What’s happening in Bradford: beyond the city’s mills and hills

This month I’ve been looking at Bradford arts and culture escaping out into the world, with a few BD-based projects making their way through New York, South Korea, and even Peterborough.

But first, the most recently released bit of Bradford art – a video that provoked a lot of chat and stirred a fair bit of emotion among Bradfordians of all ages and in all locations.

Last week saw the official launch of the Bradford City of Culture 2025 bid, with a gathering of the city’s cultural crew at Kala Sangam in Bradford, and a separate event in London.

A video made by Jack King was shown at both, and sent off into the wilds of the internet to be viewed by – so far – more than 25,000 people.

This video is not the bid, it’s just an announcement of our intention to bid, but it does something we all hope the bid will do – highlights some shining examples of grassroots Bradford culture; things that have grown organically in the city’s unique and unreplicable soil.

Legendary live music club The 1 in 12, breakdancing crew Clean North, Fountains cafe, poet Kirsty Taylor, radical young women’s collective Speakers’ Corner, and experimental arts venue Fuse all feature prominently. It’s a film only a Bradford filmmaker who’s lived in and loves the city could have made.

Aside from the bid launch news being blasted out into the atmosphere, we’ve also been following the stratospheric rise of Bradford-based Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company.

After a very successful stint at the Edinburgh Fringe festival this summer, they’ve taken their play ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ to New York.

At the very same time, Bradford artist Cat Scott has taken up her first international residency in South Korea.

Cat’s work mixes physics and aesthetics, motion and sound – perfect for the blending of art and science this residency is focused on. She was one of just seven participants chosen, and the only one representing the UK.

And finally for touring news, The Brick Box are going on a colourful jaunt as well. Working with artist Ben Cummings we’re creating a giant immersive place based kaleidoscope to take on the road.

The kaleidoscope is just one element of ‘Blink’: a national touring project in collaboration with Emergency Exit Arts. You can see the tour – and come and say hello to us – in Dewbury, Stoke-on-Trent, Peterborough and Sheerness.

Meanwhile back at home we’ve also had the first meeting of the city’s Cultural Voice group – an independent collective made up of the artists, venues, organisations and events that form Bradford’s creative sector.

The kick-off meeting was so well attended that the round-the-room introductions took up a good 15 minutes. By the end of it we were all excited about how this new forum for collaboration and information-sharing will make the city’s cultural voice boom even louder and carry even further beyond our mills and hills.