About Keighley Creative


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

As a local arts charity, we wouldn’t exist without community and town-centre support. And in turn we work hard to develop the arts and entertainment programme you want for Keighley. This is helping to bring visitors into our town, and making it a more vibrant place to be.

Keighley Creative Animation

Residents in Keighley have a say about what services we provide, and we work hard to bring these ideas to life.

This is how our studios, events programme, gallery, and projects have been built up, and we’re adding in new community requests all the time – like our recent addition, the Stockroom Cinema and Performance Space.

It’s a collaboration. We’re in this together, so tell us what you want to make happen- we’re listening, we’re practical, and we’re imaginative. It’s a great combination!



Our Team

Creative Director

Gemma Hobbs

Gemma started out as a studio holder at Keighley Creative back in 2019, setting up the Orange Room- which has since become our community arts workshop, and home to our Arts for Brain Health Programme.

From local requests, and with the support of Steve Bishop and Jane Fielder, Gemma went on to set up and programme the largest gallery Keighley has ever had, which will be resurrected in our new home for 2025!

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.

If you would like to get in touch, email at:


Festival & Events Director

Aimee Grundell

Our new events boss will use her ‘sheer belligerent enthusiasm’ to ensure the town establishes the annual Keighley Arts and Film Festival as a major fixture on the cultural calendar.

Aimee is no stranger to the town, having produced last year’s acclaimed K-Town Shopper event with Keighley Creative.

“I’ve come to Keighley Creative because I love Keighley. I just really like Keighley people; they’re willing to get involved. Keighley is full of different cultures. It’s small enough to be able to do something BIG, that can have an impact for the whole town.

My aim and ambition is to create a Keighley festival growing year on year, with events that are different from what you get anywhere else. It will be Keighley-orientated; for the people, by the people- with  events that makes sense to the town, and all the different people in the community.”

If you would like to get in touch, email at:


Studios & Education 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!


If you would like to get in touch, email at:


Festival & Events Coordinator

Cathryn Murray

Cathryn has been in post for a year, and already she is making waves in the town with her positivity and care for Keighley’s communities and local stories. With a passion for music, theatre and making events as inclusive and accessible as possible, she’s making sure there is something for everyone in our events programme.

As well as working with Aimee to make the festival happen, Cathryn is also the person you’ll chat to when you reach out to us online, and the person to contact if you’d like to volunteer with us.

If you would like to get in touch, email at:


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.

Marketing Communications

Helena Dowsland

Helena first came to Keighley Creative back in autumn 2022 to help promote the Keighley Arts and Film Festival and she was brought on board to support our new project and replacement for KAFF, Keighley Creative Presents, a series of exciting activities run across the year.

Her role involves promoting our events and services and increasing engagement with the community. Following many years in marketing for retail businesses, Helena has developed a wide network of contacts across the area and helps our charity make links with the business community.

Helena firmly believes in the benefits that arts and culture can bring to a small town like ours: “Although Keighley has seen hard times economically for some years, the town still has a huge amount to offer; whether its the architecture, heritage, scenery, manufacturing skills, food, beer or artistic talent, we need to take a positive approach and tell the world that Keighley is brilliant!”


Ailsa Lewer

Arts for Brain Health facilitator

Ailsa Lewer

Ailsa is a highly experienced art teacher and therapist with a rich knowledge of delivering creative workshops for people living with neurological conditions like dementia and those being negatively affected by their mental health.

She leads the Arts for Brain Health programme at Keighley Creative which involves organising our Monday and Wednesday Creative groups, offering a non-judgemental, calm environment for people who may benefit from creative therapy. 


07423 154855

Carine Brosse

Arts for Brain Health facilitator

Carine Brosse

Carine Brosse is a multi-disciplinary artist and gallery owner who has worked delivering creative workshops to a range of people for many years.

She is a facilitator at our Monday Creative sessions, offering arts and crafts sessions, for people and their families affected by conditions such as Alzheimer’s, and at our Wednesday Creative sessions, which welcome those experiencing loneliness, social isolation or are struggling with their mental health.



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. 

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.



We’re looking for a new Chair…

Could it be you?

Click the link above… Our recruitment drive for a new Chairperson is live and kicking!
We’ll be looking for people with strong connections to Keighley, community work, social-enterprise and the visual arts to join our board.
We’re keen to bring in new and under-represented voices to help us progress the work of Keighley Creative, making sure it works for our town, and all the creative people who live, work and play here!


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.”



Charles Oxtoby

Born in Shipley, Charles has always lived in Bradford district.  He is passionate about music and the arts and he plays guitar in three local bands.

Career wise, as a qualified accountant he laterally worked at Leeds City Council as a Head of Finance and is excited to help develop the amazing potential of Keighley Creative.


Trustee : Funder-Finder

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.


Trustee : Human Resources

Fiona Sherburn


Fiona is an experienced HR professional who worked for almost 20 years across Bradford and Keighley within the NHS helping to create organisations that harness the many talents of NHS staff.  She is passionate about helping individuals and communities thrive and reach their full potential.

As a Trustee of Keighley Creative Fiona is keen to see the arts and culture support the economic development of Keighley and help improve the wellbeing of individuals.



Trustee : Creative Industries

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.

Trevor KEarton


Trevor Kearton

Trevor’s career was spent in the technology sector where he held project and personnel management positions for many years, working with teams from different backgrounds and locations worldwide. He settled in Keighley in 2009 and is proud to live in this beautiful part of West Yorkshire, rich in heritage and cultural diversity.

“I am excited to be part of the Keighley Creative team because I know we can massively enhance our area and strengthen relationships between the different, local communities through the variety of external events, workshops, arts projects and the amazing multi-functional hub!”


Kevin O'Hare trustee Keighley Creative


Kevin O’Hare

I have worked in arts education for over 30 years developing programmes for young people and adults. 

I’m committed to promoting the transformative potential of creative arts both on an individual and societal level. 

My recent appointment as Principal of Keighley College gives me the great privilege to work with hundreds of learners and improve their life chances through exposure to fantastic teachers and facilities.

 It is because of these drivers that I wanted to be more involved as a trustee of Keighley Creative.


Michelle Buchan


Michelle Buchan

Michelle was raised in the Keighley area and still lives locally with her family. Although Michelle’s career is centred around the Criminal Justice Sector, a keen interest in the arts and a passion for Keighley motivated her to become a trustee.

In April 2023, Michelle led the Knife Angel Project in Bradford and managed 35 partnerships locally, utilising the arts to reach communities and create cohesion, trust and positive links across Bradford.

Through her work and volunteering roles, Michelle is passionate about creating good quality and inclusive opportunities for people to achieve their potential, particularly for those from under-represented groups or lower socio-economics backgrounds.

Michelle is also keen support the local community to express themselves through arts, create new hobbies and encourage connection with others to help make Keighley a wonderful place to live!


Trustee : Festival & Events

Rachel Rickards

Rachel works as a Social Venture Co-ordinator for a capacity building charity which means she supports people with ideas for social change choose the right structure to set up and make something happen. Keighley is a hot bed of social enterprise and is working towards being a social enterprise town. She believes the open and inclusive approach to try and work with all areas of the community is something that is worth supporting and that is why became she wanted to become a trustee.

Rachel moved to Keighley 6 years ago to start a family so is also keen to support the development of working with young people.


Trustee : Communications

Bob Smith

Bob worked as a photographer on the Keighley News for 31 years and is now a freelance photographer and is also editor and writer on his online magazine grough, which covers outdoors activities.

“I joined the trustees because I think Keighley Creative can be a real asset to my home town. Having a vibrant hub for the arts is a great way of reinvigorating our town centre and supporting local creative people from all sectors of the arts is vital to the economic wellbeing of the area.”


Trustee : Could it be you?

Your Name Here!

Click the link above… Our recruitment drive for new Trustees is live and kicking!
We’ll be looking for people with strong connections to Keighley, community work, social-enterprise and the visual arts to join our board.
We’re keen to bring in new and under-represented voices to help us progress the work of Keighley Creative, making sure it works for our town, and all the creative people who live, work and play here!

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