Ron Dearing students take on reporting and artistic roles at Freedom Festival

Year 13 Ron Dearing UTC students became reporters during Hull’s Freedom Festival, giving them behind-the-scenes access to capture the magic and excitement of the popular event.

The festival is the highlight of the city’s annual artistic and cultural programme and this year saw it span 17 days to allow as many people as possible to access the event safely.

Due to Covid-19 guidelines, events were held in theatres, museums, galleries, empty shops and some public spaces in Hull city centre.

This is the second time Ron Dearing UTC students have been involved in the festival through a partnership between the employer-led school and the festival organisers, Freedom Festival Arts Trust.

Students Sanzi Vetis, Francis Johnson and Kelsey Hearne completed interviews, took photographs and recorded their thoughts for their coursework as part of their reporting roles.

Sanzi Vetis takes a picture of Gaia.


Sanzi, 17, viewed Luke Jerram’s Gaia exhibition in Hull Minster and attended a concert set against the huge world backdrop in the historic building.

She said: “I really enjoyed the experience because it was so atmospheric and magical. The music was beautiful and very moving. I took a lot of notes and pictures and I’m going to try and articulate my thoughts and feelings in an article. I loved the opportunity and I’m so glad I took it.”

Kelsey, 17, attended Marco Barotti’s Woodpecker installation in Humber Street and interviewed him about how it worked through electromagnetic radiation and smart technology, as well as how he thought the audience would react.

She said: “It was really interesting to talk to him and a very unique opportunity. I’m grateful Ron Dearing UTC has enabled this to happen for us.”

Francis, 17, attended Mark Copeland’s 21 Remarkable People tour at Hull’s Maritime Museum, which included portraits, photographs and heirlooms, and carried out an interview with the artist about his inspiration for the show.

He said: “It was really interesting and a new experience for me. I wouldn’t normally put myself out there but I enjoyed being a reporter. Freedom Festival puts Hull on the map in a really positive way.”

Artwork created by Year 13 students Evie Hadfield and Amber Van Raamsdonk was also displayed in the event main ticketing and information shop in Whitefriargate during the festival, while additional student artwork was displayed at Ron Dearing UTC.

Francis Johnson and Sanzi Vetis benefitted from the experience of reporting on Hull’s Freedom Festival.


Jayne Gross, Head of Communications at Freedom Festival, said: “We let the students decide what performances or themes of the festival they would like to report on and created an individual programme for each student, which included going behind the scenes and speaking to the artists, as well as reporting on performances.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to allow them to focus on areas they were most interested in and to be creative in their approach.

“I had three sessions with the students before the festival and was really impressed with how their ideas developed each time I spoke to them and the level of creativity on display. It was also a pleasure to bump into them during the festival and see their enthusiasm in action.

“Freedom Festival is very proud to be involved in the young reporters initiative and we look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with Ron Dearing UTC, its students and staff in the future.”

Lynn Garland-Collins, Senior Assistant Principal and Creative Director at Ron Dearing UTC, said: “The students’ dedication to the young reporter initiative was brilliant.

“This experience gave them a brilliant insight into how an event of this scale is run and the different roles people have. I’m really proud of the students for always stepping up and embracing the opportunities offered to them.”