EVERY few months change happens at Bradford 2025, and the pace shifts again.

Not only have we grown our team in preparation for event delivery, but we’re also continuing to share more of our behind-the-scenes progress to deliver a phenomenal year as UK City of Culture in 2025.

I am responsible for delivering the programme, and throughout my career I have been passionate about creating opportunities for creatives, across a range of disciplines, especially from communities that are underrepresented in the arts.

Our UK City of Culture programme revolves around these key principles as well as delivering an outstanding year of arts and culture.

Bradford 2025 is dedicated to creating unique opportunities for Bradford before, during and after 2025. We are working hard to ensure that our year has a deep impact creating a lasting legacy benefitting our artists and communities across the city and district.

One of the ways we’re doing this is by partnering with the British Council to offer a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity for creatives from Bradford to attend The Venice Biennale.

The Venice Biennale is a highlight of the international cultural calendar and those who are successful will be able to attend, putting themselves and Bradford on an international cultural stage.

We want local creatives, no matter their experience, to apply to the scheme to experience the festival and bring home their learnings, share their experience and encourage others to take advantage of similar opportunities.

We’ve also been working in partnership with Bradford Council on the Transforming Cities Fund regeneration and transport connectivity work.

The fund itself will aim to improve walking, cycling and public transport in the city and, our objective is to ensure that our public spaces are inspiring, hopeful and dynamic placing culture at the heart of the thinking.

We are seeking a curator who will work with the council exploring opportunities for artists to inform the development and design of the scheme.

One of the most exciting plans of the Transforming Cities regeneration fund is the renovation of Bradford Interchange train station.

We have been offered the unique opportunity to influence the redesign of the station; the creative development of the Interchange is a chance for us to consider how we can bring art into the core of public spaces, allowing us to celebrate the truly unconventional nature of the city and introducing it properly as soon as the trains pull into the station.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Shanaz Gulzar Shanaz Gulzar (Image: Tim Smith)

In addition to this, I am delighted about the Beacon project - a travelling event space which is being designed in collaboration with RIBA.

The recently announced winning design team, Carter Gregson Gray with Studio Three Sixty, Structure Workshop & Studio 4215 are going to work with local residents to explore how the design, look and feel of the space can best represent Bradford ensuring that is inclusive, dynamic, imaginative, and community focused.

Once the vision is fully realised, the one-of-a-kind venue will travel to different locations throughout the district during our year as UK City of Culture.

The space is incredibly unique and will bring performances, installations, live events of all shapes and sizes, right to people’s doorsteps.

Finally, BD:is LIT was a success! The bi-annual event is a district-wide celebration of light and creativity in our city - it is also one of the first events that we’ve been a part of since we won.

Bradford 2025 has financially supported the commissioning of nine unique light projects to be part of this year’s landmark event.

I was involved in selecting the final commissions and it was an impressive year.

We partnered with BD:is LIT to support and give space to emerging, young and diverse artists in the world of light art, based locally and across the North and I’m so proud of how it all turned out.

I can’t wait to do it all again in 2025!