Open Call for Artists in Leeds 2023

We would like to expand our networks with freelance artists in and around Leeds, to work with us on our artistic programme through 2023 and beyond.

To download a pdf of the information on this page click on the image:

We are inviting expressions of interest from artists and creative practitioners, alongside artist-led and community-led groups, networks and initiatives who would like to work with us through 2023-24.

We are particularly keen to hear from artists whose practices are situated, embedded, socially engaged, or align with any other terms for developing long-term, meaningful and co-produced work with people in place.

Read on for more details on current projects, how to get in touch with us and what we’re looking for, and access information.

What to expect from us

We are a small and steadily growing organisation. We are practitioner-led which means we centre artists in everything we do. We use Artists Union England recommended rates of pay in all our work with creative freelancers. We build these rates into our funding applications, and if we can’t pay artists properly, we don’t do the work.

Rather than offering sporadic and short-term ‘opportunities’ for artists, we have been moving towards developing longer-term relationships so that we can build a mutually supportive network of practitioners who are invested in our work and vice versa.

We believe this is a better way to get to know each other, to strengthen the work and all the relationships it generates, and to make the work as meaningful as it can be for everyone who experiences it, including artists.

What we expect from you

We would like to refresh and extend our network of artists in Leeds who want to work with us in a reciprocal and mutually supportive way. We want to work with people who are willing to be here with us in East Leeds, to help us invest in creating meaningful relationships and long-term infrastructure in a part of the city that is currently chronically underserved.

We’d like to hear from artists and other interested in working with us on one or more of the following projects. In addition, we are always keen to open new and exploratory conversations about the potential to co-develop new work. Please get in touch!

Artists working with us on projects that involve children, young people and vulnerable adults will need to have an Enhanced DBS check and their own public liability insurance. We can help with obtaining both of these, so don’t worry if you don’t have them yet – just let us know.

Artistic Programme 2023-4
These are the key projects we are working on in 2023:

A Makerspace for East Leeds

We recently secured funding from Arts Council England to pilot a makerspace programme from our base at Fearnville Leisure Centre in Gipton, from March to December. This is a stepping-stone to developing a permanent makerspace for East Leeds, the very first of its kind anywhere on this side of the city.

We’re seeking artists who might like to be involved in activating and testing a pilot programme of creative activities, working with our local community and other partners. We’ll also need artist-technicians to help us work on the space, install exhibitions etc.


Designed and built by artist Emma Hardaker, KIOSK is a mobile, modular makerspace that has been on the road taking hands-on making to groups and venues across East Leeds and further afield since July 2021. We have funding from Leeds Inspired and Leeds Community Foundation to continue a programme of KIOSK workshops up to July this year. We’re interested to hear from artists who might like to lead creative sessions for a range of different groups and ages, using KIOSK as a platform.

Healthy Holidays

We have funding from Leeds Community Foundation to extend work we’ve been doing recently in the Nowells area of Harehills, in partnership with Bellbrooke GP Surgery. We are looking for artists to lead creative sessions with children and young people, and for artists interested in linking creativity with healthy eating, including training as food technicians.

East Leeds Observatory

We are co-producing a mobile observatory in partnership with the artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison, LEEDS 2023 and Smeaton300. The Observatory will initially tour in East Leeds and beyond during 2023 with potential for future touring and partnerships further afield from 2024.


As an organisation we are committed to providing accessible working environments and we want to find solutions to barriers those working with us may face. Our current venue in an outdated Leisure Centre is not barrier-free and poses some challenges but we are open to working in other locations. You can find fuller accessibility information, and images of our building and space here.

Some of the work we are delivering through 2023 will take place outdoors or in other venues across Leeds that have much better accessibility. Please get in touch with any access questions and we will be more than happy to have a conversation.

How to get in touch

There is no formal application process because we want to keep this call out as simple and accessible as possible. We’d just like to hear from you, which might mean sharing an existing statement about your practice and any relevant experience, or a CV, or directing us to your website and/or social media platforms. Please get in touch in the way that suits you best, which might include any of the following:


Message us through the contact form

Send us a direct message us through our social media:

Twitter: @leeds_east
Instagram: @EastLeedsProject
Facebook: @EastLeedsProject

We’re also happy to arrange an in-person or over the phone conversation if none of the above work for you, or to hear from you in other ways. You can tell us which aspects of our work specifically interests you, or just indicate that you’d like to get involved wherever there are opportunities to do so. We’ll follow up to arrange a conversation.

There is no deadline to get in touch, this is an open and rolling call but these projects are all funded and ready to go. Please feel free to share this call out with anyone else you think might be interested. Thank you for taking an interest in our work, we’re excited to hear from you.