University of Bradford Norcroft Centre

University of Bradford logo

University of Bradford Norcroft Centre

Norcroft Centre

Built in 2006, the Norcroft Centre is a dual purpose building. In term time the Auditorium is primarily used for Team Based Learning and Teaching and out of term time for Events and Exhibitions. The lounge is available for events throughout the year, subject to availability.  On some occasions it is possible to book the Auditorium for events in term time.

Norcroft Centre availability is managed by the Timetabling & Attendance Office. You can contact them on ext. 4848 or email to check availability. Bookings will not be confirmed without completion and approval of the online event application form

The Centre is not bookable by students or student societies acting without the support of UBU.

The Norcroft Centre is host to David Wright paintings




Paintings by David Wright At the Norcroft Centre

The Secret Garden (Grand Designs Series).

The Secret Garden (Grand Designs series)

The Norcroft Centre houses several hauntingly beautiful, large-scale works by Birmingham-born artist David Wright, who died in 2013 after working for many  years in nearby Hebden Bridge. The pictures, from the “Grand Designs”, “Gardens” and “The Transgressions of Abbé Mouret” series, are shown to great effect in the large, well-lit rooms of the Centre, and enhance its tranquil, reflective mood.

Flooded Cathedral (Grand Designs Series).

Flooded Cathedral (Grand Designs series)

David Wright was born on the outskirts of Birmingham in 1929, the son of a sculptor whose works can be seen on many civic and private sites around the country, as well as in various galleries. David enjoyed spending time at the Guild where his father worked amongst the other artists and sculptors. He started painting at the age of 8 and by the time he was 11 he knew he wanted to become an artist. His early art education came from the many art books in the family home and from his father talking about his favourite artists’ work, as well as from visits to Birmingham City Art Gallery, which he loved.

Levens Hall (Gardens Series).

Levens Hall (Gardens series)

His father did not believe in a formal education, wanting David instead to get his education from the ‘University of Life’, but he did encourage him to read. As well as the many art books, the house was filled with literature. At 16 and 17 David was reading short stories by Thomas Mann and French writers of the period as well as some of his father’s favourites – Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Émile Zola, writers who were to have a great influence on his work

Age and Innocence (Grand Designs Series).

Age and Innocence (Grand Designs series)

In 1950, after two years National Service in the RAF and aged 20, he gained entrance to the Slade. There he came into contact with Coldstream, Claude Rogers, Buckland Wright, Reg Butler and others. In his second year he met and became close friends with Paula Rego, who was a year below him. They remained friends until David’s death in 2013.

David had a varied career, having worked as an architectural designer, a textile designer, in radio and television and teaching on Art Foundation courses at Wolverhampton College or Art and Kidderminster College as well as Wakefield College, where he was Head of the School of Art and then Head of the Faculty of Performance Media and Arts, which he helped to create in 1993.

The Seduction (Transgressions of Abbe Mouret series).

The Seduction (Transgressions of Abbe Mouret series)

He gave up that position in 1994 to concentrate on his painting and also founded and was a Director of ArtsMill Gallery in Wakefield from 1999 until 2003. In 2003 he established ArtsMill gallery in Hebden Bridge, where he also had a studio.

Artist’s statement

For me to paint is to dream aloud, and to dream is to enter the surreal.

So in a sense what one paints is in some way surreal in that images externalize that inner world, which is largely a waking dreamland condensed from outer reality.

To select from this inner and outer world is the process through which all of us go, whether in thought, conversation, the written word, pictorial statement or any other form of creative activity; so whatever we select, as in the dream or in the nightmare, whatever we say, whatever we put down, act out, write, compose or paint, it is always more, or other than, what we can find to say, and is never identical with ourselves