Me and 23

A Year of Culture is about stories. Some of the people involved share their experiences here.

Stories from 2023

LEEDS 2023 was a team effort and people participated in a myriad of ways. Read and listen to some of the stories, connections and relationships created through our Year of Culture.

A woman wearing a full length green coat. She has black hair.

"Being part of LEEDS 2023 gave me an incredible opportunity to grow and develop as an artist."

Emma Hardaker

Visual Artist

Emma is a dynamic visual artist based in Leeds. She is a versatile creator working across multiple disciplines, from murals to large-scale installations. In 2023, she secured a commission for the Women of the World Barn project, with a view to sparking discussions on gender equality across West Yorkshire. She decorated The Barn with 300 visually distinct tiles, one for each of the women, girls and non-binary people involved in building it. The beautifully coloured 3D wooden tiles – though challenging to make – reflected her abstract style and brought together themes from workshops and conversations she had with the Barnraisers.

A brightly coloured mural of large flowers and carnival dancers adorns the exterior wall of a building
Wes Foster

International collaborations

Explore the stories and the wider impact of LEEDS 2023 with collaborations with artists and organisations from all over the world.

Explore the full programme

Three seasons, one story. This was LEEDS 2023.

Pink neon lights spelling Awakening reflect in the canal of Leeds with a city landscape behind it
Part one

Awakening - Jan to Apr

View Awakening
Playing in blue neon levitates above the streets of Leeds
Part two

Playing - May to Aug

View Playing
The word 'Dreaming' floating in front of a clock with clouds around it
Part three

Dreaming - Sept to Dec

View Dreaming