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Current Projects and Partners

The following partners have suggested for the 2019/20 academic year have been confirmed. Please see below for more information about each organisation, including a project which they would like to co-develop with students engaged through the Engaging the Modern City module.

Leeds Playhouse

Leeds Playhouse (formerly West Yorkshire Playhouse) is a sector-leading organisation creating world class, relevant and compelling theatre with the power to transform people’s lives.  Their award-winning Creative Engagement programme forms a core part of the creative output of the organisation. Working with approximately 10,000 people every year, the programme uses theatre and creativity to open up possibilities for people of all ages and backgrounds. A key challenge for the organisation is to understand the social impact of the programme as a whole in a rigorous and consistent manner.

Suggested project: to map how older people access one of their keystone outreach projects, mapping and discovering their ‘routes in’, the practical ways participants found out about the sessions, and what helped them to make the choice to attend, considering personal and wider social factors

The Performance Ensemble

The Performance Ensemble is a company of performers over the age of 60 from a range of different performance skills and diverse cultures. The Ensemble occupies the space between professional, amateur and community theatre practise, creating high quality performance that emerges from the heart of communities. They seek to understand the critical role the arts can play locally, nationally and internationally in informing fresh policies and services that will sustain a quality of life for an increasing population of older people. The company is about to embark on development project culminating in a five-year strategic plan.

Suggested project: to analyse how the Performance Ensemble can be resilient and flourish against the diminishing resources for the arts in Britain. How can it achieve our mission, what are the best models of practice nationally and internationally - and most importantly what role does The Performance Ensemble have to contribute to Leeds ambition to be ‘the best city to grow old in’.


South Asian Arts-uk

South Asian Arts-uk is a centre of excellence in Indian Classical Music and Dance.  For over 20 years the charity has made a significant contribution to the UK cultural landscape and the education, celebration and evolution of South Asian classical music and dance. Over the next four years the charity will develop a programme mobilising South Asian communities to fully participate and contribute to Leeds Cultural Strategy. This will include creating space (both digital and physical) where the six largest South Asian communities in Leeds have an opportunity to display the vibrancy of their culture and have a voice in the City.

Suggested project: to clearly understand whether the needs of our audience (as well as of the broader communities in the city of Leeds) would be fulfilled by a building base/cultural hub and to highlight the risks that could arise from running a large arts space and suggestions of mitigation. The research would focus on collecting, contextualising and analysing data from group research.


Invisible Flock

Invisible Flock operates at the intersection of art and technology making innovative artworks to be experienced and participated in by thousands all over the world. They create art that has a long lasting transformative effect across multiple contexts and sectors, employing technology in education, design, the developing world, urban planning and healthcare. In the past 2 years Invisible Flock showcased work in Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Qatar, India and in galleries, museums and public spaces all over the UK - proof of their truly global ambition to create art that matters.

Suggested project: a study that explores how investment in industry leading technical assets can foster technical                innovation and risk taking in the arts sector. The study will be conducted through the residencies we offer to artists each year and through our own studio practice, aiming to understand if investment in new forms of working can make the sector more resilient; positioned to create new aesthetics, content and means of experiencing art.


Marks and Spencer

M&S began life as a humble Penny Bazaar market stall in Leeds in 1884, founded by Michael Marks and subsequently developed into a chain of department stores across the UK by his son Simon Marks. This is the official business archive of Marks & Spencer plc, and as such records the history of one of Britain’s longest established and most iconic high street retailers.  The M&S Archive contains more than 72,000 items dating from the first Penny Bazaar in 1884 to the present and comprises written and photographic record of the Company’s development and artefacts which represent key aspects of the Company’s activities. The collection relates to the history of retail, distribution, marketing and manufacturing, including material relating to product development, manufacturing processes and food and textile technology

Suggested project: to help us frame M&S’s social purpose – why we developed it, the origins, drivers, needs, rationale, triumphs, set-backs, as a story with a beginning, a middle and an aspiration.