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LEEDS 2023 announces support for 20 early-stage projects

Our Producer, Anna Turzynski, talks about our current work with local creators and shares news of early-stage projects commissioned by LEEDS 2023. 

As planning for the Year of Culture builds, we’re pleased to announce a series of new seed commissions (early-stage ideas) that will help local artists develop their plans for 2023. Our approach to programming centres around celebrating and enhancing the creativity in the city. We are already working with local creators on projects that are being developed across all Leeds postcodes, including the My World, My City, My Neighbourhood programme which connects 23 artists with community groups across Leeds. At a time when we need a new energy, something to focus on that will help us all recover from the last year, it feels more significant than ever to be re-assessing what culture means to each of us. 

This autumn, with our support, 20 artists and collectives will start to research and develop their projects. Chosen after a public call-out these projects will create new experiences and bring forward hidden stories, from 90s club culture to the history of disabled mill workers, from a new comic designed for the children of Leeds to a project which creates new, inclusive spaces to watch football.   

There’s still time to get involved in LEEDS 2023. We’re announcing new commissions all the time and are always looking for fresh voices to come forward and share ideas that celebrate our city region. We have opportunities open now to get involved in creative projects plus jobs in our team to help deliver an extraordinary Year of Culture

LEEDS 2023 Seed Commissions 

The recipients of the seed commissions and a brief description of their early-stage concepts are listed below. LEEDS 2023 has awarded these seed commissions to give time for the artists and collectives to research and develop their ideas more fully.  

AGEOFTHE: Queer City will use Leeds’ landscape, history, people and values, to create drag experiences throughout the city that are widely accessible to all. 

Babeworld will tackle the uneven playing field of who is allowed to be a spectator of football and create a blueprint for a safe, welcoming physical space for people to watch football in the city. 

Ben Cottrell will work with musicians, other artists, and communities, using musical improvisation to explore notions of identity and cultural heritage in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and locations across the M62 corridor from Liverpool to Hull. 

Canal Connections explores the potential for social regeneration presented through the waterways and the surrounding areas. The work will introduce individuals, families, communities and organisations to a whole new world which is in plain sight but often not seen. 

Dawn Woolley & Zara Worth ask What is the Web that We Want? This project starts conversations about what the internet should look like and contain, bringing participants’ ideas together to create new artworks for public spaces. 

Gill Crawshaw will explore the hidden history of local disabled textile mill workers and plans to collaborate with a disabled artist or group of artists to create an artwork inspired by these unheard stories. 

Gina Allen will explore the use of electronic media and real air quality data in an artwork that helps to ‘make the invisible, visible’. 

Institute For Crazy Dancing will undertake a week of walks around Leeds whilst wearing a sandwich board, sparking curiosity and provoking engagement along the way. 

Joss Arnott Dance will make an original work that brings together LGBTQI+ and queer creatives, historians and community members, creating a playful interaction using movement to celebrate identity whilst bringing a public space to life. 

Jummy Faruq will bring together generations of Bengalis across Leeds to share histories and knowledge through fairy stories and folktales, looking to preserve and showcase their rich cultural history. 

Lydia Cottrell will be developing a part dance theatre, part spin class performance called ‘Mr Brightside’. Building a fleeting community with a common goal: Work out, work hard, work on yourself.  

Made with Music will work with families and other organisations to explore the development of songs into a multi-sensory, accessible outdoor ‘installation’ for people to interact with on the street. 

Mark Bradley will look at creating a comic for the schoolchildren of Leeds, including a guide to reading comics and how to make your own at home. 

Peter Spafford’s project Unsung Sports celebrates the legends, characters and stories of lesser-known sports across Leeds through the lens of film, radio, and song. 

Phoenix Andrews will make online and offline art and explore how trans people with physical disabilities aged 25-50 can play, have fun and explore nature and the digital in ways that are unexpected. 

Verity Watts (Better Songs) plans to bring the incredible sonic experience of Leeds’ brass band community and its inspirational stories to a wider audience using ground-breaking turntable techniques and skills alongside unique live performances.  

Revannth N Murugesan will develop What The Tech! an app to buy, bid and swap Non-fungible Tokens (NFT) to inspire, promote & support young people in Britain to adopt STEM & Entrepreneurship.  

Rheima Ibrahiim-Robinson will explore poetry, performance, and live art with people from various cultural backgrounds to form storytelling, social engagement, and a type of activism following on from her work with The Sunday Practice. 

Suman Kaur will explore traditional painting practise as a way of uniting people and communities centred around portraiture and humanity. 

Suzy Mason will document the Leeds weekly 90s club nights The Kit Kat club, Vague and Speedqueen and their influences over 30 years both as individual histories and a collective memory of the city.