This is our time!

Bradford 2025 welcomes the announcement from Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State at DCMS, that the race is now on for the 2025 UK City of Culture competition.

Bradford is ready for the title of UK City of Culture 2025. This is a district built by entrepreneurs, shaped by an international community and a history of world-famous artists, writers, musicians and social activists. Fiercely proud of its creativity, boldness and independence of spirit, Bradford’s story is ready to be told and its storytellers come from all parts of the globe.

This is Bradford’s moment to showcase to the world what modern British culture looks like. This is where the magic happens. This is where passionate young voices of the future will be heard. This is our time.

Our vision is to use arts and culture to fuel the social, economic and creative renaissance of our district; to make Bradford one of the most welcoming places in the UK where artists, producers, audiences and creative entrepreneurs can flourish, to unleash the limitless imaginations of our young and diverse population and to evidence the positive changes that arts and culture can make in everyone’s life.

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 regeneration and creative place-making.

Shanaz Gulzar, Chair of Bradford 2025, said: “Bradford’s time is now. With the confirmation from Government that the next UK City of Culture competition has started, we have a unique opportunity to promote the distinctive qualities of this district to national audiences and to claim the UK City of Culture title for Bradford in 2025. Bradford is ambitious in its thinking and hungry for success. We have the most youthful population of all cities competing for the title; we have world-class cultural organisations, a distinguished cultural history, passionate audiences and a progressive community of diverse artists, performers, writers, visual artists and creative entrepreneurs with outstanding credentials who will help secure the designation for Bradford.  We look forward to working with as many people across the district as we can as we press our case to Government that this title rightfully belongs to us in 2025.”

Welcoming the news of the competition, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We very much welcome the announcement that the UK City of Culture contest is now underway. Bradford Council is fully committed to competing for the 2025 UK City of Culture title and backing our district’s Cultural Sector who are putting in a huge amount of work to achieve this accolade. Our district is young, diverse, entrepreneurial and we want to play our full part in the life of the nation: the UK City of Culture title provides a platform to do this. There can be no regeneration without culture. Our bid will form a major part of the Council’s future planning and will have a major role to play in bringing together our communities, lifting our spirits, and providing a boost to our economy.”

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford, Strategic Partner in Bradford’s 2025 bid, said: “The University of Bradford is delighted to play a key role as Strategic Partner in Bradford’s City of Culture bid. Bradford has a very strong cultural heritage and we are excited to play a role in showcasing this to the world.”

Bradford-born megastar magician Dynamo (real name Stephen Frayne) said: “Bradford is where my heart is and has always been a hidden gem; a place filled with magic and wonderful people. That’s why I’m so proud to back this bid for Bradford to become the UK’s next City of Culture in 2025. Having seen first hand the hard work, passion and commitment of the local community, I really believe that this is our time.”

Dynamo’s comments were echoed by Bradford cricketer Adil Rashid, who was made a Freeman of the City last year for his role in England’s stunning Cricket World Cup triumph. Commenting on Bradford’s City of Culture bid, Adil said: “When people come together to play sport, or watch it, that shared experience is amazing and it stays with you. It’s the same with cultural events and I am one hundred per cent behind the team, proud to put my name to Bradford’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2025.”

The Bradford-born Creative Director of global fashion brand Bottega Veneta, Daniel Lee, is also backing the bid. Daniel, who’s considered to be one of the most influential figures in fashion, said: “I‘m immensely proud to stand by Bradford on its journey to becoming UK City of Culture 2025. Bradford shaped who I am, it is a city full of unique creative talent, and unifying cultural experiences, which should be shared with the world.”

Natalie Gavin, Bradford actress known for ‘Line of Duty’, ‘Ackley Bridge’ and ‘Gentleman Jack’: “Bradford means so much to me. It’s not just where I’m from, it’s the place and the people that inspire me. Whether it’s the open moors or the estates of the city, I’ve always felt part of it. I think that now is absolutely the right time for everyone to pay attention to Bradford, to see it how those who call it home do, and let themselves feel curious and excited about how much Bradford could do as UK City of Culture. I’m right behind the bid to make it happen.”

Madani Younis who forged his theatre career in Bradford and is now Chief Executive Producer The Shed, New York: “The confidence that Bradford gave me is why I stay true to that city today. That city for me is the best of who we are as a country and that is not said enough, it represents the potential of what our country is and can be. It is our differences that we celebrate, it’s our differences that make us whole, it’s our differences that make this moment of declaring our bid to be UK City of Culture, so tangible. That Bradford will bid to become a City of Culture to me is no surprise. It’s about time.”

Professor Udy Archibong, Director of Centre for Inclusion and Diversity (CfID) at the University of Bradford, a Strategic Partner of the bid: “Bradford is ready for this. Progressive social reform has been a consistent theme for Bradford’s development for many decades. I’m excited at the potential for the city to work together across all sectors, in every district, to tackle the challenges and inequalities in our great city and to hear the voices of everyone who lives here. Culturally we couldn’t be richer and it’s time for us to show the rest of the world what makes this young, diverse city so special.”

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