About Keighley Creative


Here at Keighley Creative, we do things a little bit differently.

As a local charity, we’re here to bring our community a diverse range of arts and cultures, but we couldn’t do it without you. We believe that our artists and the public should have a say in what services we provide, so we listen to what you want, and we do our best to make it happen.

Keighley Creative Animation

Our Studios, the Orange Room, Gallery and Project Space were all born from this method. So, come in, grab a cuppa and tell us what you think. We’re here to listen.

Our multi-functional hub, Keighley Creative Space, is based in an old department store in the centre of the town, with great access and transport links.


Our Team

Creative Lead

Gemma Hobbs

Gemma is a studio holder at Keighley Creative, and she set up the Orange Room (our arts education space) and gallery in 2019. Gemma has worked in the community arts and education sector for 15 years- in galleries, schools, colleges and charitable organisations. She is keen to see as many people as possible enjoy the arts through workshops, projects and opportunities to exhibit and talk about their own creative practices.

Creative Lead

Naseem Darbey

Naseem is an artist and studio holder at Keighley Creative. She creates large scale sculpture and installations from her studio and tours them. Alongside her work as an artist she writes and delivers audience participation projects for education and consultation. She is excited to see Keighley Creative develop into an arts hub that draws on the town’s heritage and creates a vibrant project space for artists, schools and the wider community… So many possibilities!


Louise Garrett

Louise Garrett was a Director for Keighley Creative Space, and is now a keen volunteer and supporter of the newly formed charity. Post Retirement, Louise has used her long involvement in Urban Sketching and Plein Air painting to organise local sketching workshops in Keighley. Her previous Community Arts and Art Therapy practice means she is passionate about helping people to find their own creativity.

Facilities Manager

Steve Bishop

Steve is a studio holder and photographer based at Keighley Creative, and the brains behind everything we build! From the studios, to the gallery, to our most recent moveable drawing boards in the Project Space, Steve has worked out how and made it happen, using recycled materials wherever he can. Having worked for the last 15 years for arts charities like Fabric and East Street Arts, Steve can turn his hand to pretty much anything, and has helped countless artists realise their ideas.


Emma Rochford

Having previously taught Secondary English for 6 years, Emma now works as a freelance writer and communications consultant. She specialises in writing for the non-profit, educational and cultural sectors and is passionate about using the written word to empower the people of Yorkshire. Her second love is music and she enjoys dabbling in music journalism in her spare time.


Come to Keighley

It’s safe to say, we’re big fans of our hometown.

With a rich heritage in the textile industry, an inspiring multi-cultural community and heaps of creativity to boot, we’re proud to call it home.


What’s Happening in Keighley?

Great question- and the answer is lots! Keighley is buzzing with fantastic opportunities to get creative, try something new and find out about our local history and heritage. 

Calling all poets– Spoken Worth is a fantastic monthly, alcohol free spoken word night in Keighley. Set up by local lad, Simon Pickles, the night features some of the top spoken word poets in the country, sharing their work alongside first time performers. Visit https://www.facebook.com/spokenworthpoetry for more information.

At the top of Russell St, Corner House is home to Musicians Centre teaching studio (www.musicianscentre.com), Exchange Arts music venue and bar (www.exchangearts.co.uk) and Corner House Recording Studio (www.cornerhouserecordingstudio.co.uk) amongst other creative organisations, all under the umbrella of www.cornerhousecollective.com.

And just a short walk out of town, Cliffe Castle Museum, with its wonderful collections and grounds is a treat for the whole family! https://www.bradfordmuseums.org/venues/cliffe-castle-museum 

If you know about a creative or cultural gem in Keighley, do let us know so we can shout about it! There is always plenty more to explore.




Caroline Ward

Caroline has worked at Keighley College for thirty years, and is now their Head of Shared Services. “I know the town and the people well and it won’t come as a surprise to hear that I am fervent believer in the power of education and the opportunities it creates for our community. It certainly created opportunities for me.”

As our Chair of Trustees, Caroline understands that art and the opportunity to be creative is life enriching.  “I have always found great pleasure in a wide gamut of creative activities, and the way in which this allows anybody of any age or ability to get involved.”


Georgina Webster

Georgina has lived in or near Keighley for 30 years, drawn to the local landscape and friendliness of the people. She knows that involvement in art can change people’s lives, and provide fun along the way! Georgina has worked with communities and community organisations all her life, locally, nationally and internationally, to make positive change happen. “I believe we can achieve big things for Keighley.”


Jan Smithies

Jan has worked locally, nationally and internationally in community and organisational development and change management and her positive ‘can do’ approach gets things done! She has been a Keighley resident for 28 years and has a strong commitment to the town. A keen photographer and cook herself Jan is excited about the possibilities arts, creativity and culture can bring to Keighley.


Riaz Meer

Back in 2019 Riaz championed the first Keighley Arts and Film Festival, regularly supporting events and volunteering his time. Having studied film editing at the National Film and Television School before embarking on his career as a Film Editor Riaz has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to film and production, and he continues to edit both drama and documentary. He has had a recent focus on feature documentaries about musicians including the singers Jonas Kaufmann, Teddy Pendergrass and Janet Baker, and the conductor Bernard Haitink. Riaz’s films have won a number of awards, and Riaz himself is a BAFTA nominee, and winner of a SXSW and Grierson award.


Peter Blagg

After being involved in the local music scene in the 2000s and doing his teacher training at Keighley College, Pete now lectures in Graphic Design and Illustration at Leeds Arts University. As an artist in his own right Pete has just completed his PhD in practice-based research, investigating the ‘Uncanny’. 

“I am keen on being part of a fun and vibrant creative resource for the town. As a trustee I hope to make use of my experience in education, the arts and research to support the development of a space where things can happen. Keighley has a lot to offer”


Tam Mason

Tam has a background in adult education, leadership development and distance learning. He has a deep set love of creativity and its place in the community for everyone- and he believes that through art and creative activities we can, and do, articulate the loves, challenges and successes that we are surrounded by.

“Looking ahead I wish for Keighley Creative to stand proud as a creative hub in the Aire Valley, knowing that it represents the full diversity and needs of our population.”


Damian Kearnes

Damian is a surveyor with over 30 years experience.

It grieves him to see communities such as Keighley, which harbour so much talent and potential, being damaged through lack of investment and facilities.

He believes that town centres are the heart of a community and that the arts are its soul. He is pleased therefore to have the opportunity to make a small contribution to the Keighley Creative project.


France-Leigh Hadrysiak 



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