Bradford bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 to highlight its rich cultural diversity

By Jael Lutandila

Bradford’s bid to become the next UK City of Culture will help secure economic benefits for the city as well as showcasing its “rich and diverse stories”, according to those supporting the project.

Coventry is due to pick up the title from May 2021 following a delay as a result of COVID-19, but Bradford is bidding to take over as UK City of Culture in 2025.

Bid director Richard Shaw said: “Hull in 2017 attracted 5.3 million visitors, and we would expect Bradford 2025 to do even better.

“Bradford has announced more than 30 grants to young filmmakers to create some short films that represent the district in a completely new way.”

He confirmed that there will be more funding rounds and projects during 2021, as they build up to submitting the bid.  

Pakeezah Zahoor, programme & community coordinator of Bradford’s bid, said the team would be holding meeting with communities, schools and businesses to understand what they wanted from the 2025 bid.

“The bid will only work if its speaks the authentic voice of all Bradford District residents,” he said.

“Keep an eye on our social media channels, sign up for newsletters and use the #bradford 2025 hashtag.”

Yorkshire Voice
Photo: Bradford city centre with the sign of Bradford bidding 2025

Imran Hafeez, manager of Bradford Stories which is part of The National Literacy Trust charity, also welcomed the bid and the benefits it could bring.

“Bradford is a city of culture and diversity. It is exactly Bradford’s diverse communities that are the ingredients of our innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. 

“As a designated city of culture, we would be able to harness the experiences of our people and share in the rich and diverse stories that make up the culture of our great city.

“This will not only grow resilience for the future but will also pioneer new ways of engaging with a population through culture that will ultimately make society a more literate and cultural place to live.” he added.

UK City of Culture is run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Every four years, cities compete to be awarded the prestigious title.

Kathy McArdle, British Council director of England and Cities, said that although the competition is a relatively new tool in the UK, it can become increasingly effective in sparking or strengthening international cultural relationships.

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