Keeping Busy

Arts Events, Commissioned Work, Diary, Exhibition, Love Arts Leeds, Mental Health

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, but this is in part down to a busy work schedule!
Firstly, I have recently been employed by Mencap as a facilitator for a project called Me Time. Mencap’s Me Time service empowers people to enjoy a variety of meaningful activities in their community. Individuals are supported to develop new skills and to achieve their goals and aspirations. It’s the first time they have trialled it in Leeds and it’s so far been very hard work, but equally rewarding work at that. We start our first 6 weeks of activities on 14th October. I’m looking forward to it!

I’ve also been working on my first big commission, for the Abbey House Museum in Kirkstall, Yorkshire Exhibition; George Walker in the 21st Century. The project, will take place over 10 weeks, with the group producing 6 images inspired by the work of George Walker, depicting ‘Costumes of Yorkshire’ as observed in the 21st century. I’m really scared about this one, I hope I can deliver, but that’s a confidence thing, once I’m in there, I’ll just play out to my huge enthusiasm for the subject and my aim is that this will brush off on those taking part. I will blog later on as the project commences and I start to see its progression.

I was also commissioned to create the cover image for the Love Arts Leeds programme this year and also the Love Music Leeds album cover. It was a huge privilege to be asked, and the festival really has given me so much. It was the first place I felt part of something, part of a community after the death of my father. And 3 years on, although I still miss him very much, I feel like this is his legacy, to give me the direction I had been lacking most of my life.

I am also featured in an exhibition at Leeds Central Library, Unheard Voices, which opens on 7th October, about the story of High Royds Asylum, it is also part of the Love Arts Leeds Festival this year and the project was managed by Tricia Thorpe my mentor from Time To Change Leeds. It has been a fascinating and heartbreaking subject to be involved in. My images for this piece are below, taken on my fathers old TLR, for those uninitiated, that’s a twin lens reflex medium format film camera, and here is the statement I wrote to support it:

I notice the oddities, the things that people may overlook. A closer inspection of the environment around me. It wasn’t a conscious decision to focus away from the main building of High Royds, it’s imposing tower looming over us, but maybe subconsciously it’s the idea of escape that drives me to look away and outside. To see the things that shouldn’t be there.

I have been working hard with The Pop-Up Booth, on a number of events, from weddings to charity fashion shows. It’s enjoyable work and I love working with my business partner, Charys Ellmer. We have quite an eclectic range of events booked in the future, again it’s been hard work, but it’s starting to pay off.

Finally, over the last 3 years, I have battled depression and anxiety, become part of a wonderful community of artists and positive people, finally left a job I’d fallen out of love with and found one I’m overjoyed to have, made some amazing friends who are the glue that keep me together and felt wanted more than I ever have done in my life. This is is the start of the journey I’ve been working hard to make and it’s been worth getting here.

Love Music Leeds album cover

Love Music Leeds album cover

Love Arts Leeds programme cover

Love Arts Leeds programme cover

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