A NEW project from the Bradford Literature Festival (BLF) will launch next month to help people feel connected at a time of isolation amid the Covid-19 lockdown. 

Bradford Inspired will include a wealth of free-to-access creative projects using digital technology to inspire and engage people across the district.

BLF director Syima Aslam said the initiative would be an opportunity to “give something back”.

“We’re celebrating themes of community and connection, hope and creativity, which are now more important than ever before through film, music and storytelling,” she said.

“We are working hard to ensure as much of this programme as possible is also accessible off-line for families in digital and data poverty. 

“We’re grateful to the Home Office for making the funds available for this project and hope that we can help people feel less isolated and more uplifted, at this incredibly challenging time.”

Highlights of the Bradford Inspired programme include: a digital-storytelling project entitled ‘Aladdin and the Stolen Stories’ which will be made available for free to children and families across the district; the commissioning of a series of film poems on the theme of ‘When All of This is Over’, pairing renowned poets with talented filmmakers to share their personal experiences of the last year; a series of short auto-biographical films featuring inspirational women of South Asian Muslim heritage; a series of creative-writing workshops for men, plus a series of workshops delivered in conjunction with women’s centres across Bradford exploring topics such as literacy, empowerment and advocacy. The project is funded by Building A Stronger Britain Together.

At a time when the Covid-19 crisis has had a huge impact, it’s hoped Bradford Inspired will ensure those who have faced hardship are still able to access and enjoy festival events and activity.

The various strands of the project will support connection within communities through digital and other cultural activities; offer opportunities for shared cultural experiences; deliver high quality new artistic work by a diverse roster of artists in the UK and overseas;  develop creative skills; raise aspirations, and  inspire a message of hope that looks ahead to a positive future for the communities of Bradford beyond the pandemic. 

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Now more than ever people want to feel a connection with each other and feel hope for the future, so it’s great that our residents can access these events for free online and have some good cultural experiences during these difficult times. 

“I hope that lots of people from across our communities take part and enjoy them. 

“Culture is a key part of our ambitious plans for the district as we all look towards a more hopeful future.”

For more details, visit www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk, where the full programme of events is available to view.