Baby steps for year-long City of Culture arts project

A special project designed to celebrate every baby born during Hull’s City of Culture year has kicked off today.

‘Born into a City of Culture’ is a project which involves taking a footprint of every baby born in the city during 2017 and using those prints to make an artwork. The project will last for 12 months, building up pictures of different trees through the seasons, with footprints forming the leaves and local midwives’ handprints acting as the supporting tree trunks.

The artwork is the brainchild of Sallie Ward, Community Midwifery Sister for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and will involve both hospital and community midwives and midwifery assistants for the duration of the year. She says:

“2017 is going to be a very special year for the city, so I thought it would be great to try and mark this in some way for every baby born here.

“Everyone who has a baby in Hull in 2017 will be invited to take part in this project, and that’s what I love about it; it’s so inclusive, even for people who wouldn’t ordinarily see culture or art as ‘their thing’.

“My midwifery colleagues have already begun taking the first footprint impressions today, and both they and the new parents have been really keen to be involved as this will create something lasting and uplifting for the city.

“In total, we expect somewhere in the region of 5,700 children to be born here in 2017. By taking part in the project, they will become part of something special straight away, and for their parents, it will be something for them to talk with their children about for many years to come.”

Janet Cairns, Head of Midwifery for the Trust says:

“Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the city’s biggest employers, so it’s great that our staff are getting actively involved in the City of Culture celebrations.

“Sallie’s idea for ‘Born into a City of Culture’ really captures the imagination and now that it has officially kicked off, we’re all looking forward to helping out, spreading the word, and watching the artwork grow as the months go by.”

‘Born into a City of Culture’ will be displayed in the main entrance to Hull and East Yorkshire Women and Children’s Hospital on the Hull Royal Infirmary site throughout 2017. Once the artwork has been displayed in the hospital for the year, the plan is to then move it elsewhere in the community so more people can see and enjoy it.

The ‘Born into a City of Culture’ project has been made possible through a grant from the City of Culture’s Creative Communities Programme.