The Bradford Pride of Place Project by The Caravan Gallery

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The Bradford Pride of Place  project was based in the vibrant and urban city of Bradford, exploring it’s past and present while discovering hidden gems in the city. The project was run by the two wonderful photographers, Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale, who together, form The Caravan Gallery. They are a non-profit organisation and their main aim is to capture the unusual and extra- ordinary side to the different cities in Britain. They travel around the UK with their yellow caravan (hence The Caravan Gallery), capturing the bizarre yet funny elements within the towns they visit and to show how everyday life can be filled with fun little surprises. Their pit-stop from 11 June to 11 July was the city of Bradford where they ran the Bradford Pride of Place Project at Fuse Art Space. They also have a major exhibition ‘extra {ordinary} Photographs of Britain’ at Impressions Gallery, free for all to see the towns they have been to so far and to take a gander at some striking photos. You’ll definitely find some genuine photos that truly display the extraordinary element of everyday life and some that will just make you laugh out loud. The exhibition continues until the 29 August.

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Going back to The Bradford Pride of Place Project, this  was open for everyone to come and to take a look inside and see the secrets of Bradford that you’ve never known before. Whether you’re a Bradfordian or a complete newbie to the city, one thing’s for sure, everyone learnt something new when they had taken a look at what this project had to offer.

Along with the main exhibition down at  Impressions Gallery, Jan and Chris were constantly taking photos of the urban city and exploring the hidden wonders that our city has to offer. And they where always looking for new spots in Bradford to explore. You could say that this project was based on what the people of Bradford have to say about their city, it relied on the contributions of local people, we called it an evolving exhibition all about Bradford. There were also a variety of activities to participate in within the project, giving everybody the chance to become part of a HUGE photography project.

One way that people became involved was through the photography competition, to showcase their best angle of Bradford. It was amazing to see the photos taken, seeing all the different possible angles of Bradford. Personally, my favourite photo will always be the toy pram stuck in the tree by Karol Wyszynski, how did it get stuck up there?

Karol Wyszynski, Dirkhill Rd - All Saints Rd

Dirkhill Road © Karol Wyszynski

Even though the competition ended on the opening night, there was still the opportunity for the avid photographers of Bradford to bring in their photos and to proudly put them on The People’s Wall. The main aim of The People’s Wall was to cover it with different items that were related to Bradford. So it didn’t have to be a photo, it could be a painting, a sketch, an old leaflet, the possibilities where endless! It was amazing to see the numerous items that people brought in, there were some photos that dated back to the 1930s. Another amazing piece was brought in from our own volunteer, Jason Feather, these were his childhood journals recording the paranormal activities in Bradford along with his wildlife journal it was truly amazing to see what little journeys Jason had been on as a child.

Something else that the people could contribute to was The People’s Map of Bradford. There was this huge map of Bradford on the wall and people had the chance to note down the secret locations of Bradford that might not be that well-known to the public.  I have to say that on the map, there where quite a few ghost sightings in Bradford. SPOOKY! You could say that the project was almost like a very eccentric Information Centre of Bradford, only this time round, the people are supplying The Caravan Gallery with the valuable information.

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There was also the chance to create an amazing postcard of Bradford, a unique collage of Bradford, or even a poster. I can proudly say that I made a postcard of the lovely Cottingley Fairies, looks almost professional.cottingley fairies

With the flood of people coming in throughout the month, there were a lot of interesting stories told about Bradford I found most of them were really enlightening. It seems that I was always learning something new about my home town through the stories that where brought in. For instance, I learnt that there used to be Bradford Dungeons near  Market Cross, that’s definitely something you don’t find in your tourist pack. One other story that is apparently well-known in Bradford is the tombstone of the mother with her baby in Undercliffe cemetery, the story being about; ‘Anne Wagstaff Barlow (1834-1867) and her daughter Sarah Elizabeth who survived just a few weeks after her birth in 1859.’ The tombstone itself is said to be quite breathtaking as it beholds the mother laying down with her baby at her side, something I definitely need to see soon!

The Bradford Pride of Place Project has been absolutely spectacular giving people the chance to share stories about their home town. I can say that it has definitely had a positive impact on Bradford and the people. I cant wait to see what The Caravan Gallery get up to at there next location as they open a new Pride of Place Project in Cardiff in October 2015.

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