Sunday, 15 January 2017

Why experiencing culture is always a priority.

There are many important things in my life. My family, my friends, my faith, my job... wine. But amongst these things there is another great passion which I always try my hardest to maintain and drive forward. My craving for culture. I get that this may sound snobby but, for me, culture feeds into every other part of my life. I mean of course it does. Everyone is surrounded by culture; their own and the culture of others around them. Recently someone asked me 'does Hull even have culture?' and rather then simply just rolling my eyes (because yes or course Hull has culture, and its a fascinating one) I explained how "everywhere has culture, you can't escape it, there is always something to widen your experience and diversify your mind". 

The dictionary defines culture in two ways; the first as 'the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively' and the second as 'the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.' Basically - wherever there are people, there is culture and there is culture in many forms. And everyone, therefore, experiences culture. 

The world is so full of culture in fact that some struggle to accept them all. The bigotry, hatred and division that the world sees so often comes down to a lack of acceptance towards a different form of culture to another. Race, gender, sexuality, language, size and class all contribute to culture, as they should, and often these things come through in the artistic displays you might associate with a cultural celebration. But culture takes so many forms and is where people find their identity.

Hull's 2017 City of Culture so far has been phenomenal. I have seen the city centre busier than ever before and everyone I know, plus some others I don't have their eyes on this city and are asking what's going on. But the best thing for me so far, has been the discussions fuelled by the events that have been organised so far. People are learning and thinking about Hull more than ever before. People who have been living in Hull longer than I've been alive are looking at their home from a whole new perspective. They are witnessing and experiencing the collective culture of so many people who are just like and also nothing like them. That is the power of experiencing culture, you place yourself in the place of another and see the world in a whole new way. That is why I will always consider culture a priority. Not just because it feeds into my own identity, but it teaches me about the identity and significance of others.

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