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DIY arts: five creative community spaces in Leeds

Written by
Kay Brown
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Whether it's art, food, drink, music or theatre, Leeds is a hugely creative city responsible for an impressive output of innovative and experimental ideas.

As such a melting pot of culture and talent, the people of Leeds are looking for ever more imaginative ways in which to house their creativity. This has led to an amazing amount of spaces popping up all over the city that empower those who take a DIY approach to their creative output. 

We look at five of the most prominent and what makes them so special:

Chunk

Chunk

Like many creative art spaces that cater to the DIY music scene in Leeds, Chunk is an unsung hero often overlooked when it comes to industry funding.

As a co-operative used mainly as a band rehearsal space, it benefits from the views and opinions of a variety of people. Its empathetic standpoint has enabled the space to become a go-to for many of those escaping austerity and its active encouragement of a ‘safer-space’ means many can go without feeling excluded.

As the chosen space for the gender inclusive, diverse club night Come Thru and its own ‘Renegades of Chunk’ mini festival, the venue has fully embraced Leeds' underground music culture.

Leeds Hackspace

Leeds Hackspace

Much like Chunk, Leeds Hackspace is a non-profit space that is entirely membership run and funded. Unlike Chunk, Hackspace is somewhere for 'hackers' (they probably would have been called 'tinkerers' or 'inventors' in the past) can share equipment, ideas and knowledge. 

Within this space, members of the Hackspace community gain access to an Aladdin's cave full of goodies they might not otherwise get their hands on, like laser cutters, computer systems, welding kit, electronics or a metal lathe, allowing for unimpeded growth.

It’s not hard to get involved either, they have an open night every Tuesday from 7pm – so get down and check out what you’re missing.  

Project Space Leeds 

The Tetley

Like all thriving communities, Project Space Leeds is a collaborative. With helping hands from Leeds City Council, their philosophy of working together is right at the heart of everything it creates.

Project Space Leeds enables the production that enables the dissemination and production of visual art, creating a platform for emerging artists, allowing them to make and show work on an expansive scale.

It's able to do this as the operators and curators of the The Tetley public creative space, a venue where it can host exhibitions, events, projects and much more. 

Fabrication 

Fabrication is one of the craftiest places in Leeds and it has been providing our residents with a place to craft for years.

First starting in the Merrion Centre, it has now moved to The Light and provides classes on everything from sugar flowers and knitting to brooch making, fascinator crafting and jewellery making. It's got plenty of classes for children, too.

You can sign up for almost anything on their site so if you don't have your own space to create and you’re feeling crafty or have a spare weekend twiddling your fingers, go learn (and make) something new. 

Wharf Chambers

Wharf Chambers

The ethos of Wharf Chambers is 'to provide an inclusive and affordable space for music, art, film, politics and discussion that brings together people from communities across Leeds'.

Although not necessarily a rehearsal space, it is a place where bands regularly put on gigs and other musical events. It has become known for its boundary-pushing events, such as the ‘Liberate Not Regulate’ night, which discussed sex worker solidarity.

Run by a workers’ co-op in partnership with a members’ club it relies on donations to help raise funds for an evolving space. If you’re after a comfortable, inclusive space that advocates a ‘safe space policy’, get down to chunk most days from 5pm.

Can you think of anything else that should be added to this list? Let us know.

Love art? Find some of art exhibitions currently running in Leeds.

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