'Champion of Culture' awarded for work in city

Hull University Professor Graham Chesters has been granted the Lord Mayor and Admiral of the Humber Award (Honorary Burgess) by Hull City Council.

Professor Chesters was presented with an official scroll by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Steve Wilson, for his promotion of education and culture in Hull.

Honours are presented as a token of recognition for citizens and the decision to award the status was taken by the Civic Committee on 30 April.

Graham moved to Hull in 1972 when he joined Hull University’s Faculty of Education. He then went onto the role of University Advisor on Educational Partnerships until September 2007 when he retired.

Graham's engagement with education extended far beyond the University itself.  He was also Chairman of the Governors of Hull College, and a prominent figure in the Higher Education equivalent of OFSTED.

Amongst educational achievements, Graham’s understanding of the power and importance of arts and culture as an enabler of change for people and place has led him to commit a significant part of his life, voluntarily, to championing culture. 

He has, and continues to, lead and influence many of the region’s most successful cultural and visitor destination experiences which include the Chair of Freedom Festival Arts and Trust and member of the successful City of Culture 2017 bid team, amongst many others. 

Leader of Hull City Council Councillor Stephen Brady said: “Graham is something of an unsung hero in his advocacy for our great city of Hull.  

“He has had a hugely beneficial impact on academia, culture and tourism through his leadership and championing of all that Hull has to offer to its communities and the wider world and I am delighted that he is being granted the Honorary Burgess award.”

Jenny Howard-Coombes, Executive Director of Freedom Festival Arts Trust and Joint CEO said: "This recognition couldn't be more well deserved. Graham may not be a household name but he is Hull's true champion of culture. 

"A recognition of the power of arts and culture as an enabler of change has led Graham to commit much of his life, voluntarily, to increasing access to the arts in a city where, pre-City of Culture, engagement was extremely low, and has helped foster new ways of working for the cultural sector, leading innovative cross-sector partnerships between arts, industry, academia and public sector. 

"Graham has changed the way people experience, engage and connect with culture and place, contributing significantly to the cultural renaissance of Hull and establishing the city as a true, world-class visitor destination."

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