Bradford in West Yorkshire is a true city of contrasts. From its rich industrial history which can still be felt today and the spiky edginess to be found in its clubs, bars and galleries, Bradford is not your average city.
A truly multicultural space, you can pad the city centre and mingle with people countries all over the world and from all walks of life. The birthplace of David Hockney, one of Britain’s greatest artists, Bradford also has a cultural and artistic heritage that rivals, well, just about anywhere. Not to mention the finest curry houses in the UK.
Here are our favourite art spots in Bradford.
National Media Museum
Formerly the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, the National Media Museum is the UK’s dedicated media hub. Across its eight floors you will find traditional and interactive galleries and two gallery spaces (which offer a changing programme of exhibitions). Not to mention the museum’s Pictureville, Cubby Broccoli and Imax cinemas – which are a must.
Current exhibition Open for Business is a nod to Bradford’s industrial past: it’s the story of contemporary British manufacturing and industry told through the lens of nine photographers who have photographed more than 100 workplaces.
Take a trip to Bradford’s vibrant Centenary Square and you will find an art gallery right in the heart of the city, namely Impressions Gallery, an independent space dedicated to contemporary photography.
Current Impressions exhibition "Day Dreaming About The Good Times?" is the first major retrospective of Bradford-born Paul Reas, who has charted Britain for decades, from the Thatcher era 1980s to 21st century recession. And keep your eyes peeled for Thirteen, an intriguing re-imagining of 13 Shakespeare characters by George Chakravarthi (starts mid-March).
Take a train from Bradford Forster Square station to the lovely Victorian model village of Saltaire (takes about ten minutes). There’ll you’ll find Grade II-listed Salts Mill, an art gallery, shopping and restaurant complex. It is housed inside a former mill built by Sir Titus Salt. Importantly, Salts Mill is home to one of the largest collections of David Hockney's art.
Cartwright Hall is Bradford’s civic art gallery and resides in Manningham, about a mile out of the city centre – you can hop on a bus or walk. It has four permanent galleries offering contemporary work, 19th century British art and south Asian arts and crafts.
Upcoming exhibition Sikh Fortress Turban (starts Feb 22nd) examines the Sikh turban and its role in Sikh faith and identity.
From Flogging A Dead Horse, 1989 - 1993 © Paul Reas / Courtesy of Impressions Gallery
National Museum of Photography, Film and Television
From The Valley's Project, 1985 © Paul Reas / Courtesy of Impressions Gallery