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!

Seeking new Non-executive Directors

We’re seeking up to four new Non-executive Directors, similar to Trustees in a charity, to join our small but growing and ambitious organisation from early Summer 2022.

Do you have skills or lived experience that could enrich our work, or just feel passionate about art, culture and community in East Leeds and beyond and would like to help make exciting things happen locally? 

Download all the information here to find out more, or get in touch for an informal conversation.

Applications close on Friday 20 May. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

First orders dispatched

Great to get the first orders of our new Kiosk screenprint edition by #EmmaHardaker off to their new homes yesterday! These gorgeous inky screen prints are available now through our online shop.

Get ‘em while they’re 🔥 at http://www.eastleeds.shop

#notforprofit #supportartists #eastleeds

Healthier Working Futures with the East Leeds Project and KIOSK

The East Leeds Project is delighted to make an exciting announcement to start the year with major funding news through the UK Community Renewal Fund and a call for third sector partners.

We’re proud to be involved in an innovative new partnership programme called Healthier Working Futures that brings together a range of health, care and third sector partners who have received national funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The programme aims to open up fulfilling employment opportunities in the health and care sector for young adults aged 16-25 who are unemployed or economically inactive and face multiple and diverse barriers to employment.

Our mobile makerspace, KIOSK, will play a key role in the project by engaging young people with conversations about careers in the health and care sector through creative workshops led by Leeds-based artists.

KIOSK workshop at Chapel FM in Seacroft, led by artist Ellen Burroughs.

Leeds Health and Care Academy are currently inviting applications from third sector organisations who are interested in engaging with the programme between the end of January and end of June 2022. Applicants must already be working with the target age group, but prior knowledge of the health and care sector is not a requirement as a full induction will be provided.

Funding is available for successful partners, who will run a programme of activity to equip young people with the skills and confidence that they need to apply for health and care roles.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Thursday 20th January.



What’s going on at the East Leeds Project: Autumn 2021 Update

Welcome to our Autumn update about what we’ve been up to in and around East Leeds over the last few months. We’ve have some amazing funding success and KIOSK is going from strength to strength, producing some brilliant prints by our participating makers.

Prints created by families who attended our KIOSK workshop at The Old Fire Station in September 2021.

Funding News – KIOSK
We’ve secured funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and IKEA to tour KIOSK in East Leeds until next April.

KIOSK is our mobile makerspace. It takes making to the people through hands-on creative workshops led by artists, delivered within your own community or environment. We’ve recently piloted workshops with a craft group and families in Gipton, and Leeds City Council’s Culture Programmes team. Watch out for us on the road in East Leeds near you soon!


More Funding News – second newspaper
Thanks also to Leeds Phil & Lit Society who have awarded follow-on funding for a second newspaper about our makerspace project. You can still pick up a copy of the first edition, We Will Be Pioneers, from venues including Space2, Chapel FM and The Tetley, or if you’re in East Leeds get in touch and we’ll drop some off for your group or venue.


© Kevin Hickson

We Will Be Pioneers Podcast launch
Alongside the newspaper and short film, our Communities Director, Claire Irving, has been working on a podcast series in partnership with the team at Chapel FM. In episode 1, Claire talks to Harehills-based artist Kevin Hickson about his artistic practice and his experiences DJing at Speed Queen, the legendary Leeds club night, among other things!

Listen to the Podcast here


PANIC Network – Final Round of Bursaries
Artists in the Leeds City Region can now apply for two £5000 and four £1000 bursaries to support the making of new work. Download the guidance for this final round and apply via The Tetley website here by 9am on Friday 12 November. Assistance to apply is available for artists with additional access needs.



Awards News
Our Founder and Artistic Director, Kerry Harker, has been shortlisted for this year’s Academy of Urbanism awards, promoting great urbanism in the UK, Ireland and Europe. Find all the details here. The awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on 24 November.


Image: Fred Tschida, Sphere (2021), installation at 7A, Wakefield

Recommended – Circlesphere, Wakefield
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the mesmerising neon sculptures of US pioneer Fred Tschida, on show in Europe for the first time. The exhibition runs at The Art House and 7A until 28 November and is accompanied by a beautiful new publication including an interview with Tschida by our Artistic Director.


Last chance to support the ELP with the brilliant Co-op Local Community Fund
We’re currently a Local Cause for the Co-op Community Fund! If you’re a Co-op member, you can select us at membership.coop.co.uk/causes/4916 as your chosen cause and help us earn funding for the maker space project every time you shop until 31st October 2021. If you’d like to become a member, it costs just £1 to sign up here coop.co.uk/membership and you’ll earn rewards too! Thank you. #ItsWhatWeDoThanks for reading – please get in touch if you have any queries.

Thanks for reading!

The East Leeds Project Team