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2nd November 2020

Holly Walton has recently joined the Hull Maritime project team and here's an insight to her first two weeks in her role and how she wants to maximise opportunities and work with as many people, businesses and communities as possible.

Hello! I’m Holly and I’ve recently joined the Hull Maritime team in the role of Community Engagement Officer.

I’m excited to be working on this project because the restoration of sites that are key to Hull’s maritime history is hugely important in telling the story of what made us. For me, though, this project is certainly not only about the past: it’s about where we came from, who we are now, and where we see ourselves as individuals and as a collective moving forward to.

The themes of this project are diverse: yes, it’s about fishing, industry and commerce, but it’s also about travel, home and belonging, it’s about technology, it’s about the environment, it’s about connection. It’s about food and music! At its heart, it’s about people: there’s no history, place or time without people. There are no stories without people to kindle them and tell them.

Holly Walton Visiting The North End Shipyard
Holly visiting the North End Shipyard for the first time

I’m really interested in working with all kinds of people across our city, because this project belongs to all of us in equal measure. Maybe you’re an ex-docker with a plethora of knowledge about Hull’s industry and geography.

Wonderful: I can’t wait to speak with you! Perhaps you’re interested but your time is limited and you’re looking for easy ways to get involved. That’s perfect – I hear you. Maybe you’ve never been to the Maritime Museum, you don’t intend to, and you’re pretty sure there’s nothing about this project that would interest you. Brilliant! Let’s have a cuppa, biscuits are on me. (Though if that were the case I’m not sure you’d be reading this blog post…)

A Different View Of The North End Shipyard
A different view of the historic shipyard

I’ve been a part of the team for a little over two weeks now and I was really pleased to be given a tour of the Maritime Museum and the North End Shipyard – not least because I am mostly working from home, which can be tricky even when you’re not brand new in a role!

The plans for the refurb of the museum are incredible and will really maximise the space. With spaces for learning, interactive displays and VR, accessible interpretation and of course, the all-important café (snacking is a big part of my life), it will be a truly 21st century museum fit for use by the people of Hull and our visitors.

The shipyard is an eerie relic of Hull’s industrial past (heightened by the fact that our visit took place just before Halloween – can you spot a ghostly hand waving up at us from the icy depths? (You may need to squint!)) which will soon to be brought back to life in spectacular style by the addition of the renovated Arctic Corsair in all her glory, accompanied by a fabulous visitor centre where you can rest your weary legs after taking a guided tour.

Ghostly Hand Waving At The North End Shipyard
A ghostly hand waving at the North End Shipyard

As I settle into my role, I am concentrating on looking at ways to maximise opportunities for people to get involved in, and wherever possible to design, project activities. This will include working with partner organisations, supporting creative and community responses to the project, and establishing a community panel where people can share ideas, opinions, knowledge and whatever else they’d like to get off their chests! I intend to approach this work by considering curiosity, conversation and imagination to be the most important tools in my arsenal and to get out and about as much as I can, even if that has to happen virtually for now.

If you have any burning thoughts on the above that I need to hear, or if you just want to say hello or engage me in some good old fashioned snack chat, drop me a line at holly.walton@hcandl.co.uk. I’d love to hear from you.