Archive and Special Collections

Standing under the mosiac...

There are so many circles, and so many left incomplete. Many years ago, as a fresh-faced fine art graduate I once applied for a job at what was once called the Jacob Kramer College, now restyled as the Leeds College of Art.

I quite rightly didn’t get the job, I would have been a hopeless instructor. But on my brief visit I was impressed by the iconic Vernon Street building, the home of the original Leeds College of Art with its Gilbert Moira mural adorning the entrance.

Years later I find myself curating the Leeds College of Art Archive and associated collections held here at Leeds Met. And this week I was asked to give a short talk about these collections to some of the members of the 2011 ARLIS conference, taking place in what used to be the Light and Shade rooms of the original college (now the Library). It struck me then that this was as near as I am likely to get to ‘teaching’, in the broadest sense of the word, in an art college.  And for the briefest of moments I felt connected to the artists who made Leeds College of Art the celebrated place it was. Willy Tirr, Eric Taylor, Ricky Atkinson, Harry Thubron back to the early days of Haywood Rider,  Harry Simpson and Clara Lavington.

This may not amount to the most well drawn out circle but standing under Moira’s mosaic reviewing how my talk went felt as if it was almost full.

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