Welcome to the East Leeds Project

The East Leeds Project is a practitioner-led visual arts organisation based in Gipton, East Leeds. We work with art as a social action, which we understand as ‘employ[ing] the varied forms offered by the expanded field of contemporary art as a collaborative, collective and participatory social method for bringing about real-world instances of progressive justice, community building and transformation’. (Gregory Sholette and Chloë Bass, 2018) 

We aim to achieve positive change in our community through sustainable, equitable and accessible approaches to contemporary practice, working with artists, local people and other partners. We facilitate the emergence of spaces in which dialogue and practice can take place, centering the role of artists and inviting in other voices to challenge, celebrate and help us build together an authentic and mutually supportive community of practice at the local level.

We work with a broad and evolving definition of visual arts. Our focus on the Wyke Beck Valley area of East Leeds enables us to explore issues around art’s relationship with climate change, public space and urban development, and to propose responses as and through curatorial activism. This work is shaped through ongoing dialogue with our partners and realised through co-production wherever appropriate.

Responding to the sparseness of arts and culture infrastructure across this part of the city, we have instigated a project to co-produce a makerspace, the East Leeds Pavilion, working with local residents, architect Irena Bauman, and MassBespoke. It will be the very first of its kind anywhere in East Leeds.

To find out about opportunities to get involved or just to receive regular updates on our work, please sign up to our mailing list and read our Evolving Thoughts Towards A Manifesto.

East Leeds Project CIC is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company.

Announcing Star Maker, a mobile Observatory for East Leeds

StarMaker video courtesy of Heather Peak and Ivan Morison

Major new commission announced: Star Maker, a mobile Observatory by artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison to tour East Leeds and beyond in 2023

We are incredibly excited to announce Star Maker, a major new co-production in partnership with LEEDS 2023 as part of Smeaton300, a creative events programme developed by Foxglove inspired by the work and ethos of East Leeds born civil engineer, astronomer and inventor John Smeaton. Leading into his 300th anniversary in 2024, artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison will create a bespoke mobile Observatory.

Following our earlier announcement of a mobile observatory for East Leeds, Star Maker is inspired by Smeaton’s incredible legacy, Star Maker will tour East Leeds and various venues in neighbourhoods across the city for seven months during 2023.

Alongside the tour, Smeaton300 will curate a programme of talks and debates featuring some of today’s most inventive minds from across engineering, science, industry and art to get us thinking big. And looking to the future, an innovative learning programme will inspire tomorrow’s creative thinkers and engineers.

About the Artists: Peak and Morison

Heather Peak (b.1973, UK) and Ivan Morison (b.1974, Turkey) have established an ambitious collaborative practice over the past 18 years that transcends the divisions between art, architecture, theatre and social practice, questioning what it means to be an artist in the 21st Century.

They are co-directors of Studio Morison, an artist-led creative practice which supports and realises their ideas and the people they work with.

Central to their work is involvement with spaces of human coexistence and with the communities that occupy or may gather there. On a societal level Studio Morison is working to re-establish civic life; on a human level it looks to bring meaning, beauty and purpose into everyday life.

Heather and Ivan have created temporary and permanent projects in many countries around the world, and their work is held in private and public collections in the UK, Canada, USA, Holland and Denmark. Recent commissions include Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Small Bells Ring, commissioned by Coventry City of Culture, Super Slow Way, Lancashire Libraries, Coventry Libraries and Canal & River Trust (both 2021).

A new monograph about their work, titled Love Me Or Leave Me Alone: The Very Public Art of Heather Peak and Ivan Morison, was published by Art/Books earlier this year. 

Star Maker Credits

Star Maker is by Heather Peak and Ivan Morison. Designed in collaboration with East Leeds Project and East Leeds communities, it is an East Leeds Project and LEEDS 2023 Co-Production, commissioned by Foxglove and LEEDS 2023 for Smeaton300.

Smeaton300 is an original idea from Foxglove that celebrates the work of civil engineer John Smeaton. It is made possible by Leeds City Council, LEEDS 2023, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Burberry.

Logos for East Leeds Project, LEEDS 2023, Smeaton300, Foxglove, National Lottery Heritage Fund, 
Burberry, Leeds City Council


Our new website EastLeeds.Shop is now open with newly commissioned artworks by artist Emma Hardaker for sale!

We are really excited to share with you our brand-new online shop. We have exciting plans to bring you original, commissioned artworks by emerging artists from East Leeds and beyond.

KIOSK Tour Screenprints by Emma Hardaker

Our first commission – KIOSK Tour Screenprints

Our very first commissioned edition is by Leeds-based artist Emma Hardaker. Emma has created a series of four striking screenprints that celebrate some of the venues visited by KIOSK, our mobile makerspace, on its tour of East Leeds so far, along with some of the fantastic artists we’ve worked with.

Each hand-pulled print is available in an edition of 20, signed and numbered by the artist –click here to see the screenprints now! We think you’ll love these slices of inky goodness, especially as all profits from sales will help us keep KIOSK on the road through 2022 so that we can keep bringing hands-on creativity to communities across East Leeds.

East Leeds Pavilion

Creating a makerspace for our community

We’re working with a Project Team made up of local people and our partners – Leeds 2023 and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – to create the very first open access makerspace in East Leeds. Our vision is an accessible and affordable space where people can come together to access tools, equipment and training for different forms of making – a social space and community-led arts centre that is locally owned and managed.

We think the Pavilion can play a key role not just as a space for different forms of making, but also for alternative economies and issues around sustainability and stewardship of the Wyke Beck Valley. We are facilitating the project in collaboration with the Project Team and artists including Andy Abbott and Emma Hardaker who have contributed to the journey so far.

The research and development phase of the project is coming to an end. From Autumn 2021 we’ll carry out a formal options appraisal to identify our preferred site and work with architects and other professionals to visualise and cost the building before starting our capital fundraising campaign.

You can find out more about the project and hear from local people involved in this short film.

If you’d like to get involved as a Project Team member, a supporter, a local supplier, or if you have useful skills such as making and construction, please send us a message and we’ll be in touch.

Research and development for the East Leeds Pavilion from 2018-21 has been kindly supported by Leeds City Council, Arts Council England and Leeds 2023.

If you’d like to get involved, please contact us for more information.

Main image: What Makes Gipton? an interactive project for the Gipton Gala, 2019, by Andy Abbott. Photo: Jules Lister.


September 2022 update: KIOSK and more

It’s been a busy… no hectic summer for our mobile makerspace KIOSK, as we’ve engaged hundreds of young people in creative activities, plus new Non-executive Directors have been appointed… and well… a major announcement is brewing! KIOSK on tour In late June we wrapped up the KIOSK role in the ground-breaking Healthier Working Futures project, funded by the …