Leeds Beckett academics to DisrUPt Leeds's urban spaces
Dr Ian Lamond, Senior Lecturer in Events Management; Dr Lynne Hibberd and Dr Zoe Tew-Thompson - both Senior Lecturers in Media and Cultural Studies; Dr Brett Lashua, Senior Lecturer in Sport; and Chelsea Reid, researcher in Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering, will engage with resident and mobile communities within Leeds, through a series of events and academic research projects. They will examine the relationship between creativity, protest and the city, and consider Leeds as a space of social, political and cultural change.
Dr Lamond, lead academic, explained: “Our interests lie in how dissent and protest can be expressed through creative means, rather than just demonstrations and marches in the street. While demonstrations are really important, there are other ways to gain press coverage. Some of the best examples of this are Green Peace and Friends of the Earth - you can have 5000 people marching in the street which will gain a bit of press coverage but all it takes is three people dressed as polar bears to walk up to a BP (British Petroleum) shareholders meeting and you’ve got the press all over it.”
Building on the foundations of previously funded work by Dr Hibberd and Dr Tew-Thompson, and working in collaboration with partner organisations from across Leeds, the research cluster, branded DisrUPt, will incorporate several key curatorial projects and participatory events. Dr Lamond elaborated: “Impact through public engagement is key to the research. We have worked closely with a number of organisations, arts groups and activists to devise a programme that we hope will generate dialogue with the general public.
“A series of film screenings, launched in partnership with Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) and Hyde Park Picture House, will run from November onwards. Post-screening discussions will open the floor for activists and academics to talk about the issues of the films and for audience members to participate by sharing how they have experienced those issues and how they have engaged in different forms of protest in order to raise the profile of those issues.
“We will also be working with Leeds Sustainable Development Group and architectural firm Group Ginger to run a pilot art project called Art Riot that will look to re-establish a link between Hunslet Lane and the city centre through a series of cultural appropriations. Walk and talk tours of the city, and a blog and interactive digital map (that will help create a community in which to share and converse) will also be facilitated.
“By focusing on Leeds as a case study of animated urban space, our plan is to approach the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to carry out a global survey of creative practice in descent.”
The project will run for 12 months from September 2016 to August 2017. For more information email email@example.com.