Bradford is the ideal place to explore aspiration and belonging in a nation at a crossroads.
Once the ‘wool capital of the world’, the city declined in the post-war era – although its textile industry still drew workers from Europe and Asia.
Today, a third of its citizens are from ethnic minorities, and it has one of the country’s largest Muslim communities. Social unrest has simmered, but ‘tension monitoring’ initiatives have kept the peace. It’s also one of the UK’s youngest cities – nearly one in four residents are under 16. Regeneration is underway – underpinned in part by EU funding – and there are thriving financial, manufacturing, creative and digital industries. But Brexit threatens investment and poor transport links are hampering growth.
The future is uncertain, yet hopes are high and grassroots leaders are driving renewal with energy and pride. This Northern Powerhouse city has much to teach us about community resilience – and the complex links between past, present and future.