A KEIGHLEY woman has been appointed to head-up Bradford’s bid to become UK City of Culture.

Artist and producer Shanaz Gulzar is the new chairman of Bradford 2025.

Her career spans film, the arts and theatre.

She has presented BBC programmes and worked on leading festivals and theatre projects.

Her appointment with Bradford 2025 sees her succeed interim chairman Mary Dowson.

Shanaz said: “I am thrilled to be taking on the chairmanship following the fantastic groundwork laid by Mary.

“I’ve seen the cultural sector in the district evolve and mature to the creative city and district with attitude that it is today.

“I know that the only difference between successful artists and everyone else is opportunity and I’m proud that Bradford has put culture at the heart of its regeneration.

“As well as winning the title of UK City of Culture, I want the competition to fulfil the ambition of all local people.

“I’m looking forward to helping the whole district make the most of this opportunity and to open doors to the fantastic young talent in the city. In fact, I have a duty to remove the doors completely.”

As chairman, she will lead the board – and the organisation – throughout the bidding process.

She will also help develop the board’s strategic vision and objectives and will champion the district at cultural and business events and press briefings across the country in the run-up to the announcement of the winning city.

At a recent Bradford 2025 board meeting, Kersten England – chief executive of Bradford Council – paid tribute to Mary Dowson’s work in establishing the infrastructure behind the organisation.

Ms Dowson said: “I’m delighted to be handing over the reins to Shanaz as the campaign begins to ramp-up.

“A huge amount of work has been done in the year since Bradford committed to the City of Culture competition and I’m excited to see what her unique perspective as an artist will bring to the role.

“The vital part that artists play in society underpins our ambition for Bradford 2025 and with Shanaz leading the way, the next chapter promises to be one of the most exciting yet.”

Other appointments to the board include Brendan Brown, chief executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

He is also senior responsible officer for workforce across Bradford and Airedale and for the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Health and Care Partnership.