Last Friday, the team got to enjoy a demo of Live Cinema‘s “fulldome” immersive experience, thanks to Kate Wellham, a Bradford-based expert in 360º video, virtual reality and livestreaming.
Kate got in touch to see if we might be able to host a demo for the city’s creatives and so we invited our colleagues at The Unit to arrange the visit.

 

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Kate has been working with Live Cinema on a project called Surround Stories, bringing artists into fulldome to make new work, and growing awareness of the fulldome medium.
We got to enjoy a couple of these works over the course of Friday afternoon as Kate and Michaela answered questions about the technology and the kind of stories which can be told with the format.

We recently caught up with Aïcha Bahij – creator of This Is The Home Of Change – to reflect on the wonderful mural she created for our hub. It was a thrill watching her work and so we wanted to hear her perspective on the development of the mural, her inspirations and what she’s working on next.

Tell us about how This Is The Home Of Change came about and what your brief and approach was?

The brief was to celebrate Bradford’s past, present and future, with an emphasis on femininity, in line with the Hub’s mission to support female entrepreneurship and the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Gender Equality and Reducing Inequality.

With any project of this depth, I always start with research. Fortunately, I work at the University of Bradford library, where there’s an abundance of archive material on Bradford’s past – it led me to discover characters I was familiar with and those I was not.

For present day Bradford, I spoke to friends and colleagues about current people and events that were going on in the city that I could include.

What was your process on working on something of this scale?

This was only the second mural I’d worked on. The first was on the walls of the cafe at Cartwright Hall. The theme was inspired by Keats’ The Human Seasons, reminding us of the relationship between humans and nature at a time when we seek to protect our environment.

That experience taught me a lot about scale and how to turn the images I draw on paper, into something immersive where I felt I was inside my artwork. But, as with any piece of artwork, there’s also an element of trial and error: Does this colour work? Nope! Let’s try another!

We saw you were having lots of fun in the Hub working on the mural; tell us a little about some of the others who helped out along the way.

Haha! Yes, I roped in family, friends, and unsuspecting passers-by into helping me colour in the mural! The whole ethos of the Hub is community engagement, bringing people together to inspire and discover, to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

On that note, I would like to thank the following people…

What’ll you be working on next?

The next project I am working on is called Ambiguities (aka 10 paces, bro!). It will be looking at the myriad identities of Muslim women – public perception vs self-perception.

For the public perception, I will be doing interviews with the participants, asking them about their experiences growing up with these multiple identities – the prejudices and expectations they may have, both from outside and within the Muslim community.

For the self-perception, I’ll be painting their portraits to reflect an aspect of themselves that the people might not necessarily expect from Muslim women.

You can find out more about Aïcha at okayaicha.co.uk

Last week saw the launch of The Unit, our new partnership with Keighley Creative, backed by Channel 4 and Bradford Council – to create and access space for content creators and filmmakers in the Bradford district.

The launch saw the Hub host around 70 people, drawn from the Unit’s stakeholder organisations and the wider screen sector in the district and the region. Over some great food from My Lahore and expert MC-ing duties from our CEO Kamran, we enjoyed some brief talks from…

We also introduced The Unit’s team – Banita Bangar, Jordon Scott Kennedy and Jacqui Griffin – and encouraged guests to take a look at the space and equipment we’ve setup for filmmakers and content creators. Our own hosts, Aila and Esha were on hand to capture messages of support which you’ll find on the noticeboard inside The Unit!

You can find our more about The Unit at unitbradford.com, do get in touch with Banita, Jordon and Jacqui if you’d like to find out more. In the meantime, here’s a quick introduction to the programme…

We’re really pleased to be opening applications for the second round of the Social Enterprise Support Fund in just under two weeks time, offering grants between £10k and £100k.

The fund’s aim is to support social entrepreneurs in England to get their social enterprises back on track, and particularly those working with communities that are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund’s partners – Big Issue Invest, Key Fund, Resonance, School for Social Entrepreneurs and UnLtd, backed by the National Lottery Community Fund – are working towards a benchmark of more than 50% of grantees across the fund being disabled and / or from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background. They are also particularly encouraging applications from enterprises led by those with direct lived experience of the social issues they are trying to solve.

The final round opens at 1pm on the 28th February and will close for new applications and submissions on Thursday 24th March 2022. We advise you to start your application early so that you have plenty of time to get it just right and access any support that you might need.

Find out more about the criteria and how you can apply – sesupportfund.org.uk

Earlier this month we welcomed Aila Malik – via the government’s Kickstarter programme – to join the team as the first of our new Community Hosts. The hosts  will play a key role in creating a positive and welcoming experience for members and guests of the Hub. They’re the first point of contact in the space and the ones whom everyone will know as their ‘go-to’ person for anything they need help with.

We asked Aila to introduce herself and share a little about herself and what she hopes to achieve in the coming months…

Hi I have recently joined the team at Impact Hub Bradford as a Community Host, a lot of good things have happened it my life lately, I converted to Islam and am trying to learn and practice to the best of my ability. I recently got married and have enjoyed being introduced to a new lifestyle. I really enjoy cooking for the family and love getting together for a chat and chai, since being married I have really appreciated being part of a big family and love the time we spend together. Myself and my husband breed exquisite cats- British shorthairs and Bengals. They are very desirable as their look is very unique.

During my time at Impact Hub Bradford, I would like to set up a number of workshops to give people more opportunities to make the changes that they thought were impossible; to coach people to use existing skills; to develop new and ongoing ideas, giving someone that chance to recognise their dreams and achieve as much as possible. I am already enjoying being part of the team and I am really looking forward to being a part of upcoming projects and events here.

Do drop by and say hello to Aila; she’ll be able to answer any questions you have about our space, our membership plans and our programmes and will enjoy sharing a cuppa with you.

In the meantime, we’re looking for a second Community Host to work alongside Aila – find out more on our Careers page.

We’re very excited to announce the opening of applications for Unltd’s Social Enterprise Support Fund – offering grants between £10k – £100k – is open for applications from 25th November and that Impact Hub Bradford will be working with Unltd to assist Bradford’s social innovators and social entrepreneurs in applying for the fund.

The fund’s aim is to support social entrepreneurs in England to get their social enterprises back on track, and particularly those working with communities that are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund is being delivered through partners UnLtd, The School for Social Entrepreneurs, Resonance, Big Issue Invest and Key Fund, made possible by the National Lottery Community Fund. The partners are working towards a benchmark of more than 50% of grantees across the fund being disabled and / or from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background. They are also particularly encouraging applications from enterprises led by those with direct lived experience of the social issues they are trying to solve.

The first round went live at 1pm on the 25th November and will close for new applications and submissions on Tuesday 21st December. We advise you to start your application early so that you have plenty of time to get it just right and access any support that you might need! There will be another opportunity to apply over the next three months, with the second-round reopening in February 2022.


Find out more about the criteria and how you can apply at sesupportfund.org.uk or get in touch with us at [email protected] for support with your application.

We’re very excited that Impact Hub will be supporting on of the district’s most interesting social entrepreneurs, Tim Rogers, a founder of the Yorkshire Space & Satellite Centre (YSSC).

A few months ago, we spoke to Tim about his ideas for the centre and introduced him to the Leo accelerator programme for space technology startups. Last week, we had a chance to catchup and see how the centre’s been developing and his experience of the Leo programme…

Tell us more about the Yorkshire Space & Satellite Centre and your ambitions for the initiative
My aspirations are to have a dedicated facility which will provide a space for schools to learn about space, satellites and more broadly STEM FE, HE and careers. I feel this is important as all astronauts have a STEM background regardless of the work they do, I also see the widening gaps we have in this country which have existed long before Covid and in my experience the lockdowns and restrictions have only accelerated the widening of the: skills gap; aspiration gap; inequality gap. We hear a lot about ‘levelling up’ I’m unsure as to the governments definition but many people I speak to have their own definition and it seems clear that there is a big awakening and realisation of the lack of opportunities young people have here (Northern England) as opposed to young people in the South East a long with a lot of other social issues we experience daily. I’m delighted to say that we have recently received grant funding from UnLtd to acquire a 3D printer which allows us to provide skills in 3D printing a huge growth area for the economy, we are in Bradford a heartland of manufacturing and engineering with roots as pioneers in the first industrial revolution, the YSSC illustrates that history and looks at the future growth areas including 3D printing, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and green energy we also have a focused eye on the metaverse which has the potential to change our species experience in very powerful ways. The YSSC is also a place to make stuff, we have a satellite programme where students are empowered to: design; create; manufacture; fabricate and launch satellites into space, as well as the programme to 3D a replica International Space Station which once complete will be a workspace, event space and classroom.

Programme with Year 5 pupils at Heaton St Barnabas Primary School (July 2021)

The first time we spoke, you shared that Bradford would soon have a “cubesat” in earth orbit by 2022; is this still a possibility?
I very much hope so, it is possible and we are committed to launch in 2022. However, there are some challenges in our way, the first being global supply chains and the rising price of oil, it hurts me that we are so dependent on oil but we are and when the price rises it puts projects like ours in harms way. Funding is never easy to come by and we have to make every penny count which we will always do. Our next issue is Brexit and I hesitate to use the word as it is so toxic, as a country with such a long history in science, reason, logic and mathematics how we can have done this to ourselves is beyond my comprehension. I’m confident of our 2022 launch though as we do have great partners here with the business community wanting this to happen as well as the educationalists, politicians and civic leaders – you need all of those to buy in and come with on a journey like this.
Tell us about your experience of the Leo accelerator programme
It’s awesome, I’m meeting 19 other businesses who are doing amazing things with lasers, satellites, human space travel and loads more stuff including really interesting infrastructure for a Moon Base. UKSA have great plans for our space programme as a country and we have some truly amazing entrepreneurs making those things a reality and the YSSC plays it part. Looking more in the round the business structuring and alignment of business goals, building audience, creating value are skills I’m learning everyday. It is a collaborative approach supported by the other businesses and a mentor. Something I’m both proud of and at the same time hoping we see more of in future Leo accelerator programmes is that I’m the only CIC, I think as a legal structure a CIC is perfect for lots of businesses and entrepreneurs to think about because it allows you the legal space to create value, build communities and eco systems and really help the economy and shape our future.

Tim with Digital Makers in a Summer School programme at the Science Museum(August 2021)

How can the people of Bradford get involved with space tech projects such as yours… how do you see the city and its communities benefitting?
For me this is such a huge opportunity, space is firmly on the agenda and if we can get more people involved then we can create a rebalanced economy, we have to look at the world through the lens of climate change, there is no doubt that extreme weather events, rising temperatures and changing environments will create more displaced people and unsecure communities. There are no oil rigs in space, there are no gas pipes in space, we have to learn how to use renewable energy and store it efficiently which are the same challenges that people on the ISS have to do as well as future hubs on the Moon, Mars and even beyond that. It is exciting, it is difficult but we are only limited by imagination – what I’m saying is talk to us and the wider STEM community, the Science Museum is a great place to go and meet like minded people as well as engaging locally with space/tech groups or in a wider groups across social media and multiplayer games – in the future the metaverse. Communities will learn new skills and also strengthen communication, resilience and confidence, I really believe in sharing ideas and having conversations about new ways of thinking and new ways of developing our community and world. It is easy to write this from my house in the middle of the countryside but you are not one thing, you don’t have one option there is always choice and always the opportunity to do something new, many people will tell you it is not possible, many people will tell you that you can’t do it, those people are wrong – talk to us and talk to the science museum, businesses, colleges and university
Is there anything Impact Hub can do to help connect you with other social entrepreneurs or with community outreach?
Yes is the short answer, I really want to get to know other social entrepreneurs who are tech/STEM focused, I think it is important for me to get to hear their stories and promote their businesses as well as me being able to do the same. We are a group who have social value at our hearts and the opportunity to share ideas is critical to furthering this business as well as other ones.
Thanks you Tim – we still quite surprised about how accessible these technologies could be for the people of Bradford and can’t wait to help start giving communities a pathway to working with you!

Impact Hub Bradford has been transformed this week as Freedom Studios have turned the hub into the set for their new play “Aaliyah (After Antigone)”. The play is a contemporary retelling of the Greek tragedy, Antigone, but now set in Bradford and exploring current issues such as citizenship, identity and immigration.

In an office somewhere in Bradford, Aaliyah and Imani are trying to get on with their cleaning job while anxiously waiting for news of their brother, Syeed, threatened with deportation to Bangladesh. When Home Secretary, Parveen Parvaiz, announces the news they dread, Aaliyah must rise up and face the might of the State but her political activism puts her own life in danger.

The play is both a digital and live experience so as well as a nightly live audience, the hub has been host to an array of cameras, audio equipment and live streaming infrastructure as many are watching along online each night on their phones, tablets and TVs.

Aaliyah - production photographs

This live-streaming is only possible thanks to the advanced Darklight fibre provided by Exa Networks for Impact Hub Bradford – phenomenal upload speeds mean that Aaliyah (After Antigone) is available in full 1080 HD and all the cameras in the space are connected through our members’ Wifi network, giving the actors and crew freedom and agility in their performances.

Tickets are pay as you feel and the play runs every night these week from 7:30pm, with an additional 2pm showing on Saturday.

Head over to freedomstudios.co.uk/production/aaliyah-after-antigone to book.

On 13th October, our CEO Kamran Rashid took part in a unique online discussion with the leaders of other Impact Hubs, on how their respective hubs are attempting to build more just and inclusive cities through Impact Hub – and ensure they provide equal rights and opportunities, as well as better living conditions for all.

The panel included…

Both Grace and Kamran shared the initiatives that are being promoted from Impact Hubs in Houston and Bradford to address the need for a more diverse representation and support of underrepresented communities in their local innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Talita joined as a subject matter expert. She spoke about the diversity, equity and inclusion driving strategies she has helped design and implement globally through her research on best practices and recommendations to the Impact Hub network.

In this month’s edition of OpenHaus, we hosted Fiona Ras-Jones as she spoke about purpose-led ventures and how creating an ethical, transparent venture with well formed structures and policies can unlock growth, scale and opportunity.

Fiona is Founder of Make Impact, an agency helping companies to lead with purpose and make their business a force for good. With a background in social enterprise and innovation she has worked across sectors with partners in the UK and Europe to create positive impact through business. She is also a fully trained B Corp B Leader, Co-Chair of the Yorkshire B Local, Guest Lecturer on the University of Bradford MBA and an Impact Hub Bradford Associate.

You can find out more about Fiona on LinkedIn.Fiona will joined our hosts, Yvonne and Israel, in conversation at Impact Hub on Friday 5th November. You can replay their discussion below…