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One Year To Go until ‘Letting Culture Loose’ takes off in Leeds!

Bramley Mermaids making a splash for One Year To Go

The countdown has begun! This time next year we’ll be kicking off twelve months of incredible sights, sounds and sensations in communities across the city, celebrating everything that makes Leeds wonderful through art, music, food, sport and more. Our transformational year of culture will feature an exciting programme of events – big and small – taking place across the 33 wards of the city.

Leaping around the landmarks of Leeds

To mark the date in the calendar, we teamed up with parkour World Champion and local lad David Nelmes to create a specially commissioned short film that takes you on a whistle-stop tour of some famous Leeds venues and spaces. Reflecting how LEEDS 2023 will take place across the city, the film offers a taste of just how the definition of culture continues to expand in all directions.

Vaulting over walls and diving through windows as he makes his way around the city, the video shows David interacting with creative individuals and communities along his route. These are just a small handful of those we are working with to develop projects for next year – in actuality, over seventy-five artists and groups have received funding to create seed commissions so far, with at least another fifty still in discussion and lots more to come.

“This time next year we will be presenting to the world our Leeds, a city that’s vibrant and bold and full of exceptional, creative people. This film gives us the chance to start shouting about LEEDS 2023 from the rooftops – about what we’ve been doing and what’s still to come. It’s going to be a celebration in every LS postcode; every child at a Leeds’ school can be a part of this. We’re going to make the most of the 365 days in 2023.” – Kully Thiarai, Creative Director for LEEDS 2023

The film spotlights eight projects in total as David makes his way from Granary Wharf to Kirkgate Market where he meets Hollie from AGEOFTHE – a Queer Working Class Drag Collective – before playing the steel drums with Arthur France, founder of Leeds West Indian Carnival, then pausing briefly to admire the work of visual artist Suman Kaur at Leeds Beckett University’s Leeds School of Arts building.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan training at Kirkstall

From there he hotfoots his way over to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Chapeltown to drop in on a Brazilian dance class, swings by Eiger Studios in south Leeds to spin the decks with DJ Verity Watts, then dashes over to Bramley Baths to see Yorkshire Life Aquatic’s Bramley Mermaids making a splash. He just has time to call in on a Leeds Rhinos training session in Kirkstall with Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Harry Newman and Ash Handley before landing in the Howard Assembly Room to greet musician Ntantu as he performs his song Tomorrow.

Forging exciting new partnerships

That’s not all. As we enter the home straight, we’re also excited to announce our newest major partners playing a part in delivering the city’s ambitious plans for a transformational year of culture. The British Library, Leeds Rhinos, Leeds United, the National Youth Theatre and The WOW Foundation (Women of the World) are all on board to develop creative projects for our year-long cultural programme, with even more set to be announced as the year goes on.

WOW – Women of the World have parterned up with LEEDS 2023

“It’s inspiring to see so many partners united in their shared belief in culture and the integral role LEEDS 2023 will play in making Leeds such a unique place to live, work and visit in the coming year. Culture is the heartbeat of Leeds, enriching the lives, health and wellbeing of people living in our communities and enhancing the city as a whole.” – Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council

As next year edges closer and closer, we’ll reveal more details about what 2023 will bring this autumn. Designed to boost the social and economic fortunes of Leeds and the wider region, we can’t wait to tell you more about our exciting programme of events. We hope you can join us on our journey as we do what we do best and let culture loose!