OVER a third of this year’s events at Bradford Literature Festival will be held at the University of Bradford.

The university has been one of the main partners of the festival since it was set up in 2014, and this year will be hosting the first Bradford Comico, a celebration of comics, among dozens of other events.

Now in its fourth year, the festival has seen huge growth since its inception in 2014, welcoming audiences upwards of 50,000 last July.

Partnerships with organisations in Bradford such as the university have enabled the festival to meet its ambitions, now boasting the title of ‘most diverse UK festival’, with an extensive free schools programme and an ethical pricing policy which is leading the way in culture sector engagement.

This year there will be more than 500 speakers involved in over 400 events across the ten-day festival period (June 29 to July 8).

The University of Bradford continues to play an important role in the festival, also growing its involvement year-on-year. As one of the primary festival venues, opening its doors to host a large section of the festival programme, the university campus is also home to the Bradford Literature Festival offices.

The festival will provide a showcase for some of the world-renowned academics who call the university their home.

With six academics speaking at a variety of this year’s events, visitors will get a chance to hear from some of the university’s experts on topics ranging from dementia and the Middle East to artificial intelligence and conflict resolution.

Alongside the public events, the University of Bradford also hosts Bradford Literature Festival’s extensive schools outreach programme, which reached more than 12,000 students in 2017.

This year both the festival and the university have made strides to grow the offering to schools, and will welcome both primary and secondary students onto campus for six dedicated schools’ days, made up of Key Stage-specific workshops, interactive shows, theatre performances, poetry and more.

The programme, which is free to schools within the Bradford district, will reach more than 20,000 schoolchildren across almost one hundred individual events.

Director of External Affairs at the university, Mark Garratt, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be in a room with some of the world’s leading experts.

“The Bradford Literature Festival has grown from strength to strength each year and we are proud to be involved in such a positive thing for the city.”

Festival Director Syima Aslam added: “We are delighted to be continuing our relationship with the University of Bradford which has nurtured the festival since its inception. The festival showcases ideas and innovations from across all sectors, from AI to the latest thinking on Brexit, and it is a privilege to grow and strengthen our relationship with university by involving world-renowned academics and experts from a range of disciplines. It also an honour to welcome distinguished alumni back to Bradford. The festival and the university have a shared passion for creating a brighter future for our city through tangible investment in young people, raising aspirations and celebrating achievements. It has been a pleasure to work with the university to put this passion into practice.”

Chris Young