East Leeds Observatory – Artists’ Brief

The East Leeds Project in partnership with LEEDS 2023 is seeking expressions of interest from artists and/or creative teams to help us imagine and realise a mobile observatory to tour East Leeds and beyond in 2023.

The project has been inspired by the upcoming 300th birthday of John Smeaton in 2023-24. Smeaton was a self-taught engineer, inventor and collaborator. He is recognised as the father of civil engineering in the UK but his legacy is global and has enduring relevance. He built his own observatory at Austhorpe in East Leeds, where he was born in 1724 and died in 1792.

The East Leeds Observatory will take Smeaton’s incredible legacy as a point of departure for seeking intersections between his twin passions of astronomy and engineering, and visual culture. We want to explore the possibilities for a mobile structure which can operate simultaneously as a functional observatory, a creative lab for art and science, and a visually dynamic work of kinetic/sculptural design. Our ambition is that the Observatory will be at once a work of public art, mobile architecture and a place to come together: a space for collective conversations, observations and imaginings about everything under the sun, moon and stars as seen from East Leeds.

Following the Observatory’s initial tour in 2023, we hope that the project will continue to inspire and engage new audiences with Smeaton’s legacy into the future.

To download the brief click here

Submissions must be made through Curatorspace

The deadline for expressions of interest is 5pm on Friday 27 May. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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