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Meet the writer who will host Anita Rani's installation as Chancellor



Artist and writer Javaad Alipoor has been announced as the host for Anita Rani’s installation as Chancellor of the University of Bradford.

He will oversee celebrations at the event on Monday (March 6) as well as conducting a Question and Answer session with the broadcaster and journalist on stage in the University’s Great Hall. 

Javaad, 37, who describes himself as “Manchester-based, Bradford-built,” said: “I often say Bradford leads the way.

“We were rich, part of the Imperial wool trade, and successful very early. Bradford is the future, not just of the UK but of Europe, in the sense that it has a very young population, which is very ethnically mixed. It’s cosmopolitan in the true meaning of the word. 

“Sometimes our virtues have been described as vices. 

“But the city is having a big moment now, in the lead up to City of Culture 2025. There’s a shift and having someone as dynamic and ambitious as Anita as Chancellor feels right.

“I am really honoured to have been asked to host this event and I’m looking forward to taking a moment to celebrate new beginnings for the University and the city as a whole.”


Having studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Regeneration Project Management at the University, Javaad started out as a youth worker and thanks Theatre in the Mill, based on campus, for playing a large part in his career. 

He said: “Theatre in the Mill has always been very supportive of my work. I did some community projects with them and went on to become Associate Director from 2015 to 2017.”

For the past two years, he has also sat on the University’s court, a body through which the University maintains influential contact with the wider community. 

After Theatre in the Mill, Javaad became Resident Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres, between 2017 and 2018. His achievements included directing a new adaptation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, at The Crucible. 

'Empathetic creator'

As founder and Artistic Director of The Javaad Alipoor Company, his work has been described as “boundary-pushing” and “challenging.” The company has won multiple awards, and played all over the world. Their screen adaptations have been shown by BBC4 and at film festivals including Sundance.

Last November, his play Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, about the murder of Iranian popstar Fereydoun Farrokhzad and performed at London’s Battersea Arts Centre, earned rave reviews in the national press. It was selected as one of The Guardian newspaper’s Top Theatre Shows of 2022 and reached number two on Time Out’s best new theatre shows. The show will tour in the US and Australia later this year. 

Rich Warburton, Artistic Director of Theatre in the Mill, said: “Javaad is a fiercely intelligent, rigorous and empathetic creator. His work reflects the world we inhabit and he best demonstrates the excellent creative talent connected to both the city and the University. We’re thrilled he will be an intrinsic part of Anita’s installation."

Monday’s event, which will be attended by more than 1,000 students, staff and invited guests, will feature entertainment including DJ Chris Thomas, Northern Groove Collective and The Bollywood Brass Band, who also performed at Anita’s wedding to her husband Bhupi Rehal. 

Performance poet

Local writer Kirsty Taylor, who has achieved widespread acclaim for her gritty pieces about working class life, will perform her poem BFD.

Last year, her musical Cashy C’s, set in a Bradford pawnbrokers, earned rave reviews and was named as one of The Guardian newspaper readers' favourite shows of 2022. 

She said of Anita: “What an inspiring and powerful woman to represent the university, a proud Bradford lass, someone who is a real advocate of the arts and our city, her energy is infectious and I’m really excited to meet her!”

  • Members of the public will be able to watch Anita’s installation as Chancellor of the University of Bradford on the big screen in Bradford’s City Park as well as by live stream at The ceremony starts at 3pm on Monday, March 6.