Skip to content

Bradford Car Stories event a window onto culture, class and identity


Fast cars parked up

On Saturday, around 50 modified cars - including some supercars - will take pride of place in Bradford’s Centenary Square - they will be the focus of the Bradford Car Stories event, which is part of the Being Human Festival.

Dr Yunis Alam, head of Sociology/Criminology department in the University of Bradford’s School of Social Sciences, has spent the last 20 years examining issues such as class, identity and race, and how they relate to a shared cultural narrative, in particular our love of cars.

Visitors will be able to sit in cars and listen to ‘car stories’ told by the people in Dr Alam’s research, and share their own story in a car video booth. There will be an opportunity to meet members of Bradford Modified Club, and there will be a DJ. Visitors can also claim a free gift.

Dr Alam said: “A lot of my research over the last 20 years has involved looking at culture and identity. Our love of cars, and in particular, the modification of cars, is a kind of common language that cuts across categorisations that are often seen as divisive, such as race and class - it’s an example of something that binds people together, like food, fashion and music.

“My working hypothesis is people prefer to get along, but over the last 20 years there has been increasing anxiety and worry about race and the differences that often end up defining who we are, especially at times of tension.

Bradford Car Stories poster

“What this day is about - apart from just bringing people together people who love cars - is looking beyond those differences, to a shared experience, and showing that, when you actually get down to it, our sense of belonging and identity - the things that we all hold dear, the things that actually matter to us - are often very similar, and sometimes the same. The car is a prime example of that.”

Dr Alam is the author of Race, Taste, Class and Cars and has previously discussed his work on Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed.

Bradford Car Stories is a free family-orientated event that will take place on Saturday November 19, from 14:00 to 17:00 in Centenary Square (BD1 1HY).

Find out more about the event here.

Back to news from 2022