Predictions of Bradford winning the City of Culture 2025 bid came true last night as the town centre erupted with joy following the announcement which was live-streamed from the large outdoor screen in City Park.
Bradford West MP Naz Shah exclusively predicted to Asian Standard that the district was going to win the bid and receive the £275,000 prize money to host a series of ground-breaking cultural activities in 2025.
The other cities shortlisted were County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough. For the first time, the runners-up will receive a grant of £125,000 to support the regions in taking forward some of the most exciting elements of the bid.
Among the attendees of the announcement last night were, Naz Shah MP for Bradford West (Lab), Judith Cummins MP for Bradford South (Lab), Adeeba Malik CBE, deputy chief executive of QED Foundation and Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford among others.
Noticeably missing from the celebrations were Bradford’s Conservative MPs and members of grassroots organisations from across the district, who will be championed during the year of culture in 2025.
The district was approved as the winning city by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice from a panel of experts led by TV writer-producer Sir Phil Redmond.
The judges were impressed by the ambition of Bradford’s bid which, at its centre, celebrates the place where people live, the power of diversity and aims to create new opportunities for everyone. The bid encouraged strong local engagement with artists and residents and focused on creating a sense of local pride.
The team behind Bradford’s winning bid have previously said that the title would bring “huge investment of up to £700 million” and create 3,000 jobs and attract 1.1m visitors based off the economic benefits other City of Cultures, such as in Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021), have received.
Shanaz Gulzar TV presenter, artist and Chair of Bradford 2025, who was representing the district in Coventry where the winning bid was announced, said: “This fantastic result is down to the ambition, belief and hard work of thousands of people across the district who were behind our bid. We are thrilled that Bradford district has been chosen as the next UK City of Culture.
“This is a huge opportunity to celebrate our extraordinary cultural heritage and for our young, diverse population – who have been so involved in shaping our bid – to become leaders and changemakers and begin a new chapter in our story. Bradford has been overlooked and underestimated for so long – it’s now our time to shine.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, added: “We’re delighted that our district has been recognised in this way. Being UK City of Culture brings with it so many opportunities for people not only in terms of creativity and culture but also for employment, attracting inward investment, boosting the local economy and opening up opportunities for young people to enhance their skills.”
This is a huge opportunity to celebrate our extraordinary cultural heritage and for our young, diverse population – who have been so involved in shaping our bid – to become leaders and changemakers and begin a new chapter in our story. Bradford has been overlooked and underestimated for so long – it’s now our time to shine.” – Shanaz Gulzar, chair of Bradford City of Culture 2025.
Bradford West MP, Naz Shah, said: “I am so proud that Bradford has been chosen to become the UK’s City of Culture 2025.
“Bradford is the definition of a city full of culture and with this title, we can now show the rest of the country what Bradford truly has to offer.
“A city full of youth, 120 languages, cuisines from around the world, a history full of arts, our own literature festival, and culture. And a city with an open heart and sanctuary for so many.
“It’s now Bradford’s time to shine. So, let’s celebrate this huge success and show the country what Bradford is really about.”
Syima Aslam, who was on the Bradford City of Culture 2025 steering group, said: “It is difficult to encapsulate in words our excitement at being awarded the City of Culture for 2025. Congratulations must go to the entire City and the amazing team at Bradford 2025 for their creating a winning bid; it was, without doubt, the best on the table.
“The creativity that will pour out of Bradford will be unique, and the effects will be felt across the cultural landscape of the UK and the regional economy. This is our time, our place and we at Bradford Literature Festival are thrilled to be part of this unique moment and are looking forward to continuing our work to showcase Bradford, the literature Hub for the North.”
However, the chief executive of Manningham Housing Association, Bradford’s award-winning housing association for families from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, has said he hopes being named UK City of Culture 2025 will be pivotal in reducing disparities faced by deprived communities in Bradford.
In a statement, Lee Bloomfield said: “I congratulate everyone involved with the bid, it truly is fantastic news for Bradford and the wider district.
“The people of Bradford have endured a succession of disappointments stretching back over many years, most recently when the city was told it would not be getting Northern Powerhouse Rail and a much-needed new station.
“The increased profile, investment and footfall that will come with UK City of Culture status in 2025 must now be harnessed to reduce the disparities faced by deprived communities in Bradford and Keighley.
“Working with partners, Manningham Housing Association looks forward to playing our full part in helping to extract every possible benefit from this achievement for the district and its people.”