KEIGHLEY must – and will – play a vital part in the Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture celebrations.

That's the message from the new executive director of arts charity Keighley Creative.

Through his role, Riaz Meer will help lead the further development of creative arts in the town over the next two years.

The experienced film and television editor will oversee Keighley Creative’s organisational growth and transition to a permanent base.

His brief will include working with East Street Arts, which is due to take over the lease of the former Sunwin House building in Hanover Street, with Keighley Creative as its tenant from 2026.

Riaz says: "I am thrilled to join the team at Keighley Creative.

"There really is no place like Keighley, and no arts organisation quite like Keighley Creative.

"I’ve been involved as a trustee in trying to increase arts provision for the people of Keighley, and I’m delighted to now step up and play a more active role in the town.

"The next two years offer an amazing set of challenges and opportunities. Keighley must and will play a vital part in Bradford’s City of Culture 2025. At the same time, we will see the complete renovation of the former Sunwin House and the establishment of a permanent home for Keighley Creative. These are once-in-a-generation opportunities and for the sake of the people of Keighley, we must seize them.

"There is no other arts organisation I would consider throwing my lot in with. I am sure there will be testing times ahead, but we have the expertise of East Street Arts, Bradford Council, Bradford 2025 and Kala Sangam to draw on. And I also have the support of our fantastic team of staff and our energetic board of trustees.

"For me, this is the right time, and Keighley Creative is the right place."

The executive director post has been financed by Kala Sangam, a Bradford-based arts organisation, through a Cultural Development Fund award from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

It's the second Kala Sangam appointment to be seconded to Keighley Creative. In April, Lauren Kelly began work with the charity as arts and heritage officer.

Alex Croft, creative director of Kala Sangam, says: "I'm so pleased we’ve been able to appoint such an exceptional candidate to the role of executive director at Keighley Creative. We’re in safe hands with Riaz at the helm!"