Bradford bids for right to host Great Exhibition

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BRADFORD will bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North in the giant natural bowl surrounding City Park in the heart of the city centre.

The city is aiming to stage a two-month spectacular to showcase the best of art, culture and design in the North of England to national and international audiences.

The National Media Museum will be the anchor for the exhibition with support from venues including City Hall, St George’s Hall and Alhambra Theatre.

The imposing buildings form a natural bowl shape around the central basin of City Park, the country’s largest water feature.

The multi-award winning park can be drained fully to create a dry plaza for 10,000 people.

Organisers plan to use temporary structures and connecting streets for events during the exhibition, which will take place in 2018.

Arup, the global engineering consultancy, is advising the bid team on the venues and logistics of handling thousands of visitors a day.

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Council Leader, said: “We are fortunate in Bradford to have such a perfect stage for an event as ambitious as the Great Exhibition of the North.

“We are proud to have a cultural asset as strong as the National Media Museum as well as some of the grandest Victorian venues in the country.

“Being in the heart of the North we are well connected with other cities.”

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director at the National Media Museum, said: “There’s no doubt our extraordinary city has a real energy about it after the extensive regeneration in recent years.

“And like the city itself our focus is squarely on the future. By the time of the Great Exhibition of the North we will have opened our £1.8m world-class interactive gallery, bringing the science of light, sound and perception to life, and inspiring the next generation or scientists and engineers.

“And we’ll be well on our way to realising our next ambition – a major gallery bringing together the extraordinary objects in our collection that will tell the past, present and future stories of image and sound technologies. A gallery dedicated to the innovations that make people think differently about the world around them.

“Many of the astounding artefacts we look after – like the cameras used by Louis Le Prince right here in Yorkshire to capture the first ever moving images – showcase the North’s incredible cultural and creative heritage as well as being world-first technological breakthroughs.

“We’re incredibly proud to be a part of that cultural heritage and to play our part in Bradford’s bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North.”

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: “With three museums in the North of England, the National Media Museum is uniquely placed to call upon the expertise and ingenuity across the Science Museum Group.

“Sitting geographically between its superb sister museums, the Museum of Science Industry in Manchester and the National Railway Museum in York, the museum in Bradford can be a magnet not only for the innovation of that dynamic city, but for the North as a whole. We are delighted to be backing Bradford’s bid.”

Towns and cities across the North have been invited to submit bids before June 30. The Government has asked Sir Gary Verity to oversee the project.

The Bradford team will be promoting the city to the Government-appointed bid committee as an ambitious, confident and forward-looking place with a young and diverse population, strong business community, an innovative technology sector, vibrant arts and cultural scene, great connectivity and excellent quality of life.

The Government has promised to contribute £5m towards the exhibition itself and a further £15m into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.

The bid team has sought the advice of a group of creative thinkers from the arts, technology and design fields.

It also wants as many ideas as possible from Bradford schools, residents and workers.

Anyone can show their support on social media channels using the hashtag #bradfordGXn.

On Saturday The Yorkshire Post reported that Halifax is bidding to host a two-month celebration. Newcastle and Harrogate have also put their names forward.