StoryTrails in Bradford

Residents invited to see Bradford differently as free, ground-breaking UK-wide series of storytelling events arrive in the city


Download the "StoryTrails in Bradford" press release (PDF)

This summer, StoryTrails, the UK’s largest immersive storytelling experience, invites residents of Bradford to explore untold stories of the city through ground-breaking multimedia technologies. Stories include that of Faisel Hussain, The Godfather of Film, and his contribution to South Asian Cinema, in a trail across the city streets narrated by BBC radio and television presenter Anita Rani.

StoryTrails, part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, comes to Bradford with a free two-day live event taking place on 22 and 23 July, as part of a tour of 15 locations around the UK over the coming months. Centred around Bradford Library and on the streets of Bradford itself, it features digital experiences which will allow people to experience the town in a completely new way through the magic of augmented (AR), virtual reality (VR) and immersive cinema.

An augmented reality trail through Bradford developed by Mobile AR TrailMaker Hafsah Naib and accessed through mobile devices, invites visitors to help the man known as ‘The Godfather of Bradford’, Mohammed Faisel Hussain finish his passion project, a film 10 years in the making. Mohammed came to Bradford in the 50s, bringing a bit of Bollywood with him. He helped others like him to integrate locally by involving them in his film pursuits. The trail includes family scenes shot in and around Bradford by Mohammed integrated with the story of Bradford as a UNESCO city of film. The latter began in 1902 when film pioneers Mitchell & Kenyon, captured mesmerised crowds as they travelled through the city with a camera strapped to a tram. Bradford had 42 cinemas in its heyday and its popularity with Sunday movie goers and Asian cinema has endured.

The AR trail uses cine film and video home movie footage from the BBC and British Film Institute, as well as local archive materials to present a window into the past. Visitors can borrow devices from the library and follow guided augmented reality trails as well as download the StoryTrails app on smart phones to follow the story trail route independently from outside library. The trail can also be experienced via the mobile app outside of the live event, with the app available to download until the end of the year.  

There will also be an immersive cinema experience unique to the city and viewed on a cycloramic cinema screen set up inside the library. Immersive virtual maps of the city have been created using 3D scans of the local buildings, people, objects and areas, telling stories of people and place. This 15-minute film will play on a loop throughout the day. An expanded version of the map can also be viewed on iPads inside the library.

In Bradford, the map was developed by local spatial StoryMapper, Karol Wyszynski from the stories of local people and features iconic places and local favourites such as City Park, Centenary Square and St Georges Hall.

Karol Wyszynski and Hafsah Naib were two of just 50 emerging creatives around the UK to be selected to take part in the development of StoryTrails and benefit from expert training and mentoring opportunities from StoryFutures Academy, the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, the team behind StoryTrails. StoryFutures Academy is run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film and Television School (NFTS).