The bid for the title, which is awarded every four years by the government, is backed by Bradford Metropolitan District Council and will be driven by a newly formed Cultural Place Partnership which includes Bradford-based live arts company, The Brick Box; University of Bradford; Bradford College, further representatives of the cultural sector and national funders.
The Cultural Place Partnership is chaired by Leader of Bradford Council, Susan Hinchcliffe and the UK City of Culture bid will be initially chaired by Mary Dowson of Bradford Community Broadcasting.
The bid will also form part of the Council's plans for a new Cultural Strategy for the next decade (2020 to 2030) which will be announced later this year.
Bradford joins a number of cities and areas competing for the title, with Lancashire, Medway, Gloucester, Southampton and Tees Valley already having announced their intentions to bid. The UK City of Culture status has had a transformational impact on previous host cities, securing millions of pounds of investment and acting as a catalyst for creative place-making and culture-led regeneration.
Culture plays a vital social and economic contribution to the city. It promotes us to the nation and the world as a vibrant, creative and confident place to visit, live and work in. I'm also a great believer in Culture and Art as a means of personal transformation. It raises aspirations, enables us to explore skills we never knew we had and connects us with others in our neighbourhood. If the bid is successful it would be of benefit for every corner of the district. It would be really exciting. I'm so pleased that this great group of people is driving the bid forward, I hope everyone gets behind them.by Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council
Bradford district, which as the UK's 6th largest city is twice the size of Hull which hosted in 2017, is the youngest city in Europe (29% of its population under 20 and nearly a quarter under 16) and one of the most diverse in the UK.
Home to the National Science and Media Museum, the city has a cultural heritage that includes the Brontës, JB Priestley and it recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of being named the first UNESCO City of Film. Despite this, Bradford district overall has some of the lowest engagement figures for the arts nationally. In response, the city has been working to put in place new structures and partnerships to strengthen its capacity and to establish a new cultural voice for artists and independent cultural groups.
Home-grown arts organisations including England's largest learning disability theatre company, Mind the Gap; Bradford Literature Festival; female-led political theatre collective Common Wealth; Freedom Studios; intercultural arts hub Kala Sangam; Bradford Community Broadcasting and independent artists such as director, writer and activist, Javaad Alipoor, represent an emerging new generation of cultural companies and leaders successfully engaging new audiences.
To help back the Bradford bid, if you are attending arts and cultural events across the district over the next few months please post about your experience on social media and tag in @Bradford2025 and use the hashtag #Bradford2025.
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The city is home to some exceptional large-scale venues including Salts Mill, the Grade II listed St George's Hall, which recently underwent a £9.5m restoration project, and there are plans to open the former Odeon as music venue 'Bradford Live'. A consortium of Bradford organisations and artists, led by Theatre in the Mill, have recently been named as one of two national pilots for the Arts Council England's Producing Hub; receiving £1.5m to develop local talent and boost the city's ability to produce new work.
Bradford's wealth of public spaces and parks could also offer a spectacular canvas for events in 2025.
Our UK City of Culture bid presents a brilliant opportunity for us to showcase not only the incredible home-grown talent we have here in Bradford, but to create a legacy which improves opportunities for local people and promotes the city as a fantastic place to live, work and enjoy. Over the next few months we'll be working hard to develop new partnerships and build a strong programme for the bid to include local, national and international events. We're positive we can deliver a successful and spectacular year of culture in 2025, now we want the city to get behind us too.by Mary Dowson from BCB and Interim Chair of Bradford's UK City of Culture bid
Final UK City of Culture bids for 2025 will be submitted in 2021. The winning entry will be announced in December 2021.
To help back the Bradford bid, if you are attending arts and cultural events across the district over the next few months please post about your experience on social media and tag in @Bradford2025 and use the hashtag #Bradford2025
You may remember that Liverpool won the European Capital of Culture title in 2008. This was a Europe-wide competition to highlight one city based on its cultural offer, encouraging people to visit, and bringing in money that helped to support and grow culture in the city even further.
This proved such a huge success for the city and the region that a UK-specific City of Culture initiative was launched in 2013 to give more cities in the UK a chance to hold a title that draws attention to their cultural offering and brings economic and cultural benefits.
Every four years, a new UK City of Culture is chosen. Bradford will be entering a bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025.
Being UK City of Culture will be a real game-changer for Bradford. It will give the city a platform to tell the UK and the world what we have to offer.
It will leave a lasting legacy of increased visitor numbers and a more vibrant, sustainable cultural sector.
And it will improve the quality of life and opportunities for local people, with increased opportunities to participate in culture, to gain experience as a volunteer and to access to jobs in the tourism and cultural sectors.
We hope that our programme will also bring greater community engagement across the district and celebrate our diverse communities.
The UK City of Culture bid for Bradford will be designed to have an impact on the city in the following ways:
In addition, the most recent annual report from Arts Council England (based on data from the Office for National Statistics) highlights the following facts about the value of culture in the UK: