The Tetley – a new contemporary Art Gallery in Leeds – now open.

The Tetley is a new Contemporary Art Gallery which is housed in the old site of the Tetley Brewery – and it’s open NOW!  Yes –  It’s the launch this weekend and there are some fabulous events listed.  A few weeks ago I was invited to a preview arranged by the cities blogging guru’s The Culture Vultures.

I arrived on a dark and wet November evening to meet fellow bloggers and tweeters who I had never met before.  We were ushered out of the cold and into an modern shiny bar area and offered a glass of wine as we waited for the rest of the bloggers to arrive – a nice welcome. Meanwhile the staff were busily getting ready for an event later that evening and the grand opening which is this weekend.  There was definitely an exciting feel in the air. Ladders were propped against an unfinished wall and I got the sense there was still a lot to do before this weekend’s opening.

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We were divided into groups for our tour of the site. The architect who was responsible for the impressive transformation led our group – which was fantastic.  We started downstairs and checked out the restaurant area, which looked impressive and atmospheric. It had retained the style of the workers canteen with low lighting, big chunky institutional radiators and functional looking salt and pepper pots placed on the table. (Can’t wait to try the food!)

The Tetley isn’t a listed building which surprised me. The architects however took this into consideration and ensured that they protected the original features as much as possible. In fact the old Art Deco lift was still functioning. (Although it won’t be in use.)

The stairs were open and there was a huge excavated space behind them which the architect described as a canvas wall. This open space was the main architectural project and everything else he described as a restoration project. I have to say I loved the open space and the contrast it gave to the smaller rooms.

Surrounding the canvas wall was a gallery of little rooms. ‘It’s no Barbara Hepworth Wakefield,’ the architect informed us.  They had decided against the sterile – It was designed to be conducive to creativity. The rooms had original features left in place such as fire places, wood panel walls with wooden draws and old windows which were not repainted.  It made me feel like I wanted to play – there was something about the lack of sterility that made me feel much more connected to the building, the history seemed more apparent along with a sense of people who had been here before.

Oh and the Art – What kind of Art is to be shown? I was told contemporary, experimental – cutting edge. It certainly has a creative feel and is inviting. To find out visit The Tetley.

The Tetley is open …..NOW.

Thank you to The Culture Vultures, The Tetley, and The Architect.

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Secret cinema

Diary date:

Friday 29th November, Inkwell,6.30 for 7.30pm

looking for clues

looking for clues

The picture of an old manual typewriter, the sort my father used, and on which I made rudimentary attempts to learn typing, was a clue for one of Inkwells recent, FREE Secret Cinema events, perhaps it was this clue which made me skim over others,…..a claymation?…wasn’t sure what that was, but the promise of black comedy, an in-house produced animation, and a tongue -in -cheek vintage ad pastiche….lured me there.

The mystery movie on this occasion turned out to be….’Mary and Max’, it covered many mental health related themes, alcoholism, loneliness, diagnosis, attempted suicide, etc…..so why did we the audience find it so amusing? perhaps it was Max and Mary’s idiosyncratic advice to each other, the droll way Max is brutally honest with himself and others, his matter of fact acceptance of the way things were for him, Max’s ‘symptoms’ often got him in a lot of trouble, he found it hard to understand the non-verbal  cues in everyday interaction with others, diagnosed with Aspergers, he embraced this diagnosis, and with help he learned to better ‘read’ people, smile more, and  remove himself from a situation where someone took advantage of his foibles.

Mary’s unique and dogged creativity in keeping on, despite the catalog of things she experiences and observes, was heart-warming, as was the innovative gifts she sends Max, – her own bottled tears on one occasion when Max reveals his desire to cry ‘properly’, their story apparently based on a true one, sees their friendship span a twenty year period, those years are not without times of misunderstanding and withdrawal between them, the film demonstrates both the negative and positive impact of that.

I rather liked the practical, sometimes amusing advice of Max’s zany psychiatrist, we see him perform handstands on his office desk while advising Max, ‘never eat anything bigger than your head’, ….seemed sensible to me!  as did, ‘accept yourself warts and all’, however I’d have to disagree with his advice about Max ditching his imaginary friend  Mr Ravioli , apparently so did Ravioli who decided to stay anyway, quietly reading self-help books like ‘I’m ok, you’re ok’, until such time as he takes some of the books advice, and slinks surreptitiously out of the window of the high rise Manhattan apartment, ……so much for Berne,… a person who appeared to like playing games, drawing circles and figuring out what to say after saying hello?!

That old cliché ‘hardly a dry eye in the house’ was pretty close to the truth, as the audience were moved to tears of both laughter and sadness at the unfolding story, the film was so well crafted  it was easy to forget you were watching clay figures. Claymation is not a genre I’ve previously been drawn to, but I appreciate the painstaking skill, work and eye for detail that goes into its production, this film involved shooting more than 250,000 frames of which 125,000 were used in the final 90-minute feature, for someone like myself who struggles with much simpler techniques of multimedia, that’s mind-blowing.

Interestingly the often common reserve many face when sharing public spaces with strangers, was broken when the audience dared to show how touched they were, getting out their figurative hankies, commiserating with each other at the films bitter/sweet moments, sharing collective feeling, …..some  scenes were very disturbing, was it a happy ending? …..hope you get to watch and find out.

I’m pleased I took the mystery trip and will be looking to watch it again.

Thanks to Inkwell for investing time to keep this kind of free activity going and for the innovative work in producing their own animations, ….their vintage footage gave me an idea what to buy  for one special person at Xmas!……007? ….. ssh it’s a secret!

Here is a clue for this Friday’s screening

‘title was changed to a very famous Led Zeppelin song’ …..

follow @inkwellarts on Twitter for more hints.

Su

*Cartoon customised on Bitstrip app.

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White Ribbon Day: 25th November

Barry Ewart recently wrote on Leeds Wellbeing Web about Leeds Men’s Health Network. He sent us a follow up about the 16 days of action around the “White Ribbon” campaigh which highlights issues around domestic abuse. Barry writes:

“LMHN CALLS FOR ZERO TOLERANCE OF ALL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.”

Leeds Men’s Health Network (LMHN) is supporting this year’s White Ribbon Campaign and its 16 days of action around 25/11/13.  The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) aims to get men to address issues of domestic violence against women.  See www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk

  • In Leeds we will have a WRC city-centre walk on Monday the 25th of November which will leave the WRC Tree in Park Square at 11.00 am and will finish at Leeds Metropolitan University, City Campus, Leeds LS2 at 11.45 am and we have invited Chris Chittell from Emmerdale Farm to join us on the walk.  At 12.00 in Room PD210 (for those who wish to stay) there will be a talk hosted by The National Centre for Men’s Health on, ‘Men in Sheds – valuing the human potential of older men’ by Will Gore from The Groundwork Trust.
  • LMHN is also encouraging children’s centres, schools, libraries and voluntary groups in the city to do something for the action days and this could be simply wrapping a tree with white ribbons.
  1. LMHN recognises that most domestic violence is by men against women and needs addressing.
  2. LMHN also recognises that domestic violence against men is a problem that needs addressing.
  3. LMHN further recognises that domestic violence is also an issue in same sex partnerships and this too also needs addressing.
  4. LMHN believes that we should have a zero tolerance of all forms of domestic abuse whoever is the perpetrator.

Since domestic violence homicide reviews were introduced two years ago they have shown that eleven women were killed in Leeds alone.

USEFUL CONTACTS;

  • Female victims – Leeds Domestic Violence Helpline 0113 246 0401
  • Same Sex Partnerships – Broken Rainbow 0300 999 5428
  • Male victims – Men’s Advice Line www.menshealthadviceline.org.uk/   0808 801 0327
  • Respect Helpline for Perpetrators 0808 802 4040

Leeds Men’s Health Network Contacts:

Chair:  Claude Hendrickson E Mail: hopperuk@me.com Tel. 07831 480 196 (Mobile) 0113 262 2270 (Office)

Secretary:  Barry Ewart E Mail: b.r.ewart@leeds.ac.uk Tel. 0113 343 4358 (Office)

Treasurer:  Richard Lancaster E Mail: richard.lancaster@healthforall.org.uk Tel. 07931 659 434 (Mobile) 0113 276 2720 (Office)

Autumn…

There’s now a feeling of preparation as shops focus, we’re all aware, on “next month”.

We gradually realise what our own preferred time of year is. Is it Spring? When that winter coat evaporates with the year’s first sunbeam? Perhaps you look forward to Summer, when the sun pays a warm visit that never outstays its welcome. Is it Autumn that finds you out and about, the first time in the year that you’re wearing plenty? Or Winter, when the only advisable thing to do is “keep warm”.

Whatever your own thoughts, I’d like to make the case for why this time of year (Autumn) is something to value.  Indeed, once September passes Autumn days are broad with possibility.

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Nothing is now ‘urgent’ as the day never wilts. It remains a pleasant “neutral”. I’ve also noticed the significance of the notable and awakening nights, as foxes roam at half past four.

The epoch and change from the stand-still feeling which was heralded effortlessly by July, as Autumn swoops by with speedy activity. Indeed perhaps you’re running for shelter when out in heavy showers, or working to an indoor-itinerary, “busy” is often the word. Of course, It’s certainly true that there are (at the last count) 7 billion Autumns a year.

Then there’s the comfort when feet are in front of the fire, and that television or radio programme which  finally emerges from somewhere in the dales come on. The only thing more relaxing than this, is perhaps watching it in a woolly sweater and holding that cup of flavoured tea as the curtains are closed in time for half-past seven, yet the bus drivers are still making their way.

By Amanda Lynsdale

Chat and Create Art Group, Swarthmore Adult Education Centre

Chat and Create runs term-time 4-6pm @ The Swarthmore Adult Education Centre Café. I was asked by Terry – our Tez to his friends – to write a blog/report on it.

Swarthmore is a centre for lifelong learning, community projects and family learning sessions as well as the courses and activities advertised in this brochure. Our main aim is to encourage people who want to learn but might not feel comfortable in more formal educational institutions. We work on a friendly, human scale, offering a confidential counseling service, on-site childcare and learning support. Many volunteers currently support the Centre’s work and we welcome their contributions of time and energy.

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Chat N’ Create’s name was brainstormed by Sue, who took over the group when it was known under a different name and I like the name. Chat N’ Create is based in this community, grass roots, equal opportunities ethic firmly indeed, however it is not oppressive and controlled, but free light-hearted and creative. Chat N’ Create is open to everyone.

Sue Bowden’s surname means ”a little tree in the corner of the field”. However Sue is no little tree, but a nurturing community artist of others artistic and health-potential. Highly appropriate, given she was helping herself, and 2 other group members, Judy and Lisa to re-create, among the encouraging chat, the Swarthmore’s logo of a community tree. By the way, ‘Swarthmore’ means – black moor.

The Swarthmore tree signature symbol is on the front cover of their booklet of courses you can order, or pop in to pick one up better still. It’s also on Swarthmore’s building and dotted about inside. It’s a large beech-shaped tree with a trunk, a few brown branches and lots of different coloured hands instead of leaves,. It is round and cuddly. Swarthmore’s motto is ”friendly learning” and I could see that manifested in Sue’s encouragement. She says the group is for everyone, so do please come along; it is for everyone to take the opportunity to participate in creating art for the community, and ourselves. The group is held downstairs, so accessibility for wheelchair users and walking stick users is good. It does not matter your class, race dis/ability, gender, sexuality, race, religion, nationality etc., Chat N’ Create welcomes you all. Everyone deserves the opportunity of community arts; I joined in to better write this article, but I was intending to participate anyway, because I am environ-mentally mad about preserving the natural world (see previous Environ-mental Gardening blog by ‘Mad’ (true individual) Milan – that’s me!).

Sue Bowden deliberately salvages materials – waste recyclables, paper, card, aluminium cans to save costs no doubt, but also to preserve the world’s life. I asked Sue to respond to my request to slow down, no blame or hurt intended. I said this to benefit everyone, the participants: Lisa and Judy, Sue, as participant – facilitator herself and me, because the ability to respond is emotional intelligence and nurturing, something we need from the arts. She responded well, and to take the pressure off her, I said could I join in – that’s what it’s all about come – unity, ‘community’.

I also had to say at the beginning I am half deaf and Sue asked me immediately which ear is worst, and adjusted her position on speaking in my favour, so deaf community you are welcome. Taking time and trouble, asking the right questions is demonstrated by Chat N’ Create as good practice. The method of making the Swarthmore hand-tree on a background of sky blue plastic was fascinating. The hands were made from old discarded aluminium (why do I think of my schoolmates singing aluminium to the tune of a fast repeated hallelujah!?) cans, top and tailed, and flattened out, so the inside silvery bare metal could then be painted with glass glue of differing colours. I have to say there were so many different hands and colours and designs; some Gothically dark, one with the texture of a centipede, with segments, others painted in bright colours by children, or big kids (adults; yes everyone wants to have fun).Some of the hand-leaves were made by drawing hand templates from people’s hands at the Woodhouse Unity Festival in July, by placing them on cardboard and cutting them out. Then hand shapes of silvery, polished aluminium metal were made from them, painted with coloured glass paint, according to people’s designs and tastes as individuals. I related to Sue that was part of the idea of community arts, the groups strength is in imagination bigger and better, more creative than any individual, and she agreed.

To see the Swarthmore Tree emerging was exciting, with so many different colours, and designs of hands as leaves. I could feel the pressure lift off us. We then began to use more ALU/minium insides flattened sheets of salvaged cans. Swarthmore has recycling boxes for aluminium, paper, card & plastic bottles all around the building. These were used as rectangular patches to staple on to the paper template of the tree trunk. So the trunk became silvery like moonlight. The whole 6 foot by 6 foot picture or hanging of the Swarthmore tree will be displayed on a notice board in the coffee bar when complete. It can also be taken into the hall for gigs, AGMs and other Swarthmore events, as it could be folded into half size by a piano hinge.

It was good to see practical common sense not airy-fairy daftness. Further, health and safety was taken care of with advice to be careful when handling and cutting ALU metal sheet. I asked Lisa how long she had been coming to the group, about 6 weeks she replied.

”And what have you got out of it?” ”Company, creativity, and pleasure”

So that’s it folks, it’s not ‘high’ art or ‘low’ art – it is for you, accessible and friendly. Open to humour as well as good equality practices. Why not try it? It could be just the group for you to better your mental health and well-being, to talk with like-minded, and different souls, to create art according to your taste, and the groups. As a tribute to Chat N’ Create here’s a poem: –

“Come, Chat N ‘ Create. Come to Chat N ‘ Create, and have a great time; come, create N ‘ Chat Its down at t’ Swarthmore in t’ centre of town, near St Georges Crypt. You don’t need a script, just a wish to create art, paint pictures, use scissors, cut, make a collage. No need to camouflage your wants and needs, aspirations about art, its v relaxed there is time a whole 2 hours, discover your powers to ‘artify’ yourself, and others. Find brothers and sisters in arts and community, in the tree of life, and art. For thou art beautiful – like every soul, so don’t be a miserable mole hiding and grumping; if it’s good for your mood to uplift, and mental health, or might be come along then, bring Ben and Sue, Helen too; all your friends. Pass round a Chat and Create flyer. Please let everyone know. The art door is open, the Art Café at Swarthmore is open, I know I’ve been going there 33 years. If Art takes your taste or fancy, then give yourself a chance, try it and see. Discover the playful child painter in you; create without too much thinking, linking with people just like you. If environ-mental: recycled reused repaired reduced ‘waste’ art is your style you’ll bring a smile to me, and Sue too, so don’t be blue or anxious; if your mood is already good, then drop by soon. Be part of community, arts community, community arts, the tree of life and community, arts could integrate emotions and thoughts. It might be the group for you. Refreshments are to hand and of healthy diet, though you have to pay. Come out and play!”

Once the tree is finished Chat and Create sessions will be focused on making something different each week from re used materials. Come and join in!

I enjoyed meeting the people in Chat N’ Create, and hope you will too. For a Swarthmore brochure ”Courses and Activities September 2013 – July 2014, contact www.swarthmore.org.uk Telephone 0113 243 2210, or write to 2-7 Woodhouse Square Leeds LS3 1AD.

Hope for Progress on Men’s Health in Leeds

Barry Ewart co-ordinates the Leeds Men’s Health Network (LMHN), and agreed to do us a guest blog about the work they do. He says:

Potentially exciting times for Leeds Men’s Health Network (LMHN) as we have just got Leeds City Council’s Scrutiny Committee to agree to examine men’s health as part of their investigation into, ‘Narrowing the Gap’ in the city.  We are also working with Public Health and one of their officers now attends our meetings.

Members of the 'Wild Bunch' ecotherapy and philosophy group

Members of the ‘Wild Bunch’ ecotherapy and philosophy group

If you want general information on men’s health then the National Men’s Health Forum website is very useful see www.menshealthforum.org.uk/   In Leeds we are also lucky that Leeds Met. University hosts The National Centre for Men’s Health and this is led by Professor of Men’s Health, Alan White and a small team of researchers see www.leedsmet.ac.uk/research/mens-health.htm

Some further good news for LMHN is that we have just acquired a New Chair in Claude Hendrickson from the Race Card Project based at Leeds West Indian Centre and we are to now have Executive Committee meetings of the officers in between our quarterly meetings of the Network.  We also hope to have guest speakers at future meetings to cover topics such as ‘Men and Gambling’, ‘Homelessness and Men’ (hopefully with someone from The Big Issue) plus someone from one of the Clinical Commissioning Groups in Leeds so that we can hear how they may be commissioning services for men in Leeds, and as always we are open to ideas for topics from members.

We are currently planning for The White Ribbon Campaign 16 days of action around the 25th of November 2013 (this aims to get men to address issues of domestic violence by men) and we hope to have a city centre walk starting from the White Ribbon Tree in Park Square.  We further hope to have a celebrity from Emmerdale Farm joining us on the walk and there may also be a seminar on men’s health at the Centre for Men’s Health, Queen Square, following the walk.  We will as usual also be encouraging voluntary groups to do something around The White Ribbon days of action and we hope to get schools, libraries and children’s centres to do something such as wrapping a tree with white ribbons which they have done in previous years.   We hope to finalise our plans very soon and for further information on The White Ribbon Campaign see www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk

Also for anyone interested, ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ has just been launched and this is aimed at people who may not do any physical activity and there is free use of Leeds City Council leisure centres during selected activities.  See www.leeds.gov.uk/llga or e mail:  rachel.brighton2@leeds.gov.uk

Finally our next meeting of the Network is on Wednesday the 4th of December, 2.00pm at Leeds Civic Hall and anyone interested in men’s health is welcome to attend.  You can also join Leeds Men’s Health Network which is free by just e mailing me at: b.r.ewart@leeds.ac.uk

With best wishes, Barry Ewart, Secretary, Leeds Men’s Health Network.

Within and Without

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It’s true to say that for the 3 weeks of the main Love Arts Festival,  art and it’s relevance to wellbeing had been on everyone’s lips, along it seems with plenty of cake crumbs, …including my own!, …why, the memory of eating a  delicious piece of homemade, sticky ginger lemon drizzle at Inkwell during one of their Festival events, lingers still, I read this week that the orbitofrontal cortex in the brain lights up when eating cake, as it does when experiencing some effects of being loved, ….ooh…ah…mm ….cold weather comfort?……I will return!

The party may be over for the festival, but it’s not yet ‘time to call it a day’, here are the still  remaining related events, … ‘Within and Without’ , which is described in the Love Arts booklet as, ‘an eclectic exhibition of portraiture’,…a tongue in cheek look at portrait making,  ‘working across a variety of media, from photography to painting, encompassing new technologies’, ….another self portrait?! no, not THAT one! but one by David Lewis, the Leeds based artist Tony Tomlin did however exhibit a rather humourous portrait of Bobia Dylania, eating corn on the cob!!, Tony a forever young, life long learner in pursuit of his art, uses play on words as titles for his work.

The exhibition continues until January 25th at The Gallery in Flannels store, Kirkgate,  adjoining the gallery is the Food Academy restaurant, yet another of Leeds many oasis, you can enjoy the  view over the roof tops of Leeds, at twilight the buildings of the Victoria Quarter have a fairy tale palace look about them, and will so even more once the city centre lights are switched on Thursday 7th November, at 6.45pm.

Meals and  light snacks prices in the Food Academy bar /restaurant compare favourably with many other central haunts, but to get a tea or coffee for £1.50 in such pleasant and airy surroundings, a surprising bargain, the restaurant  offer talented catering and hospitality students from Leeds City College apprenticeship, the Love Arts closing party was held here, and it was was good to see there that Stuart Harrison from Inkwell Arts got an award for his contribution to the arts,  heart-warming too was that the Peer Support Service, for People Living with Dementia, were also recognised for creative work with their client group, it was pleasing to see Jane Edwardson’s input into the Healing Voices Singing Group, got the judges thumbs up, I was in the choir last year and had balked a little when it was requested we sing in the Light as part of last years Festival, but with Jane’s calm and assured manner, along with the support of other choir members, and kindly audience who sang along with us for the final song, I managed  ‘butterfly’ free, for someone who for many years found it hard to say boo to a goose!, a big achievement.

Love Music is the subject of an additional event. a film documentary, scheduled for  November 21st, at Trinity Church, Boar Lane, Leeds, tickets £7.50 information about the musicians, theme of the film and tickets available here 

Did the Festival achieve its aims? that of getting people thinking and talking about the experience of living with mental illness, or its residual effects and treatments? Has it been a success? those able to be involved or observe will undoubtedly say yes, but this year the Centre of Medical Humanities at Leeds University worked with the Love Arts team and some of its participants in conducting  research as to its outcomes, what their thoughts  on  the upshot  of this and similar cultural events were, how valuable they might be in improving  the public’s perception and understanding of people with lived experience of mental illness, results of the research are awaited with anticipation.

The art work on display in the Light during the early days of the exhibition, gave evidence that peoples creativity has not been stifled by their experiences with mental health issues, It was good to see that the public were more than willing to own an original art piece, and pay the market price, well done to the artists for displaying their creations, it’s often risky displaying creative pieces to others, and I know what a confidence boost it was, to those known to me who managed to sell their work.

Preparation and planning for this event which has taken place  annually for the last three years, is in its self a work of art, and a labour of love, some laboured so hard their physical health took a dip, the additional change of season and clock turning might well put many  at risk, so it’s time to cosset oneself a little, especially if mood fluctuation is a problem normally.

I’m not sure how soon the Love Arts  organisers start planning for the next Festival, but most of us know how much coordination, planning and cooperation goes into getting even simple projects up and running, so a big thanks of appreciation goes to them, and of course to the participants, audience and sponsers without whom it could  not be a success, so a big cheer for them too.

Su