Bradford

Watch the 20 years in 12 places: Bradford video
HLF has awarded grants worth a total of £26.5m to projects in Bradford*, equivalent to £79.32 per resident.

The value of individual grants awarded have varied, ranging from £6.1m for the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, to £8,000 for the Bradford Lost Ancient Woodland project.

Findings

Bradford has a large and diverse population.  It has underperformed economically over the last 20 years and has high levels of unemployment relative to the rest of the UK.

Bradford’s economic challenges are reflected in the findings of both the quantitative and the qualitative research. Whilst 58% of Bradford’s residents agree that it is a good place to live, this is lower than the other 11 research locations. Furthermore, 56% of residents say the area is getting worse, compared with an average of 26% across the 12 research locations. 

“There was a wave of negativity because of the riots, the economy and the crime. Heritage stopped Bradford going under, I think.”

Positively, residents and stakeholders value Bradford’s cultural diversity (and particularly its impact on local food), and praised the city’s parks and the surrounding countryside.

Despite concerns about the area, attachment to local heritage is strong. This is in part because of the role it plays in promoting local pride, and in offering residents a counter-narrative to the perceived negative views of Bradford held in the country more widely.

Self-reported knowledge of local heritage is higher in Bradford than the average: 42% of residents say they know a lot about local heritage (the average is 34%). In the workshop, participants spoke with pride about the local heritage offer. While in Bradford, as well as elsewhere, participants’ understanding of heritage initially focused on the physical infrastructure of the city, they expanded on this to include stories about industry and the local dialect. More so than in other workshops, there was a strongly personal and familial conception of heritage in Bradford, especially among British Asian participants.  

“It makes you proud to be from somewhere that has something different, some identity. Without it, you’d be in just any place.”

Despite their pride in local heritage, agreement that it has improved is lower in Bradford than the average for this research (48% compared with 64%). Workshop participants and stakeholders agreed that heritage could be better promoted, and called for greater engagement of residents, particularly through publicity. 

About the research

Bradford was one of the locations selected for all strands of research. Background data was collected to understand how the city has changed since HLF’s inception. Six interviews were then conducted with local stakeholders (including, for example, two representatives from the community/voluntary sector, and one from local government). To understand the public’s perspective, 350 local residents took part in a telephone survey, and a half-day workshop was held with 14 residents. 

The workshop was structured to include a combination of table and plenary sessions, as well as a range of exercises, (for example, participants were asked to design and fill-in a funding application form), and presentations from two representatives from local heritage projects.

Heritage projects in Bradford

The research project focused on the following heritage sites and projects, which are also reflected in this map.

*Grants awarded to projects in the Bradford research area up to September 2013.

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