Research opportunities  Leeds Creative Labs - Creative Health

Leeds Creative Labs is a funded opportunity for artists and creative professionals to collaborate with researchers from the University of Leeds. Find out about the opportunity and apply.

Deadline to apply: 12am (GMT), Monday 12 February 2024

Register to attend the ‘What is Leeds Creative Labs?’ session on 10 January 2024

What is Leeds Creative Labs? 

Leeds Creative Labs is a funded opportunity for artists and creative professionals to collaborate with researchers from the University of Leeds. The programme is an initiative developed and led by the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds since 2012.  

In the past, we have paired hip-hop dancers with economists, ballet choreographers with biochemical engineers, and visual artists with astrophysicists.  

In this edition of Leeds Creative Labs, we’ve partnered up with Bradford Producing hub and will be offering up to five sets of labs for our Creative Health Labs edition.

How it works

The match between researchers and arts professionals will be made by a panel of health academics and cultural professionals, based not only on the participants’ thematic interests, but also on their shared sense of curiosity and ambition to explore ideas without limits. 

Once pairings are made, we will host a collaborative workshop for all participants at the University of Leeds. 

Pairings will then have six weeks to work together across three days. Each pair will work together to think about what they will do: in the past artists have visited labs, and academics have visited artist studios or rehearsals, together with discussions or workshops. 

Pairings will be invited to speak at a public event held in Bradford to share their experiences at the end of the programme. 

Why take part?

Since 2012, Leeds Creative Labs has worked with over 100 pairs from across various artforms and disciplines. Deviating from traditonal ways of working has allowed previous participants to forge new relationships, open up interdisciplinary ways of thinking and impact research trajectories. 

Outcomes reported by previous participants of Leeds Creative Labs include: 

  • Refreshed thinking in academic practice and peer learning 
  • Renewed sense of joy and excitement in research and collaboration 
  • New academic research and impact 
  • Academic outputs such as conference papers and journal articles 
  • Large research grant capture, in part as a result of embedded public engagement and well-established pathways to impact through developed partnerships 
  • Increased capacity and resource as a result of skills development
  • Pedagogical approaches instigated and developed 
  • Leadership skills refined
  • Increased profile for researchers, partners and organisations through awards, press and media.

Please visit Leeds Creative Labs Shorthand site to read case studies from previous iterations of Leeds Creative Labs. 

What are we looking for? 

Academics that are driven by a sense of inquiry and a willingness to work with artists on an equal footing. We look for projects that go beyond using art to display research findings to find a more equitable way of approaching collaboration. Artists and academics will be invited into the collaboration on an equal footing, each bringing their speciliasms and willingness to work openly and in partnership.


You must be employed by the University of Leeds until at least 31 July 2024.  

Academics from all faculties can apply, but your research must have links to health, wellbeing, mental health.  

What does participation involve? 

You give permission for any work created as part of the Leeds Creative Lab programme to be accessible in the public domain. 

You must be able to participate in the launch event on Monday 15 April 2024 and a sharing event on Wednesday 12 June 2024.  

You must commit to a minimum of three days between 16 April and 7 June to work with an academic partner at mutually convenient times. 

You will participate in the evaluation of the programme which includes completion of evaluation questionnaire at the end of the programme and permission for photography and filming during key events.

Applicants must commit to the following dates before applying:

  • Midnight, Monday 12 February: closing date for applications
  • Friday 22 March partners selected and collaborations announced
  • Monday 15 April: Leeds Creative Labs Launch and workshop, University of Leeds
  • Tuesday 16 April to Friday 7 June: collaboration period
  • Wednesday 12 June: share event in Bradford (Venue TBC).

Materials Fund

Up to £200, administered by the Cultural Institute, will be available for each academic and artist pair to use for assets, software, materials, research costs or anything else that is useful to support their collaboration. 

How can I find out more? 

We’re hosting a ‘What is Creative Health Labs?’ online session on January 10th 2024 at 12pm. The online event will be an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the project or application process. Please register for a space at the ‘What is Creative Health Labs’ session.

For more information or questions email the Cultural Institute at