Bradford’s bid for UK City of Culture has taken a major step forward with the appointment of Keighley-based artist and producer Shanaz Gulzar as its new Chair, succeeding Interim Chair Mary Dowson. 

Shanaz Gulzar’s career spans film, visual arts, theatre, public art and media. Born, raised and living in Keighley, and established nationally as an artist, Shanaz is also a producer at Manchester International Festival. In 2019, Shanaz brought a contemporary artist’s perspective to the Yorkshire landscape for the BBC Four television programme Yorkshire Walks. Also for BBC television, Shanaz presented the documentary film Hidden Histories: The Lost Portraits of Bradford.

Shanaz has worked extensively for many years across Yorkshire, including for Bite the Mango Film Festival, Illuminate, Bradford City Parks, Impressions Gallery, Moti Roti, Yorkshire Film Archive, in a co-practice as Adept and an ambassador for the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Nationally acclaimed, her work further afield includes projects for Enchanted Parks in Gateshead and Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, and as an associate artist for National Theatre Wales.

As Chair, Shanaz will lead the Board and the organisation throughout the UK City of Culture bidding process, as well as helping to develop the Board’s strategic vision, mission, objectives and values. Shanaz will be a key ambassador for the city, championing Bradford at cultural events, press briefings and business events 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, and Richard Shaw, Bid Director, paid heartfelt tribute to the work, leadership and commitment of Interim Chair Mary Dowson in establishing the infrastructure behind Bradford 2025.

Four further appointments to the Bradford 2025 Board also have been made:

Adeeba Malik CBE, Deputy Chief Executive of the QED Foundation, who was awarded an MBE for her work with ethnic minorities and businesses and a CBE for services to community cohesion.

Sabbiyah Pervez, Communities Reporter for BBC Look North and a passionate feminist and advocate for young people, who won the Rising Star in Media award at the British Muslim Awards in January 2018.

Brendan Brown, Chief Executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, the Senior Responsible Officer for workforce across the Bradford and Airedale district, and for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Board.

Richard Emmott, Director of Corporate Affairs for Yorkshire Water.

Photo: Tim Smith