Bradford is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025!
The West Yorkshire city of Bradford is due to spend £1.4 million on a bid to become the UK’s City of Culture in 2025. A number of the city’s key cultural institutions have come together to form the Cultural Place Partnership which will drive the bid forwards as they contest against the likes of Chelmsford, Luton, Medway, Northampton, Southampton and Tees Valley. Organisations making up the Cultural Place Partnership include Bradford-based live arts company, The Brick Box; the University of Bradford; Bradford College, and a number of local and national funders.
What is the UK City of Culture?
In 2008 Liverpool was chosen as the European Capital of Culture, an accolade which brought the city a solid boost in revenue and a number of social benefits. The UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport realised the benefits of celebrating UK cities for their culture as a means of celebration and regeneration. A panel was chaired by producer and screenwriter Phil Redmond, that decided on the format and remit of the awards, concluding that that the accolade would be granted to a new city every four years, and major events to be held in the winning city would be decided on a case-by-case basis. Previous winners have included Derry-Londonderry, Hull and Coventry for 2021. These cities have often secured large sums of investment and seen increased culture-led regeneration on the back of the UK City of Culture Award. The estimated value of the award in increased revenue is £350 million.
Why can Bradford become UK City of Culture 2025?
With a long history and a famously varied ethnic diversity, culture, in many guises, has naturally embedded itself in Bradford’s way of life. Kala Sangam, for example is a leading multi and intercultural arts initiative that delivers a varied programme featuring south Asian and collaborative arts.
Bradford is the world’s first UNESCO City of Film, thanks to its rich film history, exceptional filming locations and dedication to the medium through events and festivals – not to mention, Bradford is the location of the National Science and Media museum.
The cultural pedigree of Bradford reaches far back, with notable figures in the arts emerging from the area such as the Bronte Sisters, playwright JB Priestly, artist David Hockney, Jazz Musician Allan Holdsworth and many many more.
Even with this very strong cultural identity, engagement in the arts has been unfortunately low. However, the city has been working hard to remedy this by incorporating new structures to benefit emerging artists and groups, with success in this area seen by the emergence of a number of new voices, from England’s largest learning disability theatre company, Mind the Gap, to the Bradford Literature Festival and many more diverse practitioners and organisations.
It’s interesting to note that Bradford is the UK’s 6th largest city, and twice the size of Hull which was the UK City of Culture in 2017.
Bradford’s bid forms part of its overall Economic Strategy, which aims to make Bradford the UK’s fastest growing economy over the coming decade, increasing the value of the economy by £4 billion.
Winning the bid would be massive for Bradford; such a strong cultural heritage and commitment to the arts means the city’s bid is very strong indeed.
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