Major partners join LEEDS 2023’s drive to create a transformational year of culture.

The countdown to LEEDS 2023 has begun with the announcement of major national partners from arts and sport playing a part in delivering the city’s ambitious plans for a transformational year of culture.

By Alex Grant
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 7:30 pm

The British Library, Leeds Rhinos, Leeds United, the National Youth Theatre and WOW - Women of the World each are developing creative projects with the LEEDS 2023 team.

Read More

Read More
Missing Leeds man taken to hospital with burn injuries after incident in Cross G...

This will be headed up by Creative Director and Chief Executive Kully Thiarai, for the year-long cultural programme.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Scores of creative partnerships are in development, including a programme building towards a new National Poetry Centre in Leeds.

Chair of Leeds Culture Trust, Gabby Logan, said:

“To have attracted such a breadth of partnerships from major organisations across education, arts and sports is amazing and shows that Leeds is already a city of creativity and ambition. Leeds’s sporting achievements are renowned but its time in the cultural limelight is long overdue. All these brands have huge international reputations, and they will help us to put Leeds on the world stage for culture.”

Leeds Culture Trust ‘let culture loose’ in London tonight (Tuesday) when the team behind LEEDS 2023 gave a tantalising taste of the nationally significant event that aims to boost the social and economic fortunes of Leeds and the wider region.

Adhering to government Covid guidance, the audience of partners and potential stakeholders were given a taste of things to come with performances by one-man musical phenomenon Le Gateau Chocolat, 2020 Oram Award-winner DJ NikNak and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage at the event which was hosted by LEEDS 2023 Trustee and broadcaster Sanchez Payne and took place at the British Library.

Adhering to government Covid guidance, the audience of partners and potential stakeholders were given a taste of things to come.

The British Library’s Chief Executive, Roly Keating, said:

“LEEDS 2023 promises to be a big cultural moment in the life of the city and of the nation, and the British Library is thrilled to be a partner. Through our site at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, we have had a major presence in the region for more than sixty years, and our growing cultural and learning programme in Leeds is now opening up our unrivalled collections to people across the city and throughout the north.

"As well as expanding and refurbishing our Boston Spa campus, we are looking to develop a permanent British Library site at Temple Works in Leeds, and LEEDS 2023 offers an opportunity for us to connect with local partners and audiences as never before.”

LEEDS 2023 will be the first large-scale event of its kind in the city region, championing all forms of creativity and reaching all 33 wards of the city.

Scores of creative partnerships are in development, including a programme building towards a new National Poetry Centre in Leeds, spearheaded by Simon Armitage and creating a lasting legacy to his decade-long tenure as Poet Laureate.

Coun James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said:

“It’s inspiring to see so many partners united in their shared belief in culture and the integral role Leeds 2023 will play in making Leeds such a unique place to live, work and visit in the coming year.

“Culture is the heartbeat of Leeds, enriching the lives, health and wellbeing of people living in our communities and enhancing the city as a whole. It has also been a catalyst for some of the most exciting developments and investments the city has seen in recent years, including the arrival of Channel 4, the UK Infrastructure Bank and the vision British Library has for its future presence in the north.

“Leeds 2023 will be both a celebration of everything we’ve achieved together as a city as well as a massive statement of intent about our ambition for Leeds to be an international standard-bearer for the nurture and support of creative talent, innovation and culture-led inclusive growth.”

Scores of creative partnerships are in development, including a programme building towards a new National Poetry Centre in Leeds, spearheaded by Simon Armitage and creating a lasting legacy to his decade-long tenure as Poet Laureate.

Work is well underway with 75 artists commissioned including 10 projects taking place in Leeds schools; 20 artists embedded in 20 communities across the city; 10 artists working with heritage organisations to uncover the hidden histories of Leeds; collaborations with children and young people; work in more than 20 territories world-wide.

A new commission by international artist Yinka Shonibare CBE RA will also be unveiled in 2023 to honour the life of David Oluwale, the British Nigerian and Leeds resident whose personal story inspired local people to create a lasting legacy to mark his life.

Today’s announcement comes on the back of last week’s news of investment raised by Leeds Culture Trust totalling £1million from a growing list of major investors from public sector organisations and private sector businesses, including Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, British Council, KPMG, HBD and Mott MacDonald.

Programme announcements will be made in September 2022.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.