In Leeds: Pictures From an Exhibition

Version 2Pictures from an evening and a day in Leeds Art Gallery, surrounded by the British Art Show, talking about art, participation and much else besides.In Leeds - 2 In Leeds - 3I arrive from our weekly site meeting in Granby. Delighted to be invited here to add my own experiences of what can make life work better to everyone else’s.

In this grand Victorian building.

In this grand Victorian building.

Where I will soon talk about anarchy, the creative necessity of breaking rules and the power of laying your hands on your own place.

Where I will soon talk about anarchy, the creative necessity of breaking rules, the power of laying your hands on your own place and what community led change can achieve.

As you’d probably expect.

Thursday evening soon fills up.

Thursday evening soon fills up.

Relieved to have so many people come to have a conversation with me. You never know do you?

And we get going.

So we get going.

I’ve been invited to talk about my experiences as ‘a sense of place’ these last 20 years.

Including, and obviously, over the last few years as part of what we're all up to in Granby.

Including, and obviously, over the last few years as part of what we’re all up to in Granby.

After my presentation my friend Emma Bearman from ‘Playful Leeds’ runs a conversation with me and everyone else there, exploring how things I’m learning about community led change might be applied to life in Leeds and even in the art world. I’m never less than aware how surreal it now is to be asked for my opinions on the art world since being involved in winning the Turner Prize.

Next morning there's a splendid Italian breakfast at La Bottega.

Next morning there’s a splendid Italian breakfast at La Bottega Milanese.

Before a day of intense discussions begins.

Before a day of intense discussions begins.

Sitting in the galleries surrounded by the exhibits in the British Art Show we continue to talk participation and the necessity of institutions like this being social places as well as places for work to be seen, together with being the storehouses and engines of our imaginations.

And the meaning of life with a cardboard hat.

We also consider the meaning of life with a cardboard hat.

Lunch is in the most magnificently tiled municipal room I've ever been in.

Lunch is in the most magnificently tiled municipal room I’ve ever been in.

Sadly the food is as barely adequate as in too many other municipal rooms.

Sadly the food is as barely adequate as in too many other municipal rooms.

But the views over Leeds are a permanent consolation. I love this place.

But the views over Leeds are a permanent consolation. I love this place.

In Leeds - 15

Our work continues.

Our work continues.

With interludes.

With interludes.

For the afternoon it's up the magnificently tiled stairs into Leeds Library.

For the afternoon it’s up the magnificently tiled stairs into Leeds Library.

And in the course of the afternoon and using many a creative technique we all write a letter to the people of Edinburgh.

Why?

Why?

Well.

Well.

The British Art Show is about to end its time in Leeds.

The British Art Show is about to end its time in Leeds.

Then be packed off to Edinburgh, next Norwich and finally Southampton. This is how it works. Every four years an exhibition of the best of British contemporary art travels round four British cities. Each city learning lessons from the last one.

Hence us all sitting here talking and writing.

Hence us all sitting here talking and writing.

Moving around the room every 20 minutes in something called a 'Global Café'

Moving around the room every 20 minutes in something called a ‘Global Café’

Enjoyably agreeing and disagreeing as we go.

Enjoyably agreeing and disagreeing as we go.

With occasional summaries.

With occasional summaries.

And constant art.

And constant art to interrupt and inspire.

Here is the letter the group I’m in writes to the people of Edinburgh:In Leeds - 27“We would love you to have our thoughts from a whole day about participation.

So we say to you – get your participation started early. Make it as meaningful and joyous as possible, and from then on use it to create a whole sequence of social events while the exhibition is with you (and beyond).

Create opportunities to enable dialogue, space to voice and value different opinions, allow room for disagreement, and let us know how you get on!”

I enjoyed it all tremendously.

I enjoyed it all tremendously.

The British Art Show closes in Leeds this Sunday, 10th January 2016 and will open in Edinburgh on 13th February. More information and films about the show are on its blog here. A film about this participation event will also be added soon.

Big thanks to Natalie Walton, Emma Bearman, Jon Beech, Marie Millward, Kenn Taylor and everyone else in Leeds for your hospitality and friendship.

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