Why arts & culture could transform Bradford’s reputation

Proud Bradfordian Emma Cooke writes in the Independent why she has high hopes for her home town’s future.

“Bradford is a funny old place. It has a prosperous textiles heritage, but today suffers from a less savoury reputation. The fabric of the city shows clear evidence of these two worlds colliding – grand civic architecture rubs shoulders with ugly concrete eyesores from the 1960s, none more so than the infamous High Point building, which represents the bygone Brutalist era with its ribbed concrete and narrow, red-tinted windows.

“Add stifling social issues into the mix, and it’s easy to assume there’s no hope for Bradford. Race riots, long-neglected regeneration projects and high levels of poverty have resulted in the city being served up as a textbook example of deindustrialisation. Unlike its significantly wealthier neighbour Leeds, it’s struggled to get back up on its feet – but that’s not to say it should be doomed forever.

“Contrary to the gloom surrounding Britain’s ageing population, Bradford has an extremely youthful one. In fact, it has the third highest percentage of under 16s in the UK, which offers unique opportunities going forward. A young and diverse social fabric could be exactly what the doctor ordered. It certainly bodes well for continuously fostering a rich cultural scene, which offers up huge potential in its bid for UK City of Culture 2025, something that has created a buzz across the district. It has kickstarted something of a cultural revival, spotlighting old and new initiatives.”

Read the full article here.

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