3. Bradford Data Review: Cultural participation

This section of the report focuses on cultural assets and funding in Bradford as well as details on public funding of culture.

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Introduction

This section of the report focuses on cultural assets and funding in Bradford as well as details on public funding of culture.

Overview

Cultural participation in Bradford is diverse and vibrant, with a range of events and activities for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. The district has a rich history and cultural heritage, with a strong emphasis on music, art and literature. Bradford has a bustling arts scene, with 54% of the visitor economy coming from arts and culture. In 2022 Bradford was chosen as UK City of Culture for 2025, and this will see new investment in the arts ecology of the district with 1,000 new performances and events planned and 365 artist commissions.

Bradford is home to many cultural institutions and organisations, including the National Science and Media Museum, the Alhambra Theatre and the Bradford Literature Festival. There are also numerous community-based arts organisations and galleries that provide opportunities for local artists to showcase their work and engage with the community.

The district hosts a range of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including BD:Festival, Bradford Eid Festival and Bradford Literature Festival.

There are two key topics covered in this section:

  • Cultural engagement (drilling down to explore local variations in engagement)
  • Cultural assets and funding for culture

Bradford Data Review » Cultural participation

3.1. Cultural engagement and local variations

This section explores national data highlighting local disparities in cultural engagement across Bradford, while also addressing the limitations in capturing ‘everyday participation’ within communities.

3.2. Cultural assets and funding

Bradford boasts 12 ACE National Portfolio Organisations, yet lags in theatre seats, cinema screens, music venues, and art galleries compared to Sheffield and Newcastle & Gateshead, while excelling in heritage with a robust museum presence, two UNESCO listings, and double the listed buildings per capita.

3.3. Gaps in the data

Despite low traditional cultural participation metrics, 88% of Bradford residents value cultural engagement.

3.4. Opportunities

The identified gaps underscore the pressing need for comprehensive research to illuminate Bradford’s cultural landscape fully.

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