£3m cultural capital fund revealed as foundations laid for UK City of Culture

Cultural venues in Bradford district will benefit from a new £3m cultural capital fund to improve access and facilities for local people and the millions of visitors anticipated for Bradford 2025.

The news comes one year on from Bradford winning the title of UK City of Culture 2025.

Shanaz Gulzar, creative director for Bradford 2025, said: “We may be 18 months away from the official start of our City of Culture year but we started work the day after we were announced, and the work to lay the foundations and deliver a show-stopping year is well underway.

“We’ve already supported 35 local artists and organisations to develop new work and with Bradford Council we’re encouraging more large scale commissions for this November’s ‘Bradford is LIT’.

“The biannual light festival is growing into a standout date in the cultural calendar and will be an important moment in our lead up to 2025.”

Leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “The last 12 months have been crucial in ensuring there are strong, solid foundations in place to ensure Bradford 2025 is a year of cultural success.

“The City of Culture team are committed to making the arts, culture, and heritage sectors sustainable, creating a long-lasting legacy across the Bradford District.

“The energy and partnership working we’ve seen so far is phenomenal. We are looking forward to continuing the collaborations with creators, communities, and stakeholders over the next 18 months.”

With funding from Bradford Council, Bradford 2025 will deliver two grant schemes for cultural venues: small scale of up to £5,000 each and larger scale for a minimum of £50,000.

This investment will help improve venues to make them more welcoming and accessible for visitors in preparation for the district-wide celebrations in 2025.

A new temporary touring performance venue will be located in parks across the district during 2025, enabling larger scale events to take place in the heart of local communities.

‘Beacon’ will be a flagship project for Bradford 2025 and architects and designers will be invited to submit creative ideas to deliver a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) feasibility study and early concept designs.

The submission form will be open next week with a view to appointment in autumn 2023.

Dan Bates, executive director of Bradford 2025, said: “We want our year as UK City of Culture to create a lasting and positive impact on the people, artists and organisations across Bradford district.

“We are committed to ensuring the legacy of the year is felt in and across all our distinctive local communities.”