Calderdale Year of Culture – the countdown is on!

Year of Culture soft launch group photo

A major event in Halifax brought together over 150 people to mark the countdown to the show-stopping Calderdale Year of Culture 2024, which is set to bring joy and inspiration to the whole borough and beyond from April.

The CultureDale(external link) ‘soft launch’ event at Dean Clough on Thursday 18 January 2024 built excitement for the Year of Culture ahead of its official opening ceremony in Halifax on 13 April 2024.

The local arts organisations that will deliver unique events in the Year of Culture programme were announced, and wowed the audience with music, dance and poetry performances that showcased what’s to come from April.

There were opportunities for people across the cultural sector to network; activities to inspire people to get creative with arts and crafts; displays highlighting what makes Calderdale’s culture special; and speeches from key supporters of CultureDale – the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin; the Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Jane Scullion; the Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn; the Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Ashley Evans; Arts Council England’s Director for Northern Economy and Partnerships, Pete Massey; Dean Clough’s Chairman and Managing Director, Jeremy Hall; Emma Copestake and Louise Clare from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; and Laurie Sansom from Calderdale Creates.

A special Year of Culture film was also unveiled, which is available to watch at link)

On 1 April 2024, Calderdale will reach its 50th birthday. The Council and its partner organisations are recognising this landmark moment with a celebration of culture because this is one of the qualities that makes the borough so distinctive.

Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said:

“Calderdale is continuing to develop its international profile as a place for culture, heritage, music and filming, with examples such as The Piece Hall in Halifax and productions like Happy Valley, Gentleman Jack and Marvel’s Secret Invasion putting the borough on the map.

“Our Year of Culture 2024 builds on this and will bring a wide variety of iconic events, festivals, exhibitions, performances and initiatives for everyone to enjoy from April 2024 to April 2025. The programme will reflect Calderdale’s rich history, amazing landscapes, incredible people, unforgettable characters, creativity, entrepreneurship, talent and diversity.

“The soft launch event inspired us to ‘Be bold. Be Creative. Be Imaginative. Be CultureDale.’. It showed that by investing in culture, we are investing in the wellbeing and prosperity of our place and our communities.”

The Council has already raised nearly £2 million from external grant support for the Year of Culture – including a contribution of £850,000 from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority – and is supporting local community groups with celebration plans.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said:

“It’s such an exciting time for West Yorkshire’s creative industries as we build towards Bradford UK City of Culture 2025 – with both Calderdale and Wakefield taking centre stage after Leeds and Kirklees’ successes.

“Showcasing our offer to the world with our Years of Culture is a once in a lifetime opportunity to bolster our region’s reputation as a creative crucible, where homegrown talent is nurtured and thrives.

“We’re inspiring and equipping the next generation of creatives to grow our economy and build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

Jeremy Hall, Chairman and Managing Director of Dean Clough, said:

“Dean Clough was delighted to host the soft launch of CultureDale as one of the most celebrated business and cultural destinations in the region.

“Calderdale’s Year Of Culture 2024 is a testament to the spirit of our borough with the aspiration to bring culture and creativity into the fabric of everyone’s lives. It feels very well timed, confident in the knowledge that our community’s creativity and dynamic energy will enrich and energise our collective futures.

“It’s about place making, it’s about enriching lives, and in the process promoting economic and social growth for the long-term benefit and value of our community.”

The local creative organisations delivering big projects and events as part of the Year of Culture are:

  • Mr Wilson’s Second Liners
  • Hebden Bridge Arts
  • Northern Rascals
  • Arvon
  • Everybody Arts
  • Curious Motion
  • IOU
  • Happy Valley Pride
  • Hebden Bridge Film Festival
  • Handmade Parade
  • Northern Broadsides

Events will include a community festival at People’s Park in Halifax, a children’s and families’ creative roadshow, a Youth Music Takeover, community-led performances – even on a canal boat – a creative writing festival, an arts and health festival, a film competition, and lots more to be announced.

The Council is also creating a list of ‘50 Things to Do in Calderdale’ by inviting people to share their favourite cultural gems in the borough. Whether it’s a local festival, a scenic park or walk, or a cherished venue or museum, help shape the list of 50 must-visit places and activities that make Calderdale unique and vibrant, by visiting link) and sharing your favourite cultural spot or activity by Sunday 25 February 2024 for the chance to win a prize.

Be inspired and dive into Calderdale’s Year of Culture at link)

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