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Arts Development

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The Arts Development Team runs a funding scheme and a programme of cultural events throughout the year.
Our aim is to:
  • CREATE opportunities for local people to take part in the cultural life of the city;
  • SUPPORT local artists and arts organisations working in communities; and
  • PROMOTE partnership working within the arts and cultural sector.

Click to expandarts@leeds grant scheme

The arts@leeds grant scheme is a longer term funding option. It is administered on a three year cycle.  Applications for the 2015 to 2018 cycle opened on the 14 August 2014 and closed at midnight on Monday 13th October 2014. For an example application form and guidance notes please see the documents section.​

Click to expandLeeds Inspired grant scheme

The Leeds Inspired grant scheme has been launched to support new projects or create new work for the city’s vibrant cultural programme. All events are featured on the Leeds Inspired website, which is fast becoming the go-to guide for planning your free time in Leeds. You can download information about how to apply from the Leeds Inspired website (see external links section). There are a variety of grants offered on a rolling system, with up to £15,000 available. Please see the website for application deadlines.

Leeds Inspired

Click to expandWhat other funding is available?

The Arts Development team have a database of funding sources for cultural and community projects. Please see the Documents section on this page

Click to expandBreeze Arts Festival

The Breeze Arts Festival will take place from Sat 23 to Sat 30 July,2016 and will be packed full of workshops, performances, exhibitions and much more for young people aged 11-19.

The festival will be planned, programmed and organised with help from the Breeze Arts Festival management team, a group of young people aged 11-16.

Freelance opportunity:
Job opportunity for the 2016 Breeze Arts Festival for Steering Group Leader/Deliverer, please see the Documents section for full details. Deadline for applications Friday 20 November 2015.

Open call opportunity.
We are looking for organisations to create a project (in any art form) for young people aged 11-19 to be delivered in the lead up to and during Breeze Arts Festival. Please see the documents section for a full project brief and apply via Curatorspace

Breeze Arts Festival website


Click to expandHolocaust Memorial Day

On Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) we commemorate the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today. The theme for 2016’s event is Don’t stand by.
Leeds Town Hall Civic Remembrance Event
Sunday 24 January, 2pm at Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, LS1 3AD

Join the Lord Mayor of Leeds and hundreds of local people for an afternoon of commemoration in response to the international Holocaust Memorial Day theme of Don’t Stand By. The keynote speaker will be Nick Winton, son of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved the lives of 669 children through arranging Kindertransports from Czechoslovakia in the lead up to the Second World War.

The internationally renowned Academy of Northern Ballet presents students from their Centre for Advanced Training programme in classical ballet who will be performing Small Steps, choreographed by Cara O’Shea. This moving interpretation of the inspirational stories of bravery and upstanding in the face of extreme adversity fuses classical ballet and theatre to re-tell the journeys to safety undertaken by almost 10,000 children who were forced to leave their families to survive.

The event will also include music performed by members of The Clothworkers Consort of Leeds, reading of the seven statements of commitments with candle lighting and a traditional Hebrew memorial prayer sung by the Chairman of Bradford Synagogue, Rudi Leavor.
Free and open to all.
Q&A with Nick Winton
Sunday 24 January, 4pm at Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, LS1 3AD

Following on from the civic remembrance event, Nick Winton will take part in a Q&A session with the public. This is your opportunity to ask him questions about his father’s life and work.

Places are limited for this session so must be pre-booked through Eventbrite: http://hmdleeds2016qa-nicwinton.eventbrite.co.uk

Free and open to all, however pre booking is required.

Click to expandLight Night

A spectacular city-wide event featuring performance, installations, music and dance. For one evening, Leeds’ artists pool their talents in the city centre, exhibiting and performing their work on the streets and squares and in venues not usually open to the public.

The 2015 Light Night event took place on Friday 9th October
, you can download the full brochure from the documents section. 

If you would like to be added to our Light Night mailing list, please use the Contact us form on this page.  ​​​​

Light Night Leeds

Click to expandLeeds Town Hall Tours

Town Hall Tours take place on the last Saturday and Monday of each month, where you can see Victoria Hall, the old courtroom, prison cells and the view from the top of the Clock Tower. Tickets must be booked in advance on 0113 224 3801.  

Public tours available on the last Saturday and Monday of the month. 

October – Monday 26 2.30pm, Saturday 31 10.30am
November – Saturday 28 10.30am, Monday 30 2.30pm
December Christmas Lights evening tours – Wednesday 2, Wednesday 9, Wednesday 16; all at 4.30pm

Tickets: £4.50 advance booking essential, call 0113 224 3801 or visit the Carriageworks Theatre Box Office in Millennium Square.

We are also able to offer private tours for groups at a date/time to suit you. Tours are £115 and can take up to 25 people. Please call the Arts Development office on 0113 247 6419 for more information and to book.

Please note: for those unable to ascend the clock tower stairs an audio-visual presentation will be available on advance request. Access to the clock tower and outside the clock tower is subject to weather conditions, if the weather is particularly bad we retain the right to remove this part of the tour for safety reasons.  
Please see the Documents section for an e-flyer for our Behind the Lions activity, including listings for all talks, tours and exhibitions.

Please click here to view the Behind the Lions Brochure


Click to expandLunchtime Talks

Lunchtime Talks are free lunchtime cultural heritage talks delivered in partnership with Leeds University’s Brotherton Library, Leeds Central Library and Arts Development. The talks, given by people who work with the special collections, will reveal some of the remarkable objects that form our cultural heritage which the Brotherton collects and makes accessible, for both the university and the public.

This year we have two special talks given by Senior Curators from Royal Armouries which will coincide with the Battle of Waterloo new displays at the museum in November and the Easter Tournament of jousting.

Please click here to view an online version of the Behind the Lions brochure.  


Click to expandExhibitions

Current exhibition: Being There
October 2015 to January 2016
Leeds College of Art BA (HONS) Photography

‘Being There’ showcases a selection of photographs, chosen from a live open call brief, by students from all three years of the BA (HONS) Photography course at Leeds College of Art. 

This exhibition is programmed to coincide with the British Art Show 8 which opens its touring programme in Leeds on October 9, at Leeds Art Gallery. The British Art Show is a group exhibition taking place every five years, it looks at contemporary British art of the current & last few years and considers the changes and developments in art which time can alter and define.

Coming up: My Leeds in Focus
January to March 2016

An exciting photography exhibition showcasing the images and stories of the amazing buildings, places, people and activities that define our city. Curated by Leeds Community Foundation, a charity dedicated to bringing about positive change in local communities, the exhibition includes a collection of shortlisted entries from their My Leeds in focus photography competition.

The exhibitions are on display during Town Hall opening hours 10am  to 4pm Monday to Saturday.

​​​​​​​​​Please click here to view the Behind the Lions Brochure


Click to expandArts Development Newsletter

The Arts Development newsletter is sent quarterly via email. It contains information on funding and training opportunities and is a good source of information about the Leeds cultural scene. To subscribe to our newsletter and receive arts sector updates please use the Contact us form. For the latest edition, please see the Documents section on this page.​

Click to expandBreeze Culture Network

Do you work with children, young people and/or families in Leeds?

Register online at and join a huge network of cultural organisations and artists, sports bodies and coaches, schools and colleges, voluntary and community groups and local authority departments all with one thing in common - they all work positively with children/young people/families in Leeds. There's a huge directory, an active targeted messaging system constantly circulating information about events, activities, opportunities and news for children and young people AND the people who work (and volunteer) with them, plus a direct link to Breezeleeds.org which means you can promote what you do directly to children and young people in Leeds on their events diary, news and facebook. Everyone on BCN has provided basic safeguarding and quality of provision criteria to guarantee you are networking with people in the know, working directly with your target audience - big or small. ​​​​

Breeze Culture Network

Click to expandHeritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days celebrate England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life. 

Heritage Open Days website

Click to expandMagical Leeds Lantern Parade

Join in the Magical Christmas Lantern Parade by building your own lantern at one of our fun free workshops at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 December.

Bring your friends and family and join our team of artist elves in the crypt to build your own sparkling lantern. 

We are offering 3 hour morning and afternoon workshops suitable for all ages. 

The Lanterns you create will be labelled and stored at the Town Hall and you can collect them at the start of the parade at Kirkgate outdoor Market.  You can take your lanterns home at the end of the parade.

The parade takes place on Saturday 12 December from 4.30pm. The parade will start at 5.30pm at Kirkgate Market.​

The Christmas Lantern Parade is led by Ronnie the giant Reindeer, and a stunning illuminated White Owl! A beautiful illuminated Snow Queen, will glide magnificently through the streets of Leeds, joined by larger-than-life Winter Wonderland Birds, illuminated with incredible lights, set to amaze you!

This spectacular procession will start from the George Street entrance of Kirkgate Market (please gather from 5pm) and wind its way through Leeds city centre. It will be accompanied by Yorkshire's New York Brass Band performing Christmas tunes and a procession of candle lanterns, which will transform Leeds into a fantastical winter wonderland.

The Lantern Parade will end at Victoria Gardens at approximately 6.15pm; where there will be a performance of the spectacular Halo Glow Show by Flame Oz, an explosive visual act featuring a combination of world class acrobats and glowing LED hula hoops and juggling clubs. You'll be able to unwind and enjoy a warming hot chocolate or mulled wine, and a mouth-watering treat from one of the festive food stalls. ​​​​

Book onto the workshop

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