Inside student art collective, Platform3

The Gryphon sat down with student art collective, Platform3, to discuss who they are, what they hope to do, and their upcoming events.

The brainchild of Emma Bentley-Fox, Lily Lavorato and Phine Mitchell, Platform3 is a new Leeds-based and student-led art collective, formed with the belief that art has the capacity to help people initiate conversation and interaction, acting as a common ground and creating dialogues between people where previously there were none.

While students at the University of Leeds, the trio is focussed on, in their words, “initiating creative conversation and creating strong links between the three main art education institutes of Leeds: Leeds Beckett, Leeds College of Art and The University of Leeds. With around 600 art students leaving these institutes each year, many of whom choose to stay in Leeds, not only will this infuse greater innovation and diversity into the current student arts scene, but also contribute to the greater creative network of Leeds, as well as providing lots of exciting new possibilities for art students.”

How are you launching your collective?

“To kickstart our emergence onto the Leeds arts scene we have a trio of events planned, which are specifically designed to include something for everyone and give a small taster of what we are interested in developing. As well as our main opening party; PROD, we also are excited to announce our affordable Print and Pint Fair, and The Leeds Student Art Exchange initiative, consisting of an introductory workshop with a view to developing monthly crit sessions, workshops and an art student’s support network.”

What’s your take on the arts scene in Leeds?

“Within Leeds there is a huge variety of exhibition platforms and galleries, from big galleries like the Tetley, Leeds City Art Gallery, and The Henry Moore Institute, down to smaller grassroots projects like the recent arts festival, BR:EAK, organized by ARTURN collective, and their quirky curation of ‘The Window of Opportunity’ [below] at Nation of Shopkeepers. There are also organisations like East Street Arts, who have been brilliant at supporting us, who provide support and opportunities for artists in Leeds. The thriving and diverse music scene in Leeds also provides plenty of possibilities for interesting collaborations between music and art. As a collective we hope to provide support, and a platform to showcase work, to artists and students just starting out and with little experience. We hope then to develop long-term relationships and friendships with like-minded and passionate artists.”

“The Window of Opportunity” during Sky Shadowlight’s occupancy, through ARTURN collective.


Tell us a bit about the events you’ll be putting on.

“We’re really excited to announce PROD. /Friday 22nd April/. We’re billing it as an art event like no other:

‘In a world of digital screens and virtual connections, its time to pause and Prod. Prod what it is to be human, to re-evaluate how we connect with one another and to experience rather than document.’

We wanted our first art exhibition to reflect our desire to create a space where real human connections could be made. PROD therefore is an event rather than an exhibition. For one night only we will transform a disused space, only a five minute walk from the train station, into a vibrant hub of art activity, music and good vibes. the participant will be transported from the busy city, from the mundane everyday, and into another reality, full of colour and music and energy. By fusing live music, DJs and immersive art, with an emphasis on participation rather than spectatorship, and by redefining the spaces and environments in which we traditionally consider art, we can encourage a wider audience into a new, inclusive artworld.  Expect weird and wonderful projections, sculptures and characters, alongside cheap drinks and free entry. [They ask only that you give a small object of your choice on the door].

Confirmed artists include the awesome light-show duo Melt Trip, performance artist Skye Shadowlight, well as film work by artist Anya Stewart-Maggs, and sculpture by Momo Takeuchi, and Kate Shires. These are just some of over 25 artists involved in the event. We also are excited to be bringing to you original pieces by Platform3 itself throughout the evening, so expect to get a little weird, and a little messy!”

More details can be found on the facebook event, here:

Image courtesy of Melt Trip
Image courtesy of Melt Trip

The facebook event mentions you’ll be asking attendees to hand their phones in for an evening and ‘switch off’ from the outside world. It’s a somewhat unusual request – can you tell us a little more about why you’re asking this?

“The motivation behind this concept was really that we miss so much when viewing events through the camera lens of our phone, and keeping everyone updated of our every move via social media. In order to encourage full involvement in the event we want participants to keep their phones off, and in bags or pockets for the entire evening. The event will provide the participant with an opportunity to pause from social media for one night, and experience the moment fully without distractions, for an intense and thought provoking experience. Digital documentation will also be prohibited, meaning the event will exist only through the memories of participants, and experimental analogue records. We have also been working closely with our artists to develop some interesting and experimental ways of recording the event, so participants will be able to take away some other goodies from the evening, as well as some great memories.”

And, finally, what’s next?

“Over the next year we hope to firmly establish ourselves within the art community and keep developing our own unique brand of evening entertainment, as well as developing long term relationships with like minded artists and other collectives and organisations. If you like the sound of us and want to get in touch about future projects give our page a like, or contact us.”

You can reach Platform3 Arts on their facebook page, here:

Paul Turner

Featured image courtesy of Emma Bentley Fox

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