Leeds Migration Stories

In 2019 we are undertaking a number of projects under the overarching theme of telling stories of migration about and in Leeds.

These projects will showcase the stories and experiences of those who have made a home in Leeds in the past 250 years, and will discuss the impact that migration has had on Leeds.

This is a story that we haven't really ever told at Leeds City Museum. Our job is to share the history of Leeds, and migration is an important part of that. It's also the first time that all of our temporary display spaces will look at the same theme.

We know that migration is a highly-emotive subject. Many people who have their own migration story may have had to make difficult, painful journeys not of their choosing. For others the issue can be a source of worry, fear or even hostility. We recognise that at a national level public attitudes to migration are complicated.

Although we know that the picture is complicated, we do have a clear belief - we believe that migration has had, and continues to have, a positive impact on the city of Leeds. There is a long history of migration to the city and wider region, and our projects will seek to showcase and celebrate the ways in which that has shaped the city we all know today.

If you would like to be involved with our project you can tell us your migration story to Leeds via our quick online surveyExternal link.


A City and its Welcome: Three Centuries of Migrating to Leeds: 12 Jul 2019 to 5 Jan 2020

Leeds City Museum tells the story of Leeds and its people throughout the ages. Many people have come to Leeds to start a new life, including those escaping famine in Ireland in the 1800s, those seeking work opportunities, and todays refugees arriving in our City of Sanctuary.

'A city and its welcome' will showcase the stories and experiences of those who have made a home in Leeds over the past three centuries. These people have helped shape the city that we recognise today. Come on a journey with us though the hopes and expectations of these people, the realities of life in a new place and treasured objects brought from afar.

Community Displays

New Beginnings - Leeds Migration Stories: 18 Mar 2019 to 16 Jun 2019

Curated with the museum's youth group, the Preservative Party, this display will explore migration to Leeds through individual narratives from the late 1800s to the current day. Looking at the unique experiences of a number of people throughout history, the display focuses on their unique experiences and contribution to Leeds following their relocation to the city.

Making a Home in Leeds: 24 May 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Stop by to see our community cases where we will be exploring contemporary stories of migration in Leeds with a selection of films and displays.

Picture My World: 17 Jun 2019 to 16 Sept 2019

We will be showing a selection of artworks produced by young people who have recently arrived in Leeds. The group draw on their personal experiences of migration, safety, identity and belonging.

A partnership with My Bright KiteExternal link and Leeds InspiredExternal link.

Get involved

We want to talk to as many people as possible to find out their story of migrating to Leeds, if you would like to get involved with our project we can help in the following ways:

  • we can come and talk to you/your group and bring objects to help facilitate discussions
  • suggest an idea for an event
  • visit the museum during the exhibitions!
  • tell us your story by taking part in our survey
  • lend us an object or objects that help to tell your story. Take a look at the objects we have and tell us what's missing
  • have your portrait taken with us for use in the main exhibition

If you're interested in appearing in a film of migration stories please let us know by emailing us at city.museum@leeds.gov.uk if there's something else that you'd like to talk to us about.