CultureDale's Soft Launch Summary
January 19, 2024

Yesterday afternoon, Dean Clough's Crossley Gallery saw the official soft launch of CultureDale - Calderdale's 2024 Year of Culture!

With music and spoken word performances from the Music for the Many orchestra, Opal's Comet, Arvon, and Northern Rascals, the soft launch brought together an exemplary collection of the talent on offer throughout the borough which we hope to continually platform, promote, and encourage throughout the Year of Culture.

Opal's Comet and Mr Wilson's Second Liners performing

The event also featured passionate speeches on the importance of local culture and the need for its celebration through CultureDale, with Chairman and Managing Director of Dean Clough Jeremy Hall calling it:

"A testament to the spirit of our borough and the aspiration to weave culture and creativity into the fabric of everyone's lives"

Other speeches from West Yorkshire Mayor Tracey Brabin and Calderdale Mayor Ashley Evans highlighted the creativity and resiliency of our "small but mighty" borough, and the broader need for culture to support society's wellbeing and improve people's lives.

Colleagues from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England - our funders - also highlighted the unique heritage of the borough, and the desire to:

"Place heritage at the forefront and emphasise its importance in defining community identity, as well as using it to strengthen bonds between generations"

Calderdale Mayor Ashley Evans (left) and West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin (right) during their speeches

Thank you also to our other speakers Councillors Jane Scullion and Jenny Lynn and CalderdaleCreates Chair Laurie Sansom, who all highlighted specific examples of Calderdale's fantastic cultural offer, including the upcoming Anne Lister Birthday Week and People's Park Festival.

The past year has already been a big one for culture in West Yorkshire with LEEDS2023 highlighting the city as a vibrant cultural hotspot, as well as Kirklees Year of Music showcasing local pride at such a diverse musical heritage - with some events continuing into 2024! We are also delighted to be sharing the cultural spotlight with Wakefield's Our Year, particularly its innovative touring performance of The Hatchling. But our regional celebrations of culture won't be over come next year, with Bradford 2025 taking up the torch in celebration of their successful UK City of Culture bid!

A selection of the activities on offer

Throughout the event, guests were able to take part in craft activities including screen-printing CultureDale notebooks, lantern-making, doffing bobbins (in a nod to our borough's extensive clothworker heritage), and even helping to power a TV via the energy of a stationary bike. All these activities represent a taster of what's to come in the next year, with fun craft workshops, heritage events and, importantly, a focus on sustainable practices in line with Calderdale's Vision 2024 priorities.

Thank you to all our partners and colleagues for showing up to support the soft launch, we hope you all enjoyed the event and have come away eagerly anticipating the rest of what we have to offer in the coming year

The official launch of CultureDale will take place at The Piece Hall on the 13th April 2024, keep an eye out for details coming soon!

A big thank you from (some of) the CultureDale team!