The resilience of Leeds’s city-centre market traders – and their continuing role in the vitality of the city – has been celebrated in a new exhibition.
The collection of photos and accompanying sound clips was put together by Invisible Curators, a quartet of young exhibitors and market fans.
The idea, they say, was to capture both the diversity and vibrant history of the market, and to celebrate the traders who are “standing their ground” in the face of a changing city centre and increasing economic pressures.
The collection, featuring 25 portraits of long-standing and newer market traders, has just featured in its first showcase at the Corn Exchange.
Among the stalls featured is The Nut Shop, which has been in Leeds Kirkgate Market for over 50 years. Current stallholder Joanne Johnson started work there when she was just 14 years old.
Another subject is Bennetts Butchers, a stall that has been a permanent fixture for over 16 years.
The photographs were accompanied by sound clips taken at varying times of the day within the market itself.
Exhibitor Lorna Gledhill, 22, said the aim was to “reposition the people of Leeds’ Kirkgate Market back in the centre of the city’s commercial vision”.
“By recreating a snapshot of Kirkgate Market, the project encourages viewers to challenge their perceptions of this iconic part of Leeds,” she said.
“Over the last few years, the city council has spent £7 million transforming the city into another anonymous shopping destination. This has had a negative impact on life in Kirkgate market, with traders experiencing lower footfall, high rents and even business closure.
“This exhibition tries to capture the atmosphere of a truly incredible market and celebrate those market traders who are standing their ground.”