Holbeck – Bringing The Outside In
Pyramid of Arts runs arts groups across the city for people with and without a learning disability. In Spring 2016, we worked with the Ribblehead group, which meets on a Friday morning, to create an exhibition for the Tetley Gallery in Holbeck.
Holbeck is a district of Leeds which lies on the Southern edge of the City Centre and has a population of about five-and-a-half thousand people. In the mid-19th Century, the area was one of the most densely populated parts of the city, with industry ranging from engineering works to flax spinning mills, but today it has suffered a significant decline. Many of the industrial buildings and warehouses have been demolished or fallen into disrepair whilst others have been repurposed as offices, pubs and apartments, as part of a programme of redevelopment. It is also the area of Leeds where Pyramid of Arts is based.
Photography by Matthew Bellwood
Over the course of the project, we thought about place – about the places where we live and work and about the ways in which we experience those environments. In order to do this, we went exploring. We split our time between The Tetley, where we were in residence, and Barkston House, where the group has its regular meetings. We went out on foot and in the access bus to try and capture a sense of the area in between these two locations. We visited places along the route and looked at pictures of the landscape. We went to The HUB, a working theatre underneath one of the arches of the Holbeck viaduct, and Artemis, an archive of unusual objects, which is run by the council for the use of local schools. We also talked to people who live and work in Holbeck and heard stories about its history. Along the way, we discovered that there was far more going on there than we initially imagined. The exhibition was our way of sharing what we found.
In putting it together, we thought about:
- the plants and flowers that are slowly reclaiming the landscape.
- the sounds that you can hear – both those that are made by people and those that come from the natural environment.
- the marks that people have left on the area – both deliberate and accidental.
- the people who live and work there.
We also paid particular attention to the ground, the walls and the sky.
The work we made was exhibited as part of Beyond Festival. The festival celebrates the fantastic work of artists, performers and musicians with learning disabilities in Leeds, and the organisations that support them. Made in Leeds TV made an article about the exhibition, which you can watch below.
The artists who worked on this project were:
Scott Anderson, Alison Andrews, Parveen Ayub, Adam Bainbridge, Matthew Bellwood, Simon Bradley, Maureen Duffy, Sophie Dumont, Dominique Ghatoara, Caroline Gilbert, Stephen Harvey, Naomi Hughes, Linda Korenika, Donna Lematy, Jonathan Lindh, Robin Lumb, Melanie Maddison, Brian Richardson, Kelly Shine, Andrew Speakman, Elliot Wigzell, Andrew Wonnacott
23) 23rd January
Based on the temple of Horus at Edfu in Egypt, Temple Works – a former flax factory in Holbeck – once had a grass roof with resident sheep.