Creatives selected for regional arts fund

Five local artists have been chosen to receive a unique creative grant as part of the £50k Leeds City College Arts Fund.

Funded by Luminate Education Group, the grant provides first step support to new and developing creative talent across the district, working in any of the disciplines covered by Creative Arts at the Quarry Hill Campus, such as art, textiles, musical theatre and film.

The initiative was launched due to a significant lack of funding from national bodies for creative projects in the region. The projects will be inspired by the rich history of Quarry Hill and surrounding areas. College students have the opportunity to participate in the process and execution of the projects, inspiring their own learning and progression.

Lydia Devenny, Deputy Chief Executive at Luminate Education Group, said: “We’re committed to inspiring talent across the region and with this fund are able to give people the opportunity of a lifetime. We have a range of impressive facilities at Quarry Hill for creatives to utilise and we can’t wait to see the impact these projects have on our students. Leeds is a prolific arts hub and we’re thrilled to ignite the creative flame.”

Richard Lee, Head of Media and Performance Production at Leeds City College, said: “We’ve been incredibly impressed with the talent and dedication of the creatives who applied for the arts fund. With the funding, ambitious local groups can excel through the use of our facilities and the ability to utilise relevant services. Quarry Hill is in the heart of the community and we’re privileged to be able to inspire others to continue this legacy.”

Available to a wide range of audiences, the arts fund received many applicants and five ambitious artists were selected to receive a £3k fund for each of their projects.

Leeds-based band Polo will be accessing the fund to create their first album, incorporating many disciplines within the field including composition, mixing, recording and arranging. Fostering a collaborative approach, Polo plan to engage students in the creative process while recording the album at Quarry Hill.

Local painter Lydia Blakeley has also been chosen with her project ‘Vocation’, enabling her to create a body of work for an exhibition at Quarry Hill Campus’s public gallery BLANK_ in February 2021. The project will focus on portraiture, featuring students at the college as the subjects of the paintings, with the aim to inspire others to see their importance and individuality. The exhibition is a celebration of Leeds City College students, creating accessible work and positively representing figures within the college community.

Steve Clarkson, founder of Found Fiction, will also benefit from the fund. As part of his ‘Street Stories’ project, he’ll work with a team of writers from across Leeds to stage a street literature project which captures Quarry Hill voices past, present and future. Students will be invited to participate with each stage of the project, from research to distribution.

Female-led audio documentary initiative, Better Songs, are utilising the grant to create the ‘Strangely Familiar Quarry Hill Podcast’ focusing on the history of Quarry Hill Flats and the historic photographs and recollections of Leeds photographer Peter Mitchell. Lead creative partner Rosie Parsons and producer Verity Watts will be working with college students to produce the podcast and current students will contribute their impressions of Peter’s images.

The final creative selected to receive a contribution from the arts fund is visual artist Annabel Taylor-Munt. Her ‘Community Living’ project will involve a student workshop and 7 minute film choreography, exploring the history of Quarry Hill’s community living, collective experiences of the residents and how the idea of community has changed throughout Leeds.

The Leeds City College Arts Fund follows the successful launch of BLANK_, earlier this year; a public gallery which aims to develop up-and-coming artists and provide a bridge between established practitioners and the talent of tomorrow.

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