Leeds Creatives: the lowdown

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Talks from cultural connoisseurs from across the city show the creative strength of Leeds

On the 22nd November, The Gryphon, Leeds Student Radio and LSTV came together to put on the first Leeds Creatives event.

The event played host to a number of speakers who are having a huge impact within the city’s cultural industries. LSR DJs filled the gaps between speakers and at the end of the day there was a buffet put on by headline speaker, Adam Smith, from the Real Junk Food Project.

The sheer breadth of talks that took place highlighted the endless opportunities within Leeds, highlighting that you do not have to go to London if you want to make it in the creative industry.

The day opened with Raf Bogan speaking from &/or emporium, a group which brings a whole collaboration of ideas together. This was followed by a talk from Leanne Buchan from Leeds City Council, who is putting a bid together for Leeds to become the Cultural Capital in 2023. She emphasised how arts need to be made more readily available to students, as if students finish university thinking Leeds is confined to just the Hyde Park/Headingley bubble, they are more likely to leave the city, which is causing a brain drain in the North.

30380070584_d35a9950fb_oNext came Billy Collins, from Honest Edibles, who gave a demonstration on how to make raw vegan sushi. As a University of Leeds alumni, he has now started up his own ethical food business in the city and uses as much local produce as possible and teaches others how to cook vegan food.

Tom Smith from Cosmic Slop also spoke and explaining how he has combined running a club night with raising money for the charity MAP (Music and Arts Production). He has managed to build a sound system that has made Cosmic Slop a household name amongst some of the biggest DJs, meaning many have asked to come and play. This enables Cosmic Slop to raise more money to help disadvantaged children receive an education that they will benefit from.

Following this came GOAT collective, who all recently graduated from Leeds College of Art and now work together to create incredible artwork which was demonstrated by the work they created during the talks.

Girls That Gig from Leeds College of Music emphasised the importance of getting women into music while Amy Letman from Transform described how it was necessary for her to move to Leeds from London in order to be able to produce theatre without having the constant stress of the cost of the capital.

Hayley Reid, another Leeds University alumni, spoke next about East Street Arts, highlighting the numerous opportunities in Leeds for young creatives to really make their mark.

Last to speak was Adam Smith, the creator of The Real Junk Food Project. He gave an inspirational talk and highlighted how much waste there is in Leeds, revealing that they intercept tonnes of waste every single day. Previous single deliveries have included seven tonnes of limes and 27 tonnes of noodles.

He states that there is a massive need to question businesses about their waste, intercept food waste so that it can be used elsewhere, and also reform the food banks as, shockingly, most of the waste that they intercept comes from them as if it is after the food’s best before date (yet not the use by date), they are not legally allowed to serve it.

Overall, the day was hugely successful and hosted a variety of speakers that covered all types of cultural outlets, proving that Leeds is a great place to live and thrive as a young creative.

Polly Hatcher

(Images: Rupert Lloyd)

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