Leeds 2023: My Leeds Summer kicks off with city's 33 wards hosting music shows, food and fashion events

LEEDS 2023 has an exciting roster of activities planned for the summer – and all 33 wards of Leeds are taking part.
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LEEDS 2023 has brought many events to the city so far – from the Awakening to the As You Are soundwalk. It now is working with 33 neighbourhood hosts to create a summer of events that highlights the vibrancy, individuality and talent of where they live through performance and creativity, sport and food.

Kully Thiarai, creative director and chief executive of LEEDS 2023, said: “Leeds is a city of full of diverse cultural expression and energy. Our tagline ‘Letting Culture Loose’ was inspired by our understanding that behind every door, on every street and across our neighbourhoods, culture is embraced and celebrated in all sorts of ways.

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"My Leeds Summer is your chance to get up close and engage with all that rich diversity, as LEEDS 2023, together with our 33 neighbourhood hosts shine a light on the brilliant artists, organisations and individuals making and creating together their own cultural responses to Leeds Year of Culture.”

My LEEDS Summer coming to all wards of the city this year. Photo: Sam ToolsieMy LEEDS Summer coming to all wards of the city this year. Photo: Sam Toolsie
My LEEDS Summer coming to all wards of the city this year. Photo: Sam Toolsie

Running now until September 2, there will be dancers, designers, circus performers, bakers and creatives of all kinds. From Adel in Wharfedale to Morley South and everywhere in between, the neighbourhoods will all have their moment in the spotlight. The summer of events started with Kirkstall Makes and Moves – an event in Hawksworth Wood and at Kirkstall Valley Farm which encompasses art, sport, performances and live music.

Last Saturday, there was a celebration of the many heritages that make up Roundhay which was on display at World Music and Food Festival at Soldier’s Field – featuring music from Cuba to the Caribbean and famous flavours from Punjab to Africa. The same day, the people of Hunslet had the opportunity to have a go at hip hop and pottery at Hunslet Festival.

Each event has been created collaboratively by the neighbourhood hosts, local communities and organisations and LEEDS 2023, who have worked together to create a brand-new celebration or activity as part of an existing event in their community. With the support of Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Neighbourhood Hosts designed a community grant scheme and awarded grants to people from across their communities to enable them to take part.

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Many of the events throughout the summer will also feature a fashion stall showcasing garments made from a specially designed fabric by acclaimed artist Keith Khan. Khan has created 33 new motifs, one for each ward, inspired by local landmarks and historical or anecdotal facts about each area. The 33 designs have been woven into a new fabric which has been generously created by luxury brand Burberry on the jacquard looms at their mill in Keighley.

Keith said: “I have had such a long creative connection with Leeds. I performed in the late 80s at the Leeds Art Gallery with one of my seminal works; worked on major projects with Opera North and the Leeds West Indian Carnival. It is so exciting, in a digital age, to be creating such a rich community project with the values and integrity of the past projects, for and with the 33 wards of Leeds.”

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