ELP Team

East Leeds Project | Our Team



Kerry Harker

Founder and Director

Kerry founded the East Leeds Project in 2017 in response to conversations about culture beyond the city centre during Leeds’ bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023.

Kerry has worked within the visual arts in Leeds and the wider region for the last 23 years since graduating from a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree and MA in Feminism and the Visual Arts at the University of Leeds in the mid-1990s. As an artist she exhibited widely across the UK, including in New Contemporaries 1994-5, until turning her attention to curating and forms of self-organisation.

Kerry is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds, where her research focuses on questions of place, value and the institution in relation to artist-led initiatives across the UK. In 2006 she co-founded Project Space Leeds (with Pippa Hale and Diane Howse), which led to the opening of The Tetley in 2013, where she was Co-founder and inaugural Artistic Director until September 2015. Kerry has lived in Gipton in east Leeds for 20 years.


Claire Irving

Communities Director

Claire travelled around Britain and Europe for 20 years as a performer, director and designer within the performance art scene, before settling in Leeds.

Claire now lives in the People’s Republic of Harehills, where she was Director of Shine from 2008-10. She has also been influential within the city’s visual arts scene, as co-founder, in 1999, and inaugural Chair of Leeds Visual Arts Forum, and as a Board member of East Street Arts from 1997-2009, including as Chair from 1999-2009.

Claire is passionate about working with communities, and has worked with various groups, through theatre, visual art, food or music, for over 25 years. Throughout this time she has encountered a plethora of talents, nuances, passions and wonderful shared stories which have allowed her to co-create community situations that are by the people, for the people, with the people. Along the journey one thing always stands out for Claire: conversation. She believes it is the key to unlocking community. That, and a good cup of tea.


Paul Harker

Communications Director

Paul is a creative marketing professional with over 25 year’s experience, and a professional screenwriter. He was behind the original branding and marketing for The Tetley centre for contemporary art and learning on its opening in November 2013.

Paul has worked for a range of corporate and cultural clients and was formerly the Creative Director for McCann Erickson Leeds.

Paul is a visiting lecturer at Leeds University, teaching screenwriting on the BA (Hons) Film, Photography and Media course and is also the screenwriting mentor at the Oakwood Film Academy.