dynasty. Encouraging children to work with these materials in this way from an early age is excellent for their development and allows them the freedom to express themselves.”   

Thomas Freeth, Project Co-ordinator, Hull UK City of Culture 2017 commented: “I really appreciate how accommodating all of the team at Wienerberger have been in helping to make this project happen. The exhibition seems to be getting a good response and a colleague telling me that they had 600 visitors on Saturday.” 

The preview happened on the 6th of October. If you are around Hull, please stop and have a look, address details below is: 
  
Block C, 
C4DI, 
31-33 Queen Street, 
Hull, 
HU1 1UU 
  

What will happen to the 16000 bricks?

After the exhibition closes the bricks will return to Broomfleet and will eventually be used in the creation of a nature reserve.  
 
  • Each of the 150+ Primary Schools that participated in the project will be allocated a number of bricks as a memento to the work their students have done in the project.
     
  • Some bricks will also be set aside to use in the Hull 2017 Limitless Festival scheduled to be held later in the year.
     
  • Any remaining bricks will be available to the public for collection on Sunday 5 November from 1PM, however we cannot guarantee that children will be able to claim the brick they created.
     
  • Further collection dates will be made available from an alternative location and will be confirmed on social media w/c 23 October.
     
  • Any remaining bricks will be used in at Broomfleet. The site is currently a working quarry, which will be emptied within a year. Once emptied Wienerberger will work with RSPB to convert the quarry into a nature reserve.
     
  • It is estimated that the work will be begin to transform the quarry into a reserve in 2018. However the reserve may not be open to the public until the site is deemed safe to access and the RSPB have successfully introduced wildlife to the site which will take several years to complete.
     
  • Several former Wienerberger sites are already being used by Hull Angling Club due to the success of the RSPB and Wienerberger’s work in conservation.
     
  • The RSPB Humber Reserves Site Manager will provide advice on how to return the quarries back to the environment with an emphasis on landscaping which creates wetland for bird life and a diverse range of wildlife (transferring reed beds, tree planting, creating differing water depths). 

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