Three creatives from the Bradford district are about to be taken on as Artists in Residence at Bradford City Hall in a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The three artists, who start next week, will each bring unique specialisms to the project and will be working on the assignment which is part of a wider programme of support to explore and grow the way people open up and tell the many and varied stories of the Bradford district through alternative voices, as an outcome of the district’s new 10 year Cultural Strategy, Culture is Our Plan.
The three artists are Shiraaz Ali, a visual artist, architect and designer; Harry Jelley a poet and writer and Rosie Freeman from the art collective Brick Box.
Rich in heritage, stories and architecture these three artists all from the Bradford district will explore the past and heritage of the building and also conjure up a new future by engaging the public in their work.
Shiraaz Ali said: “City Hall is not only an architectural masterpiece it’s also a vital component of the district’s rich heritage and culture.
“It is an honour and a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Rosie and Harry on this residency, bringing together the district’s many, one of a kind communities and establishing a fun, sustainable and meaningful relationship with its people and its urban fabric.
“I believe this project can, not only transform the Bradford district for 2022 and beyond but can also spread a little bit of love and joy through unifying our communities and building a bright and peaceful future for generations to come, as well as creating spaces that we are all proud to call our home.”
Bradford City Hall is a magnificent Grade I listed 19th century building in the heart of Bradford city centre. It was built in 1873 in the Venetian Gothic style, with its bell tower inspired by the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Alongside usual council business, the building is also a popular destination for filming thanks to an outstanding array of beautifully preserved features including its Victorian courtroom, impressive council chambers, Lord Mayor’s rooms, entrance hall and staircase, as well as its stunning banqueting hall. Part of the 1873 building is also home to the Bradford Police Museum.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “Heritage is hugely important to the Bradford district, so we are delighted that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting this work and recognising the need for contemporary storytelling as part of the future of our district’s heritage.
“I am delighted to be able to invite these three incredibly talented artists to listen, learn and share what the future might hold for City Hall as we build up to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year and anticipate the outcome of our bid to be City of Culture 2025.”
David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted that money raised by National Lottery players has made this innovative approach possible and are excited to see how the artists will capture the imagination of the public in what is a spectacular heritage site in the Bradford district.
“We’re also excited that through this project we’re exploring new ways of working with local authorities to ensure that we capture the voices of all communities and ensure they are at the centre of the discussion on the future of their heritage. We know that heritage plays an important role in bringing people together and creating a sense of pride of place, that in turn can deliver wider social and economic benefits.”