BRADFORD has been named UK City of Culture 2025!

Bradford district has been announced the winner of the hotly-contested competition - beating County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough - live on BBC1’s The One Show by the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries.

READ MORE: Live updates as Bradford celebrates City of Culture 2025 title win

Winning the title will bring an estimated extra £700 million, into the district, creating 3,000 jobs and attracting around 1.1 million visitors.

Shanaz Gulzar, Chair of Bradford 2025, said the “fantastic result” is “down to the ambition, belief and hard work of thousands of people across the district who were behind our bid”.

She added: “This is a huge opportunity to celebrate our extraordinary cultural heritage and for our young, diverse population - who have been so involved in shaping our bid - to become leaders and change-makers and begin a new chapter in our story. Bradford has been overlooked and underestimated for so long - it’s now our time to shine.”

After the announcement on tonight's One Show, Shanaz said: "I'm thinking of our young people, their hopes and ambitions. We're going to party all night!"

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said: “No city deserves this more.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The moment Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced Bradford as the winner on The One ShowThe moment Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced Bradford as the winner on The One Show

Bradford, which takes the prestigious title from City of Culture 2021 Coventry, will now receive initial seed funding of £275,000 to begin preparation for a year of groundbreaking cultural activities in 2025

The winner was approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice from a panel of experts led by TV writer-producer Sir Phil Redmond.

Nadine Dorries said: “Congratulations to Bradford, which is a worthy winner of UK City of Culture 2025.

“Art and culture should be accessible to everyone and this prestigious title will help Bradford deliver unforgettable events for communities on their doorstep. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The City Park crowd's joyous reaction as Bradford's name is called as the City of Culture 2025The City Park crowd's joyous reaction as Bradford's name is called as the City of Culture 2025

“Coventry has shown us how powerful the UK City of Culture title is at boosting investment, attracting visitors and leaving a lasting legacy for local people.”  

The judges were impressed by the ambition of Bradford’s bid which, at its centre, celebrates the place where people live, the power of diversity and aims to create new opportunities for everyone.  The bid encouraged strong local engagement with artists and residents, focused on creating a sense of local pride. 

Sir Phil Redmond said: “The selection is never about whether one bid is better than another, it is more that one bid has the potential to make a bigger and deliverable impact. For 2021 we asked Coventry to raise the bar previously set by Derry-Londonderry 2013 and then raised by Hull 2017. Challenged by the pandemic, Coventry have certainly done that and I am looking forward to seeing how far the cultural bar can be raised in BD25.”

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive, Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “Congratulations to Bradford on winning the UK City of Culture title for 2025. This will be a truly remarkable time for your city and we look forward to supporting you as you prepare to celebrate all that is special about Bradford in 2025.”

As part of its status as UK City of Culture 2025, Bradford will be eligible for a £3 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and now has three years to prepare for a year of groundbreaking cultural activities. 

Winning the title is a game-changer for the district; with longterm benefits including increased employment, new investment, enhanced skills, renewed pride, greater cultural capacity and more opportunities to participate in arts and cultural activities.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Is Lit Festival. Picture: Visit BradfordBradford Is Lit Festival. Picture: Visit Bradford

Bradford’s year of culture is set to deliver more than 1,000 events, including 365 artist commissions, a series of major arts festivals and national and international collaborations, with themes rooted in the heritage and character of Bradford.

Tracy Brabin added: “The entire year will be a fitting showcase for the incredible cultural and artistic talent in this amazing city.”

Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “We’re delighted that our district has been recognised in this way. Being UK City of Culture brings with it so many opportunities for people, not only in terms of creativity and culture, but also for employment, attracting inward investment, boosting the local economy and opening up opportunities for young people to enhance their skills.

"The way that people from across the district have got behind the bid and the confidence people are now starting to show, the Bradford district has started to come to life like never before.”

Bradford’s win is the culmination of a three-year campaign. Bradford 2025, in partnership with Bradford Council, has backed a series of spectacular projects offering a glimpse into what its City of Culture year could look like.

These included a new public artwork programme; Bradford is LIT, a light festival visited by more than 20,000 people last November; The Mills Are Alive in Manningham, a large-scale projection illuminating the landmark Lister Mills chimney, and Filmmakers 2025.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bradford’s bid team says preparations for Bradford 2025 have generated a new confidence in the area’s creative sector, which has secured £2 million for The Leap, the city’s Creative People and Places programme, and £1.5 million for Bradford Producing Hub - one of only two pilot projects in the UK receiving funds to develop local talent.

Earlier this year saw the launch of ‘The Unit’, a new resource in the city for filmmakers, a partnership with Bradford Council backed by Channel 4 as part of its ongoing partnership and investment in the district.

The facility is the first milestone in an ambitious 10-year vision for the screen sector in the district, as set out in Bradford Council’s As Seen on Screen Strategy.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Celebrations in City Park as the announcement is made on BBC's The One ShowCelebrations in City Park as the announcement is made on BBC's The One Show

Business partners officially supporting the bid include Bradford Bulls, Emerald Group Publishing, Group Alfa, Jinnah Group, Morrisons, Rushbond PLC, The Broadway and Yorkshire Building Society. The campaign has also seen new collaborations between the University of Bradford and Bradford Council.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We are delighted that Bradford has been given the prestigious title of City of Culture 2025. We are looking forward to working with Bradford to make their programme an amazing success and to help share its fascinating heritage on a worldwide stage

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“We look forward to the exciting opportunities it will bring to the people of Bradford now and into the future. Congratulations Bradford!”

David Potts, CEO of Morrisons, said: “We’re thrilled that Bradford district has won the UK City of Culture title for 2025. Morrisons is rooted in Bradford and we are proud to have supported this bid from the outset. We look forward to playing our part to ensure 2025 is a memorable year for Bradford.”

Lord Mendoza, the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery & Renewal, said: “I am confident that Bradford will prove an outstanding City of Culture. I am fortunate enough to have visited Bradford over the last two years.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Celebrations in City ParkCelebrations in City Park

"The city’s political, business and cultural leaders have a passionate commitment to creative innovation. Together they demonstrate that culture has the power to increase a place’s vibrancy and civic pride. Coventry's success has shown that culture also has the power to drive major inward investment. "

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “Being named UK City of Culture is awe-inspiring and life-enhancing, creating happier lives for residents and visitors alike.

“Creativity is all about telling stories and this title unlocks a whole new narrative for a city. We saw it in Hull, we’ve seen it again in Coventry.  As Bradford takes over, I’m excited to see how this great city will soar to new creative heights between now and the end of 2025 thanks to the work of brilliant artists, performers, creators and curators.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Skinder Hundal, Director Arts, British Council, said: “A massive Congratulations to Bradford for being selected as the next City of Culture 2025. This year-long celebration will showcase Bradford’s unique qualities and open its cultural life to the rest of the world, the UK and local communities. The British Council look forward to supporting Bradford’s international ambitions and seeing the city’s culture, creativity and artistic excellence put firmly on the map.”

A Bradford 2025 transition team will now kick-start a recruitment drive to appoint a Creative Director and a Managing Director to lead the delivery of the district’s bid. The roles are set to be in place this year, with the recruitment of a wider delivery team to follow.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Celebrations in City Park tonightCelebrations in City Park tonight

Awarded every four years by the Government, the UK City of Culture title has had a transformational impact on previous host cities, securing millions of pounds of investment.

Bradford district’s bid is backed by Bradford Council, with the University of Bradford as a strategic partner. Bradford 2025 is driven by the Cultural Place Partnership which includes Bradford Council, University of Bradford and other representatives of the cultural sector and national funders.

The bid forms part of Culture is Our Plan - Bradford Council’s cultural strategy until 2031.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

Have you got a story for us? Email us here or call us on 01274 705292.