Unlocking change

Back to Ours

Back to Ours

Back to Ours is a community-led creative arts organisation, producing outstanding arts and cultural experiences with and for the people of Hull.

I first discovered Back to Ours when my kids were little and I took them to a show. After that, I began planning our half terms around what they had on, it was affordable and in venues I knew that were close by. We got to see comedy, puppetry and even circus, so when I heard they were looking for people to become Hub Members to give feedback and tell them what we wanted to see and do, I jumped at the chance. I loved chatting about what I felt our area would enjoy and I got to meet new people from other areas. We've become like a family. As my confidence grew, they were advertising a job in their chat shop so I went for it and got it, and more recently I have taken on the role of community engagement assistant. It really has opened up a whole new world and now, as my boys are growing up, I have myself a career that is exciting and fulfilling. It's given me an amazing opportunity and I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Emma Sarjo - Back to Ours Team Member

Established in 2017 and building on the Hull City of Culture legacy, Back to Ours is rooted in community. They involve local people as audiences, participants, creators and commissioners, to bring people together where they live. Their programme is co-produced with four community programming Hubs of local people who work together to develop the creative programme, commission and promote events and activity.

This is a model which recognises the value and potential of a wide range of local assets available to people where they live, including libraries, pubs, residents’ associations, local charities, community groups and agencies.

Connection to Esmée's strategy

Long-term outcomes
  • Communities are strengthened and transformed through a collaborative approach to culture.
  • Local people and local artists are at the heart of change.
  • Community-led art is valued by funders and statutory agencies as a central element of community regeneration.
  • Local people exert more influence over the decisions that affect their lives and their communities.

It has been so exciting to follow Back to Ours’ journey over the past few years. Their approach strengthens local connections, enabling communities to draw on local assets and find local allies – as both partners for collaboration and as resources to support and sustain change. Unique to Hull, at the same time, this approach provides a wealth of ideas and inspiration that communities anywhere can learn from.

Gillian Goode, Funding Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Learn more