Bradford is one of four venues to be shortlisted for hosting the Great Exhibition of the North. Nine towns and cities in Yorkshire, North East and North West bid to host the two month extravaganza in summer 2018.
Bradford’s exhibition proposes to be a celebration of the contribution of the North of England, bringing together people, ideas and imaginations from across the North and the globe to explore what our futures might be.
Bradford’s bid was inspired by the strengths and uniqueness of the district: welcoming and friendly diverse people, a collaborative approach, strong partnerships and the promising futures that our young, energetic and enterprising population can forge for the North and the country.
Key partners in the bid co-ordinated by the Council on behalf of Bradford are National Media Museum and the University of Bradford together with a range of businesses and creative individuals and organisations.
The University, Council and Media Museum all have a proven track record in curating major exhibitions and cultural events (such as Bradford Festival, British Science Festival and major exhibitions at the Media Museum). The Exhibition will amplify the Media Museum’s development plans for £7.5m investment also timed for summer 2018.
Other strengths for Bradford are that it was the first to be designated as a UNESCO City of Film, the links Bradford has to the network of 116 UNESCO creative cities in 54 countries as well as the success of the Bradford Literature Festival.
The bid positioned Bradford as a global city in the heart of the North of England – with connections across the north and globally. Digital technology will be embraced to connect people and create cultural works, where visitors contribute to something unique, creating different experiences every day.
The latest and growing digital technologies such as the Internet of Things, computer gaming and augmented reality – the technology behind the recent hit game Pokémon Go will be included in the exhibition.
Bradford’s exhibition will merge culture, arts, design, research, education and innovation with Bradford’s spirit of invention and entrepreneurialism, to showcase excellence across the North.
Ideas for Bradford’s bid came from workshops with leading creative technologists, artists and partners including local businesses, colleges and organisations. Bradford’s bid received overwhelming messages of support from businesses and organisations across the district and regionally and nationally, which all enhanced the bid.
Council leader, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “I am delighted that we have made the shortlist as a host city for the Great Exhibition of the North.
“We have made excellent progress on city centre regeneration and with our young, diverse and enterprising population we believe there is no better place to host an exhibition of this scale.”
Kersten England, Chief Executive at Bradford Council, said: “It is excellent news that we have been shortlisted. Bradford has strengths in collaboration and partnership working – we’re best placed to welcome partners across the North to showcase northern excellence and we’ve received fantastic support for our bid from businesses and organisations in the district and beyond.”
The Government has appointed Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, to oversee the selection process and chair the board for the Great Exhibition of the North.
Shortlisted towns and cities will receive a visit from the judges in August and there will be an interview in early September.
Anyone can show their support on social media channels using the hashtag #BradfordGXn