Announcing the East Leeds Observatory

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

We are incredibly excited to announce 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.

Inspired by Smeaton’s incredible legacy, it 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.

With more details to be released, get ready for a stunning mobile art project creating opportunities for communities across Leeds to get involved and to experience the wonder of the skies and the world around us. 


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 Peak and Ivan Morison, Small Bells Ring, 2021. Photo Charles Emerson, courtesy the Artists.

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. 


Credits

Smeaton300 is an original idea developed by Foxglove, enabled by Leeds City Council in partnership with LEEDS 2023. 
 
The mobile observatory commission is by Heather Peak and Ivan Morison, based on an original idea by East Leeds Project. It is an East Leeds Project and LEEDS 2023 Co-Production and is commissioned by Foxglove and LEEDS 2023.  
 
Smeaton300 is made possible with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Burberry.