Six months of Smeaton300 celebrations

The University launched a partnership with Smeaton300, a creative programme from arts organisation Foxglove, in January to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John Smeaton, the UK's first civil engineer.  

This initiative is led by the University’s Cultural Institute in partnership with the School of Civil Engineering, supporting activities across various departments, including the School of Music, Public Engagement Team, stage@leeds, Leeds University Library Galleries, and the University of Leeds Poetry Centre. 

The ambitious programme of activity aims to bring research-inspired cultural activities to a broad audience of staff, students and the public. It has already engaged more than 2,000 people in our activities.  

Many more activities and engagements are planned for the next six months, continuing to celebrate and expand upon John Smeaton's legacy. 

“From artist Mohammad Barrangi to biomimetic design competitions, the Smeaton300 program demonstrates that when creative minds collaborate, we discover numerous ways to innovate, create and inspire. We're delighted with the first half of the Smeaton300 celebrations and look forward to engaging even more people through unusual, unique events and activities.”

Wieke Eringa, Director of the Cultural Institute

Student activity highlights

Navigating Home Project

Student volunteers created a resource page for the Mohammed Barrangi exhibition, providing additional context through exploring lighthouses' history and Smeaton's legacy

Biomimicry Design Competition

Civil Engineering students co-designed an event looking at nature-inspired solutions for campus improvements, with insights from Dr Sepideh Khodaparast and alumna Chloe Baldwin.

The Great Leeds Build-Off

Students participated in an engineering challenge at the new Crossroads space in the Union, applying engineering principles in a fun and competitive environment.  

Liberal Arts App Development

BA Liberal Arts students, supervised by Dr Dibya Roy, developed an app to help new arrivals learn more about their surroundings on campus.

Research activity highlights 

Leeds Creative Labs Programme

Five artists and five School of Engineering academics participated in a creative residency, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.  

Leeds Industrial Museum Takeover

The public engagement team hosted workshops at Leeds Industrial Museum, drawing over 250 visitors and showcasing research activities from the School of Civil Engineering.

Mohammed Barrangi Commission

Artist Mohammed Barrangi was commissioned to create new work for The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, focusing on Islamic calligraphy, Middle Eastern prints, and textiles, aligning with the Smeaton300 theme "Find Our Way Home."

Upcoming events

Leeds Creative Labs Share Event

Book your ticket to join us on 10 July to learn about the findings from the collaborations between artists and civil engineers.

Gair Wood Soundscape

Created by artist Alex De Little, this project engages local sound artists to explore connections between the campus and the nature site. Supported by Leeds University Library Galleries.

Student-Led Research Workshops

Hosted at the School of Music and commissioned by the Cultural Institute, these workshops due to take place in December focus on music research exploring the themes of the programme. 

Stage@leeds Summer School

A two-summer programme offering a variety of theatrical and performance opportunities for young people. Fully subscribed with a public performance in August. 

Light Night 2024

Our biggest event yet, featuring a curated and commissioned program of installations, music, and performances designed for family audiences over two nights. Led by the Cultural Institute. 

Climate Conference for Primary Schools

Highlighting Smeaton300, this event is led by Be Curious and aims to educate and inspire young people about climate issues. 

School of Music Ensemble in Residence

Concerts held at the Howard Assembly Room, showcasing the talent of the School’s resident ensemble.

Engagement Activities

Initiatives involving students from the School of Civil Engineering, promoting practical learning experiences. 

Poetry Workshops

Conducted in primary schools and community venues by the University of Leeds Poetry Centre.