Listening Sculpture

Help our sculpture become real.

Now we have Planning Permission for the sculpture, we need to find funding and we are applying for an (Arts Council) Grant for the Arts to cover

the bulk of the £46,000 needed. However, we must show significant matched funding and we are aiming to raise a minimum of £8,000. We already have £3,500. A donation of £4,500 would enable us to apply for the grant. A donation of £500 would help us on the way and encourage others to donate. Of course we would take any amount!

What’s in it for you?

£500 or more will get you the chance to sandblast one of words into the stonework, which could be fun.

You would be part of a movement to connect local people with their lost environmental heritage, making them aware of the hidden river under the city centre and letting them hear the water flowing below their feet.

You would also be contributing to the concerted effort to revive Bradford’s city centre alongside the City Park, the Mirror Pool, The Broadway and Sunbridge wells.

Alex Blakey: our winning sculptor; our winning design.

Alex Blakey, winner of the Friends of Bradford’s Becks listening sculpture competition was awarded the £2,000 prize by Bradford’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Geoff Reid on World Rivers Day, 25th September 2016.

The idea is to create a sculpture which will provide a listening point to Bradford Beck which flows otherwise hidden below the city.

160925-alex-01The competition judges say that Alex’s design was selected on various merits, not least that it would provide interactive opportunities for everyone, including disabled people and children.

Sonja Kielty, Curator of Exhibitions for Bradford Council and one of the judges commented, “There was an absolute variety of materials, design, influence and character from the entrants. Glass and stone won out in the end and for good reason. Alex Blakey is a new, emerging artist that has brought something quite exciting to the table.”

Alex is a young up and coming artist from Slaithwaite. About her entry, she says, “I designed the piece to reflect the natural flow of the forgotten river flowing beneath the city.”

About the design process, she said, “This was a particularly exciting competition for me to take part in as not only was it challenging but it also explored themes I am passionate about. I have always been inspired by local history and hidden spaces so the chance to explore the history of the Beck has been really interesting.”

160924-alex-2nd-sketch-smallAlex’s winning design is for a 2m tall block which combines sinuous shapes of stone and glass. The glass depicts images of the Beck, while the stone bears words reminding passers-by of Bradford’s history, present and future. It has listening points at various heights.

Planning permission is in place and now the hunt for money to pay for this interesting piece of public art is full-steam ahead.

The sculptor will work with local children to design the covers for the earpieces. She will set up some public workshops to help chose the words to be carved in the stonework and represent the past and future of Bradford and the Beck. The estimated cost of the project is £30,000.

FoBB wishes to thank the arts professionals who acted as judges, including Sam Shendi (a sculptor from Silsden), Marcus Levine (a sculptor from Bingley) and Sonja Kielty. The other judges were Barney Lerner (Chair of FOBB), Judith Yaxley and Kirill Horoshenkov (Professor of Acoustics at the University of Sheffield). Special appreciation is due to Judith Yaxley for her generous donation to support the competition.


Remember, for a contribution of £500 or more will get you the chance to sandblast one of words into the stonework.

What could be more fun?



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