Five artists lead the way with pioneering projects

Posted: May 11, 2021

As the doors of the arts sector begin to open back up, five creative minds will be reinvigorating the local arts scene with exciting new projects.

Funded by Luminate Education Group, the Leeds City College Arts Fund provides support to aspiring artists across the district, who work in any of the disciplines covered by the School of Creative Arts at Quarry Hill Campus. 

Each artist will receive £3k to work on a project in any art form, including music, dance and model making. As part of the initiative, Leeds City College students will play a key role in the implementation of the projects.

Introducing the creatives 

We spoke to the chosen artists to understand how they’re planning to breathe life back into the district’s creative sector.

This Mess We’re In

Dean Freeman, who goes by the name ODAS, will be collaborating with some like-minded creatives to produce 45 minutes of instrumental music.

“As a composer, I love writing instrumental music to express a theme, idea and feeling. This piece will reference a range of musical styles, notably post-rock, ambient, drone and electronica. We will be working with Creative Arts students to develop newly written pieces around the theme ‘This Mess We’re In’, which will be performed as spoken word in a live show, alongside the composed music.

“During the project, students will spend time with a professional poet to explore both their writing and approach to performance. The idea for this project came from wanting an exciting challenge, combined with my strong belief in the power of young people.”

Leaving Your Mark

Hoping to reconnect students with fond memories is model maker, Caitlin Mawhinney.

“I want to capture the energy and stories of the student’s learning journeys by creating a miniature scale model of the Leeds City College building. The exterior of the building will be created by myself in a realistic style, however for the interior I’d like to capture student memories by encouraging them to design their own artwork, based on their proud moments and times with friends.

“In a time when learning has been remote, many have felt isolated and distant. I want to help students reconnect with the college buildings and remember all the fantastic memories they’ve made.”


Telling his story through sound is freelance creative, Chris Hughes.

“Outside:In, will be an immersive sound installation using field recordings of the natural world, such as rain and bird songs, to invoke feelings of relaxation on the listener, as well as improving wellbeing. These records will be accompanied by textures and soundscapes, using techniques proved to assist in feelings of calmness.

“I’ll be working closely with music production and childcare students to educate them on the connections between music and wellbeing, as well as teaching some recording skills and craft. Post-production, I’d like to work with the students for a series of engaging workshops focused on sound recording and highlighting viable career paths in this industry.”

Humankind vs Technology

Indian classical dance performer, Jyoti Manral, will be working in collaboration with creative mentor Keranjaeet Kaur Virdee, on a theatre dance piece.

“My project will be based around an Indian classical dance form, Kathak, which I’d like to infuse with abstract dance movements, contemporary dance floor work and the rich vocabulary of South Asian dance.

“I want to use this performance to show the impact of digital technology on mental and physical health, encouraging people to live a peaceful life in a digital world.

“Students will be encouraged to participate in the planning, development and delivery of my project. I’m hoping to work with these students to host a dance workshop and allow them to be involved in the final dance performance. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their movement vocabulary, choreography techniques, confidence levels and physical skills.”

Like a Soft Bodied Creature

Visual artist, Julia McKinlay, will be accessing the fund to develop a sculpture project inspired by the collecting and curating activities of the xenophora snail.

“My project will involve the creation of a series of sculptures, which will be exhibited in a theatre space at Leeds City College. ‘Like a Soft Bodied Creature’, will allow me to work within a performance space to see how my sculptures perform and create a narrative, while also seeing how performance students interact with the work.

“The sculptures will be inspired by research into molluscs, moss and fossils, exploring the idea of creating a fictional ecosystem for the viewer to explore. As part of the project, I will install a body of sculptures as an exhibition which is open to staff, students and the public. I’ll be inviting Leeds City College performance students to devise a response to the installation.”

Find out more about the Leeds City College Arts Fund here.

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