Value: £80k worth of investment so far

Local labour: 100%

The Brief:

The Vigil was created by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from the Paris-based WLDN project. It has been running in Paris, Germany, and the Netherlands continuously over the past eight years.

For its 10th Year, Freedom Festival – an organisation known for creating the unexpected – commissioned The Vigil to come to Hull; making Hull the first UK city to host the timely, thought-provoking, and large-scale monumental work.

Once given the green light for the 365-day performance, the Freedom Festival Arts Trust called out for a collective of local businesses to bring this arts project to life, with the aim to create something which connects with and is delivered by the community.

A unique structure designed by Benjamin Tovo, this ambitious project is presented as part of the Global Streets and the Creative Europe In Situ programmes and funded by Arts Council England.

The Solution:

The solution was simple – to collaborate with local businesses to each play a key part in bringing the international performance to the city at a time when the people of Hull needed it most.

As Hull City Council’s key partner, Esteem delivers infrastructure solutions for the city, The Hull Vigil being an extremely unique one to add to our portfolio. It was up to us to reach out to local Hull firms and our friends to get The Vigil off the ground, to the top of Hull College.

Facing East and West, overlooking Queen’s Gardens and the William Wilberforce statue at one side, the River Humber, the docks, and East Hull on the other, Hull College was the perfect location for 730 people to keep watch over Hull every day for a year, at sunrise and sunset.

 The Challenges:

• Coordinating 22 local businesses to make it happen,

• Working eight floors up on the top of Hull College in all weather conditions,

• Delays to build and volunteer recruitment due to the country’s third national lockdown at the time of construction,

• Ensuring it is built efficiently to maintain its structural integrity for a 12-month period,

• Deck-ramp instalment at height and in confined space,

• Logistically challenging to install the unit on the roof top – a crane lift was required, and it was an extremely complex process to not only get it up there with a busy college / public environment below, but also to lower it into an extremely tight space,

• Managing students and the public throughout the day,

• Transporting the shelter from its warehouse into the City and down cobbled streets to Hull College.

The Delivery:

The Results:

The construction of a bespoke glass, steel-framed, wood clad structure at 6m x 1.5m and 2.5m high, and the successful instalment of the shelter eight storeys up to the very top of Hull College – all completed with ultimate planning and precision during a pandemic.

Hull Esteem’s key partners in the project include;

Hobson & Porter Ltd -roof enabling works, concrete plinths and construction of the timber ramp and landings,
GW Power – installation of feature lighting,
Geo. Houlton & Sons Ltd – off-site fabrication of the shelter and eco-skeletal framework,
Spencer Group – Health & Safety,
Sewell Construction – transportation and logistical elements, specifically the crane lift.

Because of these key partners and sponsors brought together by Esteem, a unique project has been brought to life through their generous donations of time, expertise and resources, equivalent to a total investment of around £80,000 so far.

The following local businesses donated their time and materials to make this happen;

Brandon Hire – Security fencing
Briggs Amasco – Roof waterproofing
Builders Merchants – Plywood supplier
Central Crane Hire – Crane Lift & transportation
Dappat – Steelwork
Eddie Beadle – Steelwork and drilling
Elevation – Scaffolding
Freeths – Legal
GGP – Structural Engineers
Giant Joinery – Ramp joinery work
H&D Decorators – Decorative supplies
Kwiktuf – Glazing
MKM – Timber supplies
Morgan Wolff – Building Control
NPS – Architect – Ramp Design
R&R Photography – Photography of the project from the outset
• Radius Associates – Principal Designer
S&D Flooring – Floor finishes
Shared Agenda Solutions – Project Management
Vic Coupland Ltd – Shelter Heating and ventilation
Vulcan Aluminium – Glazing/frames

The Hull Vigil has been built by Hull for the people of Hull, making a significant contribution to arts and the local community, especially considering the effects the pandemic has had on this industry.

The investment made by partners and sponsors doesn’t stop here; plans will soon be underway to decant the shelter from the top of the College, but where will The Hull Vigil go next?