3.3. Gaps in the data

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


Gaps in the data

As traditionally measured, cultural participation is low. Yet culture is highly valued in the lives of Bradford’s residents, with 88% saying they engage with culture often or occasionally.

There is an urgent need for new measures of cultural engagement to be developed, and Bradford 2025 offers an opportunity for that process to be embedded within the impact plans and cultural strategy of the City over the short to medium term.

The data mentioned above provides an overview into cultural participation and cultural assets in Bradford. However, it does not provide a comprehensive picture of the cultural landscape in the district. Some of the gaps in our knowledge include:

  • The reasons behind the low levels of cultural engagement compared to other cities and the reasons why traditional measures of arts engagement tend to focus on defined art forms and subsidised activity.
  • The extent to which cultural activity in Bradford communities is underrepresented and the specific forms of cultural activity that are not being captured by typical measures, which reinforce stereotypical and power-laden notions of cultural activity.
  • The specific cultural assets that are highly valued by the residents of Bradford and how they engage with these assets in their daily lives may not be currently represented in the cultural offer.

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.

3.4. Opportunities

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

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