Bradford set for a "new chapter" after being named on the shortlist to become the UK City of Culture in 2025

The chairwoman of Bradford’s bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2025 has claimed organisers are ready to “write a new chapter” for the West Yorkshire district after it was placed on a shortlist for the prestigious title.

Bradford will now compete with County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough to be named the UK City of Culture.

The shortlist was compiled from a record group of 20 that had initially registered bids to take over the title, currently held by Coventry and awarded in 2021.

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The expert advisory panel, chaired by screenwriter Sir Phil Redmond, who created Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, will visit the four shortlisted places before the winner is unveiled in May.

Bradford 2025’s chairwoman, Shanaz Gulzar, has claimed that the team behind the bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2025 are ready to “write a new chapter” for the West Yorkshire district. (Photo: Bradford 2025)

Bradford 2025’s chairwoman, Shanaz Gulzar, who is also a presenter and artist, said: “We’re representing Yorkshire, as the only bidding city from the region left in the contest – and we can be proof of the major role culture can play in levelling up.

“The title is within touching distance. We’re ready to write a new chapter in the story of this young, diverse district. This really is our time.”

The benefits of winning include attracting millions of pounds in investment to boost regeneration and a year in the cultural spotlight, encouraging long-lasting participation in the arts, and growth for local tourism.

If Bradford secures the title, it will follow in the wake of Hull which was given the title five years ago. Research by the University of Hull projected the 2017 title saw tourism contribute in excess of £300m to the economy.

Bradford has been named on the shortlist of bids to become the UK City of Culture in 2025. The winner will be announced in May. (Photo: Visit Bradford)

Since winning the title, Coventry has seen more than £172m invested in funding music concerts and the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery as well as a further £500m for the city’s regeneration.

After announcing the shortlist yesterday evening, Sir Phil claimed the title can act as a “catalyst for community engagement, civic cohesion and a driver for economic and social change”.

The team behind Bradford’s bid to be named as the UK City of Culture in 2025 has backed a series of ground-breaking projects which offer a glimpse of the impact which securing the title could have.

The schemes include a new public artwork programme, a season of free cultural events as part of Summer Unlocked, and Bradford is LIT – a light festival which was visited by more than 20,000 people in November last year.

Another project, The Mills Are Alive in Manningham, saw a large-scale projection show this month that illuminated the famous chimney of Lister Mills, which was built in the 19th century and became the world’s largest silk factory.

The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, claimed the announcement that Bradford has been shortlisted to become the UK City of Culture in 2025 is a “powerful recognition” of the district’s burgeoning cultural and creative sector.

She said: “Being shortlisted is a powerful recognition of Bradford’s vibrant, diverse cultural and creative sector. I hope being shortlisted will be an opportunity to show the best of the Bradford district to the rest of the UK and beyond.”

And Bradford Council's leader, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, added: “I am delighted that the bid for the Bradford district has made the shortlist. This is a testament to the hard work and

dedication of the team.

"We have always been a creative and innovative district, full of interesting and inspiring people drawn here from across the globe and Bradford 2025 bid has really highlighted this.

"It’s an exciting time, with lots of cultural and creative events and activities for people to get involved in as we emerge from a tough two years.”