Heritage is part of us all. It’s in the stories we tell, the food we make, and the songs we sing. It’s what makes our city so special. Hidden Stories is a year-long programme of events, exhibitions, workshops and performances that celebrate Leeds’ diverse heritage.
With a population of around 800,000 people, Leeds is an enormous tapestry of untold tales just waiting to be discovered. Artists, researchers, communities and heritage organisations across Leeds have teamed up to bring these stories to life.
These are the stories that have been overlooked and under-celebrated for far too long. It’s a chance for Leeds to beat the drum – loudly and proudly – for its vibrant and unique history. To explore where we come from through awe-inspiring installations, thought-provoking exhibitions and fun events. To honour our diversity, our backgrounds, our roots.
Learn more about the real stories we’re shining a spotlight on below.
Disabled artists are making new artworks that will be exhibited among the collection of textile machinery at Leeds Industrial Museum. The artworks explore the hidden histories of Disabled textile mill workers and the echoes of these stories today.
Lens Lab Project have spent the last year working closely with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, and Sikh communities in Leeds to create an exhibition of portraits, telling the story of people, place and faith.
This co-created weekly club for people aged 16-21 from East Leeds explores healthcare and medical histories through creative, digital media. Keep an eye out for the Culture Club late events throughout 2023.
Discover hidden stories of gender at the Royal Armouries Museum through a project designed and produced by local LGBTQ+ people.
Milim has been working with members of the Jewish community in Leeds to produce Meet Me at Cantors, a new theatre production exploring the joy and social lives of Leeds' Jewish teenagers in the 1950s.
Heritage Open Days is England's largest festival of history and culture, involving thousands of local volunteers and organisations. As part of this year’s festival, we’ve partnered with Leeds Civic Trust to create ways to bring people together to celebrate their heritage, community and history.
Join us at our Heritage Open Days Hub at the Corn Exchange this September to explore stories and find out more about what is happening across Leeds.
Eating The Corn Exchange is the latest immersive, multi-sensory experience from Edible Archives. This accessible experience explores the heritage of the Corn Exchange as a meeting place for subcultures in this city and as an iconic building that holds many precious memories for the greebos, punks, skaters, moshers, and goths of Leeds.
Share Your Story
Did you hang out on the steps of The Corn Exchange or have you been part of Leeds’s alternative music scenes through time? We’d love to hear your story!
Find out how here
In July this year, Lucy + Jorge Orta created a large-scale participatory artwork at Harewood House, where communities came together to discuss food, culture, sustainability and social justice.
Hidden Stories is all about the people of Leeds past, present, and future. Everyone is welcome at these events and exhibition. We encourage you to find out new stories and explore new venues.
Detailed access information for each of the Hidden Stories events and exhibitions can be found in the individual Events above. If you require further access information please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 511 2023.
Hidden Stories is made possible with thanks to funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, with additional funding from Historic England to support Eating the Corn Exchange.
This project has been created in partnership with Edible Archives, Gill Crawshaw, Harewood House, Leeds Civic Trust, Lens Lab Leeds, Milim, Royal Armouries Museum, and Thackray Museum of Medicine.
Who better to shine a light on the amazing communities of Leeds and tell their stories than the people themselves? For My LEEDS 2023 our Neighbourhood Hosts representing every ward in Leeds have come together to organise city-wide celebrations all summer long.
Inspired by the ancient forests of Leeds.
This new public artwork in City Square reawakens history and captures the magic of the Forest of Leodis. Inspired by Leeds' roots as an ancient woodland, visual artist Michael Pinsky and environmental architects Studio Bark put sustainability at the heart of this epic piece for LEEDS 2023.
Celebrating the Leeds-born trailblazer of civil engineering, John Smeaton, Smeaton300 is a series of STEAM events and activities taking place across the city.
Get playful with talks, exhibitions, workshops and even jump aboard our mobile observatory, Moon Palace to view the moon and stars.