£800,000 project to transform Bradford into a capital of young digital creativity unveiled

PLANS to propel Bradford to the national forefront of digital creativity in schools have been unveiled.

The £800,000 initiative, backed by Arts Council England, will see 1,200 teenagers from schools where a high proportion of students don’t currently engage with mainstream definitions of culture to become digital creators – and not just digital users.

The Bradford Digital Creatives schools project was launched in front of more than 300 pupils and teachers attending Salts Mill to mark the first anniversary of Age of Wonder – the biggest health study of adolescents in the world and the latest strand to the wider Born in Bradford (BiB) research programme.

Adding an extra dimension to Age of Wonder (AoW), the project not only aims to expand creative and cultural education for children, but also to improve health and wellbeing through creative activity.

Over the next two years, it will grow one of the biggest clusters of home-grown young digital talent outside London, increasing capacity for the national moment of Bradford becoming UK City of Culture in 2025.

Children will work with data scientists and exceptional national and international artists in pop-up studios from September 2023 to July 2025.

They will co-create and present digital stories about themselves, their pasts, and their futures in a project that breaks new ground in the way it promotes creative activities inside schools.

Work will be shared in their schools and in their local communities through digital projects using immersive technologies and large-scale projection and sound and with national and international audiences through a new digital festival in 2025.

The project, led by BiB and Age of Wonder, is developed and delivered in partnership with Bradford Council, Bradford 2025, Bradford Culture Education Partnership, the National Science and Media Museum.

Professor John Wright, Director of the Bradford Institute of Health Research at Bradford Royal Infirmary said:

This is a unique opportunity for schools to become part of an innovative research partnership with the NHS – evidencing the impact of creativity on young lives to shape national policy and practice.

As the UK’s youngest city, where children are learning to swipe before they write, this will create a platform for them to create technology – not just consume it.

Widening access to live events, spaces, equipment and software, as well as extraordinary creative artists, will develop their creative skills and potential in an unprecedented way.

“We will build and upskill a cohort of new young creatives with unheard stories, from some of the seldom reach communities in the UK, ready for the national moment of BD25.”

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of the National Science and Media Museum said:

We are delighted to be a partner in the Bradford Digital Creatives project. Broadening access to culture for young people in Bradford and inspiring their creativity is central to the work we do here at the National Science and Media Museum. We can’t wait to hear the stories that come out of this vital project and I’m sure we’ll see its impact for a long time to come.

Rhiannon Hannon, Head of Engagement, Bradford 2025 said:

We are committed to creating environments where young people can develop new skills and tell their own stories through multiple art forms. Bradford is a district with a high proportion of young people and a rich history of innovation and DIY culture. Digital Creatives is an Arts Council project of National Significance that will support young people to form active, critical and ethical relationships with digital media, redefining who tells these stories and who decides how they are told.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said:

We’re looking forward to unlocking the talent within the district and providing young people with the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s leading professionals. As we know, the digital space is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and it’s important for the district, in the lead up and beyond Bradford City of Culture 2025, to adapt and provide creative opportunities so young people can thrive.


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