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Stunning CAIRNS sculptures arrive on University of Hull campus

Good morning, please find below details of CAIRNS, a stunning collection of sculptures which opens this week at the University as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

A couple of small images are below, and there is a link to high resolution photos in the release.

If you want to come down and see CAIRNS for yourself, please get in touch. There will be a launch reception this week but the sculptures will be in place for some months and I’m happy to arrange ad hoc requests.

Kind regards

Sian Alexander

University of Hull press office


Stunning sculpture trail celebrates 1,000 years of Hull-Iceland ties

A sculpture trail of life-sized metal figures will go on show at the University of Hull this month as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme.

CAIRNS, by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, will form a trail around the University, encouraging visitors to explore the campus.

The exhibition opens on 28 April, with the cast iron and steel sculptures – some up to 2.5 metres high –celebrating the ties between Hull and Iceland.

CAIRNS is the latest in a packed programme of the University’s events as a Principal Partner in Hull UK City of Culture 2017. More than 30,000 visitors have already attended events from exhibitions of world-famous artwork to film festivals and live music festivals.

Steinunn said: “I am thrilled at the prospect of installing CAIRNS at the campus of the University of Hull. It will be a beautiful frame for the 10 life size sculptures that will make up the sculpture trail.

“Hull has a special place in my heart ever since the Voyage project was initiated all those years ago. I’m excited to be back and hope the trail will encourage people to visit the campus and experience it in a new way.”

Steinunn’s sculptures have previously been located in public spaces around the world including outside the United Nations in New York.

She was also responsible for creating the Voyage sculpture near The Deep in Hull, as well as its sister sculpture in Iceland. Like Voyage, the exhibition at the University celebrates the cultural and historic links between Hull and Iceland, which share more than 1,000 years of trading across the seas.

Professor Glenn Burgess, University of Hull Acting Vice-Chancellor and the University’s Hull 2017 lead, said: “CAIRNS will provide the public, as well as University of Hull students and staff with an extraordinary new way to explore our beautiful campus.

“Not only are the sculptures stunning works of art, they also celebrate the common cultural history that Hull and Iceland share. The exhibition builds on the tremendous success of our Hull 2017 programme so far, which has included world-renowned art, music, film and much more.”

The University of Hull was chosen as the location for CAIRNS because the artist and University felt the campus would be a fitting backdrop for the sculptures. Not only do they respond to the beautiful grounds, but the sculptures reflect the University’s purpose as a seat of learning, inspiring minds for generations to come.

Visitor information:

  • CAIRNS opens on 28 April and runs until October.

  • The sculptures are dotted around the University of Hull’s Cottingham Road campus and are accessible around the clock, but we advise to have a look at them during daylight hours

  • Maps with detail about each sculpture are available from the Venn building reception and Middleton Hall at the front of campus during office hours.

  • For more information, visit Culturenet

CAIRNS opens as Hull’s links with Iceland are celebrated in another major Hull UK City of Culture 2017 event, John Grant’s North Atlantic Flux: Sounds from Smoky Bay. This 4 day electronica music festival (28 April-1May), curated by the American singer songwriter and Curated Place, features some of the most exciting and innovative musicians from Scandinavia and Iceland and is a music festival like no other.

Among those on the billing are University of Hull lecturer Dr Simon Desbruslais, who on 1 May will perform a world premiere of a solo trumpet piece composed by Deborah Pritchard at the foot of the Voyage sculpture. The new piece is inspired by Voyage and is perhaps the longest ever composition for solo trumpet. Simon will also perform at the Vik sculpture on 4 June to coincide with the Icelandic Festival of the Sea.

To book, visit the Hull 2017 website.


Selected high resolution images from CAIRNS are available here:

For CAIRNS media enquiries, including interviews and photo/filming opportunities, please contact Sian Alexander in the University of Hull press office on 01482 4662193 or 07850 297955 or

There will be a VIP preview event on 27 April, ahead of the opening on 28 April. If you wish to attend, please contact Sian Alexander as above as soon as possible.

Alternative times and dates for media visits to CAIRNS are available on request.

For media enquiries relating to the John Grant festival, contact Clare McCormack at The Corner Shop PR or 07989 950 871.

Notes to Editors

About Steinunn

Steinunn has been a professional artist for 40 years. She has worked on figurative sculpture from the beginning of her career. Her figures are androgynous symbols of humanity. They are organic and explosive in their formation. Man´s conversation with nature, his surroundings and society are an integral part of her art. The figures have a deliberately anonymous quality. Despite their seeming anonymity they are based on the artist´s older son which brings them close to her like a family.

Steinunn studied sculpture in England and Italy. She has exhibited widely with solo shows in Iceland, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, UK, Germany, Canada and USA, in museums, galleries and public places.

Steinunn has received numerous awards and grants, among them is the Order of the Falcon in 2009 granted by the President of Iceland for her contribution to the visual arts in Iceland and abroad.

Her works are in public, private and corporate collection worldwide.

Steinunn´s work is represented in the UK by Osborne Samuel, Mayfair, London . More details here:

University of Hull

Creativity lives and breathes at the University of Hull – always has done, always will.

As a catalyst for creativity we are a keen supporter of arts and culture within our community and beyond – and now, as a principal partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 we are delighted to be an integral part of the celebrations.

The University of Hull is playing a significant role in producing and hosting some of the spectacular events that form part of the Hull 2017 programme including, in the first few months alone, an exhibition of drawings from some of art’s prominent masters from Matisse to Michelangelo; a film festival dedicated to Oscar-winning Director Minghella who kick-started his career here; and an exhibition of BP Portrait Award Commissions from the National Portrait Gallery will feature famous faces from Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling. Some of this activity will be held in our newly relaunched Middleton Hall which, following a £9.5million redevelopment, is now a world-class concert and arts venue.

University of Hull students, graduates and staff will be at the heart of the programming with conferences, concerts and festivals showcasing their talent. In addition, as the exclusive academic partner we are an official partner in creativity and in helping to pave the way for future generations.

For further information visit /

Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is a 365 day programme of cultural events and creativity inspired by the city and told to the world. Hull secured the title of UK City of Culture 2017 in November 2013. It is only the second city to hold the title and the first in England. Divided into four seasons, this nationally significant event draws on the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have made such a significant contribution to the development of art and ideas.

The Culture Company was set up to deliver the Hull 2017 programme and is an independent organisation with charitable status. It has raised £32 million, with over 70 partners supporting the project, including public bodies, trusts and foundations and local and national businesses.

Key contributions are coming from: Host City – Hull City Council; Principal Partners - Arts Council England, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, KCOM, KWL, Spirit of 2012, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull; Major Partners –Associated British Ports, Arco, BP, the British Council, British Film Institute, Green Port Hull, Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, MKM Building Supplies, P&O Ferries, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Sewell Group, Siemens, Smith & Nephew and Wykeland Group. The National Lottery has contributed more than £10m of this funding, making it the largest single funding body for Hull 2017.

For information go to Follow us on Twitter @2017Hull Instagram @2017hull

Facebook HullCityofCulture

Curated Place

Curated Place is an arts-led production company with bases in Manchester, Edinburgh and Reykjavik working internationally to deliver events, festivals and residencies that create and showcase international quality music and artwork.

At the heart of the business is an ethos of calculated risk, innovation and collaboration. Curated Place establishes new artistic channels in and out of the UK, connecting partners in Scandinavia, Europe, and Asia, developing and delivering pilot projects that have the capability of being rapidly rolled out to scale.

They are the founders and driving force behind the EU spanning Moving Classics European Network for New Music, the ENLIGHT Light Art Expression Network, and curate and direct Aberdeen’s SPECTRA Festival - recent winner of the 2016 Scottish Festival of the Year Award at the Scottish Event awards.

More information can be found at

Sian Alexander

Press Officer University of Hull Hull, HU6 7RX, UK 01482 462193

Please note my normal working hours are 8.30am to 2.30pm. If you have an urgent PR enquiry outside these hours, please call 01482 466943 or email


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