Overworlds and Underworlds

Mysterious girls in black appear on a balcony in the County Arcade

This ‘free, multi-location event’ over the weekend of 18 – 20 May was billed as a ‘passport to another Leeds’. It was part of Leeds Cultural Olympiad project, according to Culture Vultures and master minded by the Quay Brothers. Ignorant of all these things, I went along on the principle that if it’s public entertainment and free, then it’s of interest to Leeds Wellbeing Web readers.

An eery eruption in Briggate

And actually it was all rather mysterious and spectacular, starting with a strange choir of girls dressed in black, singing on the balconies of County Arcade. About two or three hundred of us gathered to listen, and it was very moving, even though I couldn’t make out the words. Having to look up really made you appreciate what an extraordinary place the arcade is. Warring brass bands then appeared and we followed down Briggate, past a strange dreamlike sculpture that had emerged in the precinct. There were dancers and more brass, but somehow it all seemed a little less magical in the light of day. 

Things took a sombre turn when we entered the Dark Arches beneath the City Station, which I’ve always thought is one of the most fascinating places in Leeds. Here were dancers, flickering early film of the city, surreal insects in glass victorian specimen jars, an otherworldly performance of a ghostly figure and a storm tossed ship. It was all rather weird and wonderful, but the place itself was the star. They’d opened much more of it up, and lit the tunnels so you could see into corners normally in darkness. The final scene was a viewing point where you could see through several arches, across the flowing river. As you watched the music swelled and slowly the whole scene was suffused with light and colour. It seemed suddenly like you’d returned to the Central Arcade, looking at the rich colours of the ‘Overworld’ – back where you’d started.

Pale young people playing trash percussion

There was more outside – a macabre percussion band like something from a TIm Burton movie, the top of a pylon projecting from one of the locks. I didn’t really understand half of what I saw, but I enjoyed seeing Leeds from a different point of view, the Underworld in particular, and went away feeling I’d had my imagination tickled. Terry

Dark Arches Transformed

tinkerbell and magic fairy’s journey into community reporting

Over the last 8 weeks on our community reporting course we have learned how to blog and use a camera.

We went to Kirkstall Abbey and walked down the canal and took some fab photos that we then made into a slideshow. We then uploaded this to the wellbeing website.

We then went on to video and edit our own film which we then uploaded to youtube. Our video was about visiting kirkstill abbey.

We had a lot of fun making the video and will take the skills we have learned with us and continue to blog for leeds wellbeing web and do community reporting in the future.

We would recommend the course to other people as it was very intesting and a lot of fun to learn new skills and be able to use them in our everyday lives.

Tinkerbell and the Magic fairy signing out for now.
over and out.

Community Reporters Course

I have enjoyed taking part in the course and found it very interesting and creative. I have enjoyed learning media skills relating to downloading photographs and video and developing community reporting skills. I think the concept of the Leeds Wellbeing Web is a great idea and something in this day and age of vicious  cut backs and austerity that is really needed so that people can connect and take strength from one another in terms of sharing helpful resources and information to contribute to their wellbeing and that of their respective communities.

From starting 8 weeks ago from a blank websites a lot of interesting material has been added and I look forward to its further development. I hope that those that follow on in future courses enjoy it as much as I have. A big thank you to John Baron our patient supportive teacher who has been most helpful and a pleasure to work with.  

Mike Bush

Woodward and Bernstein of the North?


Looking for another Watergate!

Probably not, but during the past couple of months I have been guided through the fundamentals of community reporting, courtesy of Leeds Mind. Looking at photography, video and writing, four would-be reporters have been brought up to speed with all the relevant skills and are now, hopefully, ready to pound the streets of Leeds in pursuit of the next big journalistic coup.

In the absence of any subterfuge or scandal we will be keeping an eye on all that is relevant or tangentially interesting to Leeds Wellbeing Web. We hope that you, too, keep an eye open and share with us anything you think we ought to know.

Guest posts welcome on Leeds Wellbeing Web

The Wellbeing Web is an exciting new project in Leeds – and we would like to invite YOU to get involved!

The Wellbeing Web is a blog where individuals can contribute information, stories, pictures or films about places and activities in Leeds which help maintain their wellbeing. The aim is to create a fantastic online resource where people can share their experiences of staying well in Leeds.

It’s about giving people a voice to tell their own stories and the story of their city through their own eyes. AND WE WANT YOU TO CONTRIBUTE!

This is an open blog which is a resource for anyone with mental health difficulties to contribute to.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to write, or video – we can help you! In conjunction with People’s Voice Media we’re running community reporters courses which will give you the skills and confidence you need to tell your story.

If you have a story, or would like to write a guest post for Leeds Wellbeing Web – or you’d like to join our community reporters’ scheme, get in touch with us at leedswellbeingweb@gmail.com

Video: Looking after your wellbeing at Kirkstall Abbey

Budding community reporters ‘Tinkerbell’ and ‘Magic Fairy’ have spent the past fortnight filming and editing this video of their trip around Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds.

You should also check out Leeds Wellbeing Web’s new YouTube channel.

Mad woman cycles to Kendal

As we are the Wellbeing Web, I thought it would be nice to plug this fundraiser for the Leeds Wellbeing Centre, even though they are nothing to do with us! (says Terry). Gill Trevor, the Centre manager writes:

On Thursday 17th May – in fact in 1 weeks’ time (Yieks) I am going to attempt to cycle the 70 miles from Leeds to Kendal in order to raise funds for the Wellbeing Centre. The money raised will go towards continuing our work supporting people with mental health issues and raising the profile of our work among dementia sufferers.

So I wont drone on but if you could find the time to sponsor me it will give me a greater incentive to battle over the A65 on Thursday 17th May!!!

I’m what I would describe as a casual, fair weather cycle to work and home cyclist so I need all the support I can get to do 70 miles in one day!

And in case you do want to sponsor me here is the link………


 Many thanks

Gill Trevor, Centre Manager
Leeds Wellbeing Centre
Tel: 0113 244 4546
Leeds Wellbeing Centre gift vouchers are on sale now
Call 0113 244 4546 to give a gift that makes a difference

Urban Walkabout

Sheepscar sky, end of April

I don’t really have much idea what native Australians mean by the term walkabout, but for many years walking around in the city, with or without a destination, has been something that has really helped my peace of mind. Walking places means you have time to think. A friend of mine was once banned from driving and lent me his car for six months. I kept arriving places too soon, my mind still in the last place I’d left.

A couple of weeks ago, before the rainy season, I walked back from St.James to Woodhouse. The air was charged with something special, a kind of promise.

All quiet on Holborn Approach

There was still a little late Spring bite, but leaves and blossom were out or nearly on cherry trees by Thomas Danby. One of the most interesting bits of sea or land is the beach between them, and of the day when it’s just arriving and leaving, like that eve. The city seemed open like the future – exciting, dangerous, for better or worse full of the new…..

Sheepscar sky, early May

Two weeks later I did the same walk, same time of evening, and it was completely different – different light, different feel. The city’s like a beach – you never know what will wash up on the shore of your experience when you walk through it.

Woodhouse apocalypse