#commscampnorth: Why Bradford?

Having been to both the Commscamp North events in Manchester and Sheffield, I’m am now helping to bring this fantastic public sector comms event to Bradford, a place with much to offer.

The Bradford District is one of the largest local authority areas in England with one of the fastest growing economies. Over 537,000 people live in the varied and diverse Bradford District and Bradford is one of the youngest cities in Europe. 29% of its population is under 20 and nearly a quarter is under 16.

As well as the city of Bradford, the district includes several popular towns and villages and large beautiful rural areas with lovely countryside. Among the district’s towns and villages are the World Heritage village of Saltaire, and Haworth, which gave the world the Brontë sisters.

Saltaire, a World Heritage Village

The world’s first City of Film

In 2009 Bradford was named the world’s first UNESCO City of Film. You might be surprised just how many films or TV programmes have been filmed in the Bradford District. To name just a few, Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey, The King’s Speech, The Railway Children, Emmerdale, Funny Cow, Gentleman Jack, Billy Liar, Victoria, Official Secrets and Coronation Street have all used settings in the Bradford District as filming locations.

The Pictureville cinema in Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum is one of only three public venues in the world that can still show 3-strip Cinerama. It’s a sight to behold if you ever get the chance. The museum’s annual Widescreen Weekend film festival in October 2019 will be your next chance to experience it.

As well as the National Science and Media Museum, the Bradford District is home to several other brilliant and celebrated museums and galleries, such as Cartwright Hall, Cliffe Castle Museum, Bollilng Hall, Bradford Industrial Museum and the Impressions Gallery.

Bradford is home to the oldest concert hall still in use in the UK. St George’s Hall dates from 1853 and is looking better than ever after a recent refurbishment.

The water fountain in Bradford’s City Park can shoot water 100 feet into the air. That’s the highest of any British water fountain. With a bit of luck you might see this fountain action when you are in Bradford for Commscamp North.

City Park, Bradford
The central fountain in Bradford’s City Park

Bradford helped England’s men lift the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Both Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid are from Bradford.

Bradford has more listed buildings than anywhere outside London with 5,700 listed buildings in the district. You will see several of these as you walk through the city centre to get to Commscamp North including the Wool Exchange. Now a Waterstones book shop, it is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the country, if not the world.

Bradford Wool Exchange
Bradford’s Waterstones, in the old Wool Exchange

A City of Curry, a City of Culture

There is always a curry the night before a Commscamp for people who choose to arrive early and stay the night. As Bradford was named Curry Capital of Britain for a record six years in a row (2011 to 2016) there will be no shortage of places to dine out. In fact one of my biggest challenges in helping Dan to plan for Commscamp North is which of the many great places to choose for the curry.

With all this rich culture, it is not surprising that Bradford is bidding to be the 2025 UK City of Culture.

We are hoping that the Northern Powerhouse Rail project comes to fruition to better join up the north and put Bradford in the middle of an important train route from Manchester to Leeds. In the meantime, Bradford is currently served by two train stations with direct regular trains connecting it to Manchester, the north west, North Yorkshire and Leeds. So wherever you live, it’s not going to be too difficult to get to Commscamp North.

The venue, Kala Sangam

The venue we have chosen for Commscamp North is Kala Sangam, an arts centre in a converted Post Office sorting depot next to Bradford Cathedral. Kala Sangam is in a grand old building with many perfectly sized rooms for Commscamp sessions.

Find out more about Commscamp North in Bradford, how to get your tickets and what to expect on the day.