Kerry Harker

Founder and Artistic Director

Kerry founded the East Leeds Project in 2017 in response to conversations about culture in East Leeds during Leeds’ bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 and as a response to family life in Gipton where she has lived for the last 23 years.

Kerry has worked in the visual arts 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 has exhibited across the UK, including in New Contemporaries (Camden Arts Centre, London and touring, 1994-5) and Collect (V&A, London, 2005). Since 2004 she has co-founded a number of artist-led initiatives including Vitrine (2004-6) and Project Space Leeds (co-founded with Pippa Hale and Diane Howse, 2006).

In 2013 she co-founded The Tetley, a centre for contemporary art on the emerging South Bank of Leeds city centre, where she was inaugural Artistic Director until September 2015. She was subsequently interim Director of the Art House in Wakefield (2015-16) before beginning her recently completed PhD in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds, where her research focused on questions of value and values in relation to artist-led initiatives across the UK.

Kerry has served on the Boards of several arts organisations including The Art House (Wakefield), Project Space Leeds, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Leeds), Leeds Sustainable Development Group, Corridor8, Chapel FM (Seacroft, Leeds) and currently Absolutely Cultured and the Humber Street Gallery (Hull). She is also a published writer and forthcoming texts include an interview with US neon artist Fred Tschida, commissioned by Neon Workshops and The Art House for an exhibition in Wakefield later this year, and a commission for the Social Works? Open digital journal launching this summer.


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 an award winning 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 including Virgin Health Bank, Bentley Motors,  and was formerly the Creative Director for McCann Erickson Leeds.

Paul has been 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.