Lights, Camera, Bradford!

Representatives from UK UNESCO sites across the North of England are gathering in the world’s first UNESCO City of Film (Tuesday 21 November) to learn about Bradford’s rich film heritage, share experience and best-practice, and celebrate the power of UNESCO to work together with the region.

A workshop is being convened by the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the UK’s central coordinating body for UNESCO related-matters in the UK, in partnership with the Bradford UNESCO City of Film and the University of Bradford. The Wider Value of UNESCO to the North of England workshop will highlight the range of UNESCO designations in Northern England and encourage opportunities for collaboration.

Dr Beth Taylor, Chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO, said:

“It’s great to be in Bradford – home to the world’s first UNESCO City of Film and Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site. Both contribute outstanding work to UNESCO’s global network and help put this remarkable city on the international stage.”

“With Bristol becoming the UK’s second Creative City of Film in October 2017, we look forward to learning from Bradford about how it has used UNESCO to bring communities together, create a shared identity for the city, develop local partnerships, and give global recognition to Bradford’s contribution to the film world.

“I’m also looking forward to meeting representatives from different UNESCO designations right across the North of England, to exchange ideas about how we can work together to raise the profile of the communities we serve.”

As part of the celebrations, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain, will welcome UNESCO designations from across the North of England to a Civic Reception at City Hall. Bradford is also giving a special welcome to the guests, as Bradford’s City Hall clock tower and the 145 led fountains in the mirror pool will be turned into a UNESCO shade of UN blue in their honour.

As well as representatives from Bradford UNESCO City of Film, attendees will include representatives from the recently inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lake District, and the two new UNESCO Creative Cities, Manchester (Literature) and Bristol (Film).

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Environment, Sport and Culture Portfolio, Bradford Council said:

“It is a great pleasure to welcome UNESCO to Bradford a city with a rich and varied built heritage and an equally rich and diverse cultural heritage. We’ve worked hard to make the UNESCO designations in Bradford work for the City and the wider district and look forward to sharing our experience with other cities and designations.”

David Wilson, Director of Bradford UNESCO City of Film said:

When Bradford joined the Creative Cities Network as the world’s first UNESCO City of Film in 2009 there were 19 cities in the worldwide network. As of the 31 October 2017 there are now 188 cities in 72 countries! All of these cities have given a commitment to try to use culture and creativity to try to ensure that cities thrive in the future and that there are opportunities for all of society to be engaged. Here in Bradford we are using the designation in a wide range of scenarios from education through to driving inward investment and tourism. We’re proud of what we have achieved so far but realise there is so much more potential to go further.”

The workshop follows research conducted by the UK National Commission for UNESCO which found that UNESCO sites in England generated £79 million from 2014-15 through their association with UNESCO. The research also found that by leveraging the powerful UNESCO brand and collaborating with the global UNESCO network, UNESCO sites including Saltaire World Heritage Site and Bradford UNESCO City of Film can access new programme, partnership and funding opportunities.

UNESCO Creative Cities are part of a global network of cities that have placed creativity at the heart of their strategy for local economic and social development.