Spirit of 2012 has awarded funding to Leeds Culture Trust and Bradford Culture Company, the organisations behind LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture and Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture respectively. The funding will enable the two organisations to share information, learnings and create collaboration across West Yorkshire’s arts and cultural sector, to empower Bradford to build on all that Leeds has learnt and strengthen the region’s reputation for creating major cultural events.

Our £250,000 funding will be invested in the Shared Cultural Futures project from September 2023 until April 2024. This will support the professional development of individuals, promote sustainability, ensure access and inclusion, and enhance the effectiveness and connectiveness of major events. There will be a series of roundtables, forums, and online and in person participatory events that will have a particular focus on volunteering and efficient knowledge transfer. Through sharing experiences and offering insight into engaging with local organisations and evaluation, Bradford will progress and grow the relationships and networks Leeds have been developing during their Year of Culture.

A fast track programme and buddy system will be set up this autumn in order that new volunteers from Bradford can be paired with their contemporaries from Leeds to be involved in the final projects taking place for LEEDS 2023, as well as selected ‘runway’ events for Bradford 2025.

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012, said:

“We are really pleased to support this collaboration and knowledge share between LEEDS 2023 and Bradford 2025. Capitals and Cities of Culture designations can change communities for the better and have a significant positive impact across the region in ways that can be felt long after the festival is over. The achievements of the team at Leeds put them in a great position to use their learning to set Bradford up for success as the next UK City of Culture.”


Kully Thiarai, Creative Director and CEO for LEEDS 2023 said: “This is a real opportunity for us to communicate all we’ve learnt during our Year of Culture with our neighbours and friends in Bradford but also more broadly with other organisations, networks and events in the region. Part of the legacy for LEEDS 2023 is that we help share good practice and skills to those continuing to work across cultural projects in order that they can build on what’s been started; ensuring our region remains an example of how culture can make a real difference to our communities, our cities and the regional economy.”

Dan Bates, Executive Director for Bradford 2025 said: “There is always something to learn from other organisations, particularly those working at scale, and we are looking forward to working with the Spirit of 2012 and LEEDS 2023 teams to carry on the work they have been doing across the cultural sector. In liaising with previous UK and European designated Cities of Culture, as well as cities who have created their own years of culture, we will ensure Bradford 2025 makes its own mark for those in the district and beyond; these events are real opportunities to make long term positive change and we welcome any chance to share learnings and build upon what has come before us.”


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