Over the next 10 years Bradford as a city of districts will drive forward a step-change in its cultural position - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. It will re-imagine itself; creating a new narrative about belonging, pride and passion. As a City it will be confident, bold and inventive and proudly claim its position in the UK as a leading cultural destination.
Culture will be positioned as central to the economic and social future of the City – a vital heartbeat in its transformation. It will be considered in everything we aspire to do as a city: the services the Council and voluntary sector provide; decisions about public spaces; how communities participate and engage; its role in encouraging inward investment; providing education and skills opportunities in the creative and cultural industries and how we foster the well-being and quality of life of our residents.
In 2003 a cultural strategy was launched setting out the role of culture as a complimentary tool for regeneration in Bradford’s 2020 Vision. The past ten years has seen investment in our cultural infrastructure across the District, with significant achievements creating a cultural wealth to be proud of. Some of our successes have included a £1.75 million refurbishment of Cartwright Hall Art Gallery; Bradford taking a lead on ‘Illuminate’ a Yorkshire-wide cultural festival across five cities; an increase in book issues, activities and skills development through investment by council and heritage funding in libraries in Keighley, Manningham, Bowling and the City Centre; capital developments for Mind the Gap and Kala Sangam through Arts Council England funding; investment in Bradford Theatres; the launch of a new Internet Gallery in the National Media Museum alongside the creation of our multi-million-pound urban City Park.
Bradford Council, in partnership with key agencies, has lead the review of the 2003 strategy - refreshing the vision, the mission and direction for Bradford’s cultural future to make it relevant and responsive to where we are now and where we want to be. The Council with its key partner agencies will continue to play a fundamental and strategic role in overseeing the delivery of this revised strategic plan - taking collective responsibility for enabling and facilitating impact on the ground.
The review process highlighted a belief that Bradford is punching below its weight – a city with enormous potential and opportunities going forward to claim its position as a ‘Leading Cultural City’.
Bradford’s cultural foundation is rich and diverse but more work needs to be done to cement a world class vibrant cultural experience for all. Bradford will use culture as a key tourism driver more effectively to re-position itself as a leading cultural City. World accolades such as Bradford’s UNESCO City of Film and Saltaire - a UNESCO World Heritage Site; museums of national significance such as the National Media Museum as well as local gems such as Bradford Industrial Museum, Cliffe Castle, Bronte Parsonage alongside galleries - Cartwright Hall, Impressions and Bradford Theatres to name but a few – all of this blends together a thriving countryside and urban cultural experience that is appealing to visitors as well as our residents.
‘Bradford – A Leading Cultural City’ outlines a refreshed vision, mission and five strategic priorities that set the agenda for the next 10 years:
Vision: A leading cultural city that people love and enjoy.
Mission: Every day we will celebrate, inspire and engage residents and visitors in a magnificent cultural experience.
Priority 1: Investing in our People - A City where people can freely access, enjoy, create, engage in and contribute to Bradford’s cultural offer.
Priority 2: Building a resilient and sustainable sector – Create an agile, enterprising, and entrepreneurial creative and cultural sector.
Priority 3: Responsible and active Leadership – A ‘can-do’ leadership position at all levels that engenders ownership, responsibility and ambition.
Priority 4: A thriving cultural offer – One that inspires our residents and visitors and delivers a magnificent cultural experience for all.
Priority 5: A cultural destination – telling and selling our story – Encouraging people to actively take part, watch, engage and experience Bradford as a leading cultural city locally, nationally and internationally.
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