Bradford is bidding to host the Great Exhibition of the North, a two-month spectacular to showcase the best of art, culture and design in the North of England to national and international audiences.
Towns and cities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire have been invited to submit proposals to stage the show in summer 2018.
The Great Exhibition is closely aligned to the Government’s flagship Northern Powerhouse initiative to help rebalance the UK economy.
The Bradford team will be promoting the city to the bid committee as an ambitious, confident and forward-looking place with a young and diverse population, strong business community, vibrant arts and cultural scene, great transport connections and excellent quality of life.
The city is home to many hundreds of innovative digital and advanced technology companies*, which benefit from some of the fastest broadband in the UK.
Susan Hinchliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said: “The renaissance underway in our proud city makes Bradford the perfect place to host the Great Exhibition of the North.”
The Government has promised to contribute £5 million towards the exhibition itself and a further £15 million into a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the Northern Powerhouse.
The exhibition will celebrate the great creative and cultural sectors across the North to help boost the economy in the region.
Kersten England, chief executive of Bradford Council since summer 2015, said: “Bradford has extraordinary strengths and these deserve more recognition.
“The city is at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and Bradford’s many successes in recent years should inspire everyone to be bold and confident about the future of the North of England.”
Clare Morrow, the former chairwoman of tourist agency Welcome to Yorkshire, is advising the bid team, which is led by Shelagh O’Neill, who was project director for the multi-award winning City Park water feature.
Arup, the global engineering consultancy, is providing input on venues and logistics and creative direction.
Jim Johnson, Leeds office leader at Arup, said: “Arup is very pleased to support Bradford’s bid for such an important exhibition for the whole of the North.
“We’re very excited at the prospect of contributing our skills to showcase creativity and innovation from across the region in this youthful, diverse and vibrant city.”
The bid team has sought the advice of a group of creative thinkers from the arts, technology and design fields.
It also wants as many as ideas as possible from Bradford schools, residents and workers.
Anyone can show their support on social media channels using the hashtag #bradfordGXn
The bid team is drafting a programme of exhibition events that will inspire, educate and inform and build on the strong sense of community in the North of England.
More details will be released in coming weeks ahead of the bid deadline on June 30.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Great Exhibition of the North is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the very best of northern art, culture and design.
“Not only will it showcase the innovation and imagination of the region but also give a real boost to local tourism and provide an important creative legacy.
“Bradford is a vibrant and diverse city, with a thriving arts and culture scene, and I am sure they will enter a strong bid.”
Chancellor George Osborne has asked Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, to over the project and chair the board for the Great Exhibition of the North.
Sir Gary, knighted for his services to tourism after bringing the Tour de France Grand Depart to Yorkshire in 2014, said: “The Great Exhibition of the North will showcase the best of our art, design and culture to the world in 2018 and will help bring the whole region together.
“I look forward to seeing the high quality bids from towns and cities across the North.”