Artistic Research, Social Value and Green Space in East Leeds
Welcome to the East Leeds Project, a practitioner-led visual arts organisation based in Gipton, East Leeds. We are a not-for-profit Community Interest Company.
The East Leeds Project 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. 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.
To find out about opportunities to get involved or just to receive regular updates on our work, please sign up to our mailing list.
The East Leeds Project currently have an open call for artists based in Leeds to work with us throughout 2023 and into 2024. Click here for more details.
Open Call for Artists in Leeds 2023
We would like to expand our networks with freelance artists in and around Leeds, to work with us on our artistic programme through 2023 and beyond.
We are inviting expressions of interest from artists and creative practitioners, alongside artist-led and community-led groups, networks and initiatives who would like to work with us through 2023-24.
We are particularly keen to hear from artists whose practices are situated, embedded, socially engaged, or align with any other terms for developing long-term, meaningful and co-produced work with people in place.
Read on for more details on current projects, how to get in touch with us and what we’re looking for, and access information.
What to expect from us
We are a small and steadily growing organisation. We are practitioner-led which means we centre artists in everything we do. We use Artists Union England recommended rates of pay in all our work with creative freelancers. We build these rates into our funding applications, and if we can’t pay artists properly, we don’t do the work.
Rather than offering sporadic and short-term ‘opportunities’ for artists, we have been moving towards developing longer-term relationships so that we can build a mutually supportive network of practitioners who are invested in our work and vice versa.
We believe this is a better way to get to know each other, to strengthen the work and all the relationships it generates, and to make the work as meaningful as it can be for everyone who experiences it, including artists.
What we expect from you
We would like to refresh and extend our network of artists in Leeds who want to work with us in a reciprocal and mutually supportive way. We want to work with people who are willing to be here with us in East Leeds, to help us invest in creating meaningful relationships and long-term infrastructure in a part of the city that is currently chronically underserved.
We’d like to hear from artists and other interested in working with us on one or more of the following projects. In addition, we are always keen to open new and exploratory conversations about the potential to co-develop new work. Please get in touch!
Artists working with us on projects that involve children, young people and vulnerable adults will need to have an Enhanced DBS check and their own public liability insurance. We can help with obtaining both of these, so don’t worry if you don’t have them yet – just let us know.
Artistic Programme 2023-4 These are the key projects we are working on in 2023:
A Makerspace for East Leeds
We recently secured funding from Arts Council England to pilot a makerspace programme from our base at Fearnville Leisure Centre in Gipton, from March to December. This is a stepping-stone to developing a permanent makerspace for East Leeds, the very first of its kind anywhere on this side of the city.
We’re seeking artists who might like to be involved in activating and testing a pilot programme of creative activities, working with our local community and other partners. We’ll also need artist-technicians to help us work on the space, install exhibitions etc.
Designed and built by artist Emma Hardaker, KIOSK is a mobile, modular makerspace that has been on the road taking hands-on making to groups and venues across East Leeds and further afield since July 2021. We have funding from Leeds Inspired and Leeds Community Foundation to continue a programme of KIOSK workshops up to July this year. We’re interested to hear from artists who might like to lead creative sessions for a range of different groups and ages, using KIOSK as a platform.
We have funding from Leeds Community Foundation to extend work we’ve been doing recently in the Nowells area of Harehills, in partnership with Bellbrooke GP Surgery. We are looking for artists to lead creative sessions with children and young people, and for artists interested in linking creativity with healthy eating, including training as food technicians.
East Leeds Observatory
We are co-producing a mobile observatory in partnership with the artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison, LEEDS 2023 and Smeaton300. The Observatory will initially tour in East Leeds and beyond during 2023 with potential for future touring and partnerships further afield from 2024.
Some of the work we are delivering through 2023 will take place outdoors or in other venues across Leeds that have much better accessibility. Please get in touch with any access questions and we will be more than happy to have a conversation.
How to get in touch
There is no formal application process because we want to keep this call out as simple and accessible as possible. We’d just like to hear from you, which might mean sharing an existing statement about your practice and any relevant experience, or a CV, or directing us to your website and/or social media platforms. Please get in touch in the way that suits you best, which might include any of the following:
We’re also happy to arrange an in-person or over the phone conversation if none of the above work for you, or to hear from you in other ways. You can tell us which aspects of our work specifically interests you, or just indicate that you’d like to get involved wherever there are opportunities to do so. We’ll follow up to arrange a conversation.
There is no deadline to get in touch, this is an open and rolling call but these projects are all funded and ready to go. Please feel free to share this call out with anyone else you think might be interested. Thank you for taking an interest in our work, we’re excited to hear from you.
Announcing Star Maker, a mobile Observatory for East Leeds
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.
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).
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.
We Will Be Pioneers 5 min film
We Will Be Pioneers was a film commissioned to document the East Leeds Project Team discussing why they want a makerspace for the community of East Leeds.
The film was directed by Ashley Karrell at Panoptical Films and written and co-produced by Paul Harker. It was narrated by Claire Irving, co-produced by Kerry Harker, sound was by Rob Wingfield, camerawork was by Joe Warnes, Solomon Charles Kelly, Kadele Cortez Grant and Ashley Karrell. Drone footage was by Tadas Doujotas. Additional footage was supplied by Blake House Cooperative for Built in Common.
We have had a brilliant start to 2023. Read on to find out more about projects in development and how you can get involved. PILOTING A COMMUNITY-LED MAKERSPACEWe’re starting the year with the fantastic news that we’ve secured Arts Council England funding to pilot a makerspace at Fearnville Leisure Centre.This will enable us to test a creative programme …
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 …