The grant has been awarded to Leeds Culture Trust, the charitable organisation delivering Leeds 2023, which made the successful bid to support a range of creative projects central in “Letting Culture Loose” across the city throughout its landmark year of culture in 2023.
This funding of £2,120,130, made possible by National Lottery players, will be used to unearth individual and community-based stories, bringing them to life in original and engaging ways to reach new audiences.
The award will help bring to life new project ideas and others already in development for Leeds 2023 which has committed significantly to uncovering the city’s hidden stories.
“The Leeds 2023 team is delighted to have been awarded this latest funding which will play a crucial role in developing these original and exciting projects," said, Leeds 2023 Creative Director and CEO, Kully Thiarai.
"As an organization we are absolutely committed to revealing and celebrating the diverse stories and the great heritage of our fantastic city. One of our greatest strengths is our diversity and this project helps to amplify all those voices and celebrate our differences."
Whether it’s the city’s great innovators like self-taught civil engineer John Smeaton, its city parks or the undiscovered histories of Leeds's communities, work has already begun to unearth Leeds’s eclectic heritage.
Stories are emerging from many parts of the city, including Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley which has been working with poet Matt Abbott to explore the hidden stories of the Mill and its local communities. This has already led to new poetry being created and readings at the Mill.
In Otley, a series of craft workshops “The Day The Elephants Came to Town” emerged from an historical event that took place in the popular market town. Storyteller and artist Vickie Orton researched and uncovered new facts, working with community groups - including the local Brownie pack, knitting circle and The Men’s Shed – to give the story a new lease of life.
Photographers Lens Lab Leeds, who use portraiture to tell stories, have been working with faith communities in Leeds, including Mill Hill Chapel in central Leeds, United Hebrew Congregation in Shadwell and the Al Hassan Centre in Harehills, to start exploring faith and faith-based spaces in the city.
David Renwick, at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Being home to many diverse and vibrant stories, Leeds has a heritage that is very much deserving of a celebration like Leeds 2023.
"Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re delighted to be supporting this fantastic programme that truly puts people at its heart, and will share the city’s amazing heritage far and wide."