Deadline looms in search for sculptor to create tribute to Leeds women

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Arts University.
Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Arts University.

A long-running campaign to create a lasting monument celebrating Leeds women has been re-energised as the submissions deadline looms.

The YEP last year joined Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and council leader Judith Blake to call for a statue reflecting on the city’s history of strong female pioneers and record-breakers.

Leeds Arts University is now a leader of the project, and the piece could be an innovative, abstract or conceptual sculpture rather than necessarily being a realistic portrayal of a historical figure.

The submissions deadline is Friday, September 21 to apply for the project.

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The university is looking to shortlist four artists to each receive £1,000 to make a small maquette of their idea, which will be exhibited in the institution’s new gallery space in Blenheim Walk in May 2019.

A final sculptor will then be selected to create the piece for a site at Quarry Hill, with an unveiling expected in June 2020.

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Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Arts University, said: “We are delighted to be involved in such an inspirational project delivering greater representation for women in public art in the city.

“Leeds Arts University has a rich heritage of supporting pioneering women sculptors, including the iconic Barbara Hepworth, and we’re keen to continue that tradition.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for established and up-and-coming artists to create something truly innovative, celebrating the accomplishments of multiple women in Leeds in a new and exciting way.

Read more: Why Leeds should have more statues of pioneering women
“As the deadline for submissions approaches, I look forward to seeing the proposals and for the university to play a part in the creation of something iconic to inspire the next generation."

Submissions are open to all, not just students at the university.

Applicants will need to provide a 500 word proposal statement, CV and images.

To apply, log on to and download an artist’s brief form.