I am now entering my third year as a member of our 15-strong Creativity Council. We act as a committee or a steering group, reviewing applications for training and funding; help the project think about all the different communities in Bradford and what they want and need; and create new ideas.

I reached my 2nd year on the council as we were still in the midst of Covid-19. At that time, I reflected upon how vital that time with my fellow council members had been. It gave a sense of purpose and connection, when a lot of other creative activities had fallen away, the council still met, albeit remotely. In fact most of our existence has been remote but testament to BPH an their resolve, they somehow still delivered a vital programme to sustain those in the creative sector in Bradford.

Throughout this process I’ve gained so much from being part of the council. Supporting work that is made in Bradford and that so strongly represents Bradford stories is very gratifying. We talk a lot about ‘Bradfordness’ in our meetings. Whilst hard to define, it probably conjures up a lot of different thoughts for people that have had the good fortune of spending any amount of time in Bradford. With the support of Make Work grants we are now seeing those experiences represented on stages or in unconventional performance spaces and to critical acclaim.

For my own personal practice, the experiences I get from being on the council are invaluable too. Sitting on the other side of the table evaluating funding applications, as opposed to requesting funding, has given me a great insight in what it takes to make a successful application. I see how easy it is, when caught up in the passion of your big idea, to miss the small but crucial details a funder needs. BPH is an ideas-led funder, so as long as you can succinctly put across your idea, you’re in with a chance. It’s not about using a secret code or buzz words, you don’t have to have a glittering portfolio or track record. I really hope other funders take note and adopt some of the processes BPH uses in awarding grants. The sooner the better.

In this third year of the Creativity Council there is much to look forward to. With the amazing news that Bradford is to be CIty of Culture in 2025, there will no doubt be more interest (and hopefully more investment) in the arts in Bradford. I’ve no doubt BPH and the members of the council will have a big role to play in 2025.

In the much nearer future, some members of the council have got together to produce an event, ‘BD Creative Constellations’. On the 3rd September 10am-5pm at Oastler Shopping Centre- a jam-packed programme of indoor theatre, dance, poetry and art. FREE to attend and suitable for families and children of all ages! Follow the event on facebook.