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Working towards an east Leeds pavilion

This week we caught up with the team behind the East Leeds Project about their plans to build a pavilion which will be the very first maker space in east Leeds. The pavilion will provide a space where local people can access affordable tools, equipment and training.

The East Leeds Project has moved on somewhat in the last year. Our first major project is a collaboration with Leeds-based architectural practice Bauman Lyons through their innovative new design technology, MassBespoke. Together, we’re looking at the possibility of building a sustainable, environmentally friendly ‘Pavilion’ as a temporary Maker Space in Gipton.

The first stage of the Pavilion has been a period of research and development working alongside Bauman Lyons, and Katie Raw, a final year student in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. We’ve been mapping makers in east Leeds, looking at where they create, what they create and whether they would like a space that brings them together to share ideas, tools, skills and laughter. The research so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve heard from all types of makers and creators, including wood turners, needle workers, costumiers, painters, bakers and candlestick makers – yes, honestly! It’s crucial that whatever kind of space the Pavilion becomes it does so through a community-led process ensuring that the needs of the maker community are met. In Gipton there are very few community spaces, let alone any that are maker specific therefore it is vital that, as trailblazers, we listen to all those who wish to have a voice and to influence how the Pavilion takes shape.

Having secured funding from Leeds Inspired, we’ve been able to commission an artist, Andy Abbott, who will be working over the next few weeks with makers across east Leeds to create the piece, What Makes Gipton? Andy is creating a shed-like structure for this year’s Gipton Gala on 14 July, that incorporates ideas of possibility, needs and sustainability within the community, and which can be shared by all. This will then become an integral part of the next phase of our journey towards the Pavilion, thanks to funds secured from Leeds 2023, once again working alongside the maker community and Bauman Lyons, to look at how this can be achieved.

Find out more about how you can support East Leeds Project as they continue their journey here.

IMAGE: Fearnville Fields courtesy of East Leeds Project