Work to develop Bradford’s transformational year of culture in 2025 continues at pace this month with a major new appointment to the Bradford 2025 leadership team, alongside the first mini-seed commission funds awarded to 35 local artists and organisations to help develop the game-changing cultural programme.
Will White joins Bradford 2025 as Head of Audiences following ten years at the Science Museum Group where he led the marketing and communications teams across three national museums in the north: the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, Locomotion in Shildon and the National Railway Museum in York.
In his new role Will, who has also worked at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the British Council, will lead a strategic marketing and communications campaign to develop and grow audiences across the Bradford district, nationally and internationally in the lead up to and throughout 2025.
“I arrived in Bradford in 2013 and since then I’ve seen the city and the district change a lot – often in ways you couldn’t possibly have anticipated. Now, we’re beginning to grow in confidence, to step out of the role that others have cast us in and to articulate our one-of-a-kind cultural offer.’
‘Finding ways to bring arts and cultural experiences to audiences – and the other way around – is the challenge that keeps me busy. Understanding what’s important to audiences in Bradford and beyond, and what they want out of their precious free time, is a massively important part of us getting the most out of the amazing opportunity that being UK City of Culture has given us, and I’m really proud to be a part of that.” Will White, Head of audiences, Bradford 2025
The first recipients of seed funding from Bradford 2025 have also been awarded, chosen from more than 160 applications to a commission call-out.
35 individual artists, makers and cultural organisations across the district have been selected to receive awards of between £500 – £2500 to enable them to dedicate time to research and develop exciting new project proposals and ideas. The funding awards are the first of many opportunities over the coming months for local artists to engage with the development of the district’s cultural programme.
Recipients of the mini-seed funding include
- Dance artist and aerialist Vince Virr – for time to research a new large-scale circus and aerial performance created with communities in Bradford’s estates
- Bradford South Asian Festival – to run a series of community consultations to support the development and future growth of the festival.
- Checkpoint, Bradford’s West Indian Community Centre – to explore how to bring to life archive oral recordings of the Black experience in Bradford. ‘The Front Room Talks’ will be set in a 1970s Caribbean living room.
- New Focus Young People’s Collective at Impressions Gallery – to conduct research into how other galleries in the UK are telling the story of migrants in diverse cities.
- Textile artist Claire Wellesley – funding new research and development workshops to explore the potential of a district-wide textile project for 2025, putting the spotlight on the past, present and future of Bradford’s textile industry.
“We had an overwhelming response from the cultural community across the district which is further proof of the incredible passion and creativity of the sector here. It’s that hunger and drive to harness opportunities that played a huge role in Bradford winning the UK City of Culture title in the first place.”
“There were so many fantastic ideas and it’s a shame we couldn’t fund them all, but there will of course be further opportunities to engage with the programme over the next two years, this is just the start. I’m really excited about the individuals and organisations we’ve selected, all of whom responded to our brief with some really bold ideas that reflect the many cultures and communities of our district. Cultivating our home-grown artists, makers and organisations is key to creating a legacy beyond 2025, and this is a major step in our journey to make Bradford one of the best places in the UK for artists, producers and creative entrepreneurs to thrive.” Jenny Harris, Executive Producer, Bradford 2025