Top Of Town Bradford

‘Top of Town Bradford’ brought together Bradford Museums Service and two schools to take a look and re-imagine a historic area of Bradford’s City Centre which is part of Bradford Townscape Heritage Scheme. Starting in Autumn 2019 this work focused on art, architecture and heritage in the ‘Top of Town’ area surrounding North Parade.

Students from Green Lane Primary School and New College Bradford worked with artists Naseem Darbey and Mahmud Manning to create maps and design based artwork.

Students visit Top of Town collecting details that caught their eye

The project began with a visit by each school to Cartwright Hall Art Gallery to examine art  in the gallery’s collections, as well as the architecture of the building, before students spent time looking at and creating their own art of the heritage area itself.  Using the Museum Services ‘Art and Science of Noticing’ approach students were able to reflect on what they were seeing whilst making links to themselves and taking inspiration from their surroundings.

Top Town Area map

The visits to Top of Town laid the foundations for the follow up work with the artists back in school.

Green Lane Primary School Year 4 pupils, working with artist Naseem Darbey, created their own ‘3D Top of Town’ map. It included recommendations for change, improvement and restoration of architecture of the area.

New College Bradford Year 12 students, working with artist Mahmud Manning, completed an A level Geography unit of work, Changing Places – Past and Present, Rebranding a Place. Their teacher said, ‘This project really did enrich students’ learning.’ They presented their observations and ideas in a concertina book which ‘took a line for a walk’ through Top of Town.

“Back at school they (the children) worked on a presentation selecting images and information to share with the other children. We discussed recommendations for change-including fixing buildings, which details needed saving and making a feature of. They did brilliantly.”
Artist Naseem Darbey

“The Town Heritage Project began a dialogue and enquiry which helped raise up the importance of the site … I would like to see how this project could be continued and lead to a further contribution to the urban regeneration which is proposed.”
Artist Mahmud Manning

Students from New College looking at images from Bradford Museums Photo Archive.
Students from New College looking at images from Bradford Museums Photo Archive.

The Bradford City Centre Townscape Heritage Scheme is a four year, £2 million grant programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bradford Council. It provides for financial assistance to property owners and tenants, to restore their historic buildings, within the parts of the Bradford city centre conservation area commonly known as the ‘Top of Town’.

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