Leeds Creative Labs

Through Leeds Creative Labs, we aim to spark collaborations that inspire and challenge artists and researchers to explore, innovate and take risks to find new ways of working together.

This ground-breaking programme pairs creative professionals with researchers from the University. Through Leeds Creative Labs, we provide funding, inspiration, opportunities and above all, the co-creative space to share ideas and experiences without deadlines and targets.

The match is made based not only on the areas of professional interest, but also on a shared sense of curiosity and ambition to embark on the unknown.

Participants are not expected to respond to a specific brief, rather to enter into the experience on an equal footing, and have the rare opportunity to have unstructured space in which to explore and create ideas together without an agenda. With no expectation of an output, the process allows partners to establish the focus of their engagement with each other from the outset.

Sharing a playful, creative approach with new colleagues, who had never worked in this way, was joyful.

Wendy Harris, Artistic Director at tutti frutti

Digital creativity collaborations

In early editions of Leeds Creative Labs, we brought together digital innovators with arts and humanities researchers. They discovered inspiring areas of shared interest and their creative practice and research took on new dimensions as a result.

Pilot projects have already produced a variety of ideas from a diverse array of talents, ranging from a video game on the ethics of drone warfare developed with digital artists Invisible Flock, to smartphone tools for training actors with Cursor Ltd.

Performing arts collaborations

We have developed Leeds Creative Labs to include collaboration with Performing Arts partners, facilitated through the University’s DARE partnership with Opera North.  

Eleven DARE Edition collaborations have taken place since 2015, with arts partners from across the performing arts sector including dance, opera and theatre; and academics from biological sciences, chemistry and education as well as arts and humanities.

In 2015, Cap-a-Pie, South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk) and Opera North took part with academic partners from the Schools of Modern Languages, Performance and Cultural Industries and Education. 

In 2016 we saw tutti frutti, RashDash, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Opera North partner with academics from Biological Sciences and Chemistry.

In 2017 performing arts partners including RJC Dance, Middle Child Theatre, Knaïve Theatre and Javaad Alipoor worked with researchers in the fields of Civil Engineering, Politics, Geography and French.