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Revolutionary Russia revealed in Leeds


A new exhibition at the University of Leeds reveals the dramatic events of the Russian Revolution from a new, British, perspective.

Caught in the Russian Revolution: the British Community in Petrograd, 1917-1918 is the latest exhibition at the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, University of Leeds.

The exhibition, opening on 1 March, marks the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which changed the course of world history.

Offering a unique perspective on this violent episode, the exhibition focuses on the British community in St Petersburg, renamed Petrograd at the start of the First World War.

The community was well established from the 18th century. Several generations of families helped to develop the city’s infrastructure and commerce. The Revolution in February 1917 disrupted all their lives and the Bolshevik seizure of power in October destroyed any hope for their future in Russia.

This exhibition draws on the Leeds Russian Archive, which includes eyewitness accounts in the form of diaries, letters, and photographs to explore a pivotal moment in world history. The exhibition celebrates 35 years of the Leeds Russian Archive at Special Collections in Leeds University Library. The LRA has been designated as nationally and internationally important by Arts Council England.


Stories and objects on display include:

  • Patent of hereditary Russian nobility granted to George Baird by Alexander II, 1872

George Baird belonged to a Scottish civil-engineering and ship-building dynasty. The patent of nobility was granted by Emperor Alexander II in recognition of George, and his family’s, contribution to the development of St Petersburg and Russian shipping from the late 18th century. This unique artefact is an intricate handmade object which comes with the huge seal of Alexander II, and represents the integration of British families, like the Bairds, into Russian life prior to the Revolution.

  • Reverend Lombard’s prison mug, letters and drawings, 1918

Reverend Bousfield Swan Lombard was Chaplain of the British Embassy and English Church in Petrograd from 1908 to 1918, and a central figure in the British community in Russia. During the October Revolution, shortly after drinking tea together in the British Embassy, Reverend Lombard witnessed the murder of his friend Captain Francis Cromie, naval attaché and Royal Navy submarine commander. Reverend Lombard, alongside many of the remaining British community, was subsequently imprisoned. Lombard’s prison mug, letters he received and drawings he made whilst incarcerated, act as vivid reminders of the brutal end to the British Community in Russia.


To accompany ‘Caught in the Revolution’ The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, will be displaying a selection of objects, textiles and jewellery from the Leeds Russian Archive curated by Richard Davies. On display 11 February – 10 June 2017.


Public events

A varied programme of public events will be held to accompany the exhibition. Highlights include:

  • 1 March, 18:00 – 20:00 Opening Reception – Celebrate the opening of the new exhibition. Free and open to all. If you would like to attend please register here:
  • 23 March, 13:00 – 14:00 Free Lunchtime Talk: Curator and archivist Richard Davies explores the British expatriate experience during the Russian Revolution.
  • 26 April, 13:00 – 14:00 Free Lunchtime Talk: Vera Pavlova, a visiting research fellow at The University of Leeds, examines Russian theatre around the time of the Russian Revolution.
  • 25 May, 17:30 -18:30 Chris Sheppard Lecture: Helen Rappaport, alumna of the University of Leeds, will give a lecture on the subject of her latest book: ‘Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917’.
  • 21 June, 13:00 – 14:00 Free Lunchtime Talk: David Jackson, Professor of Russian & Scandinavian Art Histories at The University of Leeds explores Russian Art during the Russian Revolution.


Full details of the events programme can be found at


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Ending homelessness – A Talk at Leeds Trinity University


Ways to end homelessness will be discussed tomorrow, Wednesday 1 February at Leeds Trinity University by an international charity which provides help for homeless and disadvantaged people of all ages around the world.

The free talk will be delivered by Mark McGreevy OBE, Group Chief Executive of Depaul International. Currently based in Chicago, USA, Mr McGreevy works with the Institute of Global Homelessness; an academic institute founded in partnership between Depaul International and DePaul University in Chicago.

Mark McGreevy 3

Mr McGreevy will talk about the different challenges we face when examining homelessness as a global phenomenon, and suggest ways to reduce and end homelessness.

“Homelessness is a growing globally as a result of political unrest, natural disaster and urbanisation,” he said. “The strategies to deal with this problem are complex and one size doesn’t fit all. However, there is an evolving global movement of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and advocates thinking creatively about how we might tackle this issue in both the developed and the developing world.”

Mark McGreevy 2

The topic is particularly pertinent with the latest release of figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government which show more than 4,000 people a night have been sleeping rough on England’s streets which is a 16% increase on last year.

Mr McGreevy is the first speaker for Trinity Talks; a prestigious series of high-profile lectures for Leeds Trinity’s 50th Anniversary. Other speakers include author Gervase Phinn and former Minister of State for Faith and Communities Baroness Warsi.

An engaging and inspiring speaker, his talk will be of interest to anyone involved with homelessness, social policy, psychology, charities and community – but everyone is welcome to attend.

His talk begins at 7.00pm on Wednesday 1 February with a light buffet and refreshments beforehand, and will conclude with a Question and Answer panel sessions.

The event is free to attend, but guests are asked to register their attendance at


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New Art Prize Announced by Opera north and The University of Leeds



The pioneering DARE partnership between the University of Leeds and Opera North has announced a new £15,000 prize aimed at challenging artists and scientists to work together on new approaches to the creative process.

The DARE Prize will be awarded to an innovative, ambitious, early-career artist who is motivated by the opportunity to work in partnership with leading scientific researchers at the University of Leeds.

The successful candidate will be matched with a researcher who shares their vision and can bring knowledge, expertise and networks to support the creation of something new. The winner will be announced in spring 2017 to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the DARE partnership, and the fruits of the year-long partnership will be revealed in March 2018.

There are no restrictions on the form of the outcome: depending on the interests of the collaborators and the direction that the work takes, it could be a dance performance, a poem, an interactive website or a cycle of new songs, but the project must be achievable within twelve months. It is expected that around £5,000 of the Award will be invested in the creation of new work.

“The challenges facing individuals and society in the 21st century can appear uniquely complex and chaotic,”, said Dominic Gray, Projects Director, Opera North. “Understanding ourselves and the world we live in calls for new visions and new collaborations. The notion of creativity crosses the false barriers between science and artistic endeavour, and with the DARE Prize we hope to generate new work and new working methods that can bring the sectors closer together.”

Individual, independent artists working in all disciplines are invited to apply by submitting a CV and a 500-word proposition that summarises the area of scientific interest – from astrophysics to climate change, microbiology to nutrition; an ambition to create something new and the germ of an idea of what this might be; and a genuine wish to engage with academic researchers, expertise and resources at the University of Leeds. Access to musicians, studio space and resources from Opera North may also be available.

Applications should be sent in the form of a pdf or Word document to Lesley Patrick, Partnerships Director at DARE:, before the deadline of 5 December 2016. Shortlist interviews will take place in the week commencing 9 January 2017, and the recipient will be announced in the week commencing 7 February.

For more information on the DARE Prize and the partnership, visit





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170 years in the making at Leeds College of Art

 2. Students on Vernon Street steps 1952

Leeds College of Art continues to celebrate 170 years of delivering art education with an exclusive birthday party on Wednesday 16 November at Leeds City Museum, one of the original Leeds School of Art buildings. The evening will bring together current students, key partners and alumni from over the years, some of whom will reunite with their art school friends for the first time since studying in the 1940s/50s.

It has been a significant year for the College. As well as hosting a number of 170 birthday events and exhibitions, the College gained Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) in September 2016. This means that it can now award its own degrees (previously the Open University validated them). This is a landmark in the College’s history, with plans in place to now become the only specialist arts university in the North of England. The College was also awarded the Whatuni Student Choice Award for best facilities (out of all UK universities) for the second time in three years.

1. Drawing Exam Students 1920

Founded in 1846 as the Leeds Government School of Art and Design, Leeds College of Art has contributed significantly to the development of art education in Britain and across the world. Today, Leeds College of Art remains one of only a few remaining independent art schools in the UK, leading the way as a centre for art and design education.

The College has an impressive history of notable past students, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth were students 1919 and 1920.  In later years Damien Hirst, Marcus Harvey, Eric Bainbridge, Clio Barnard and Georgina Starr all studied at the College, known then as the Jacob Kramer College. The College’s recent graduates continue to win prestigious international awards year on year and enjoy successful careers in the creative industries.

4.Leeds College of Art Rag Day 30th June 1946

Looking to the future, the College is in the process of applying for university status and a major expansion of its Blenheim Walk site is already under way; creating a 6000m2 building to accommodate purpose built studios spaces for new degree courses.

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A New Era of Artistic Endeavour for University of Leeds


The University of Leeds recently launched its Cultural Institute, strengthening its place in the UK’s cultural and creative economy.

It has three key roles:

  • to increase pioneering research collaborations with partners in cultural and creative industry organisations across the city, the region and beyond;
  • widen cultural engagement and participation in its artistic endeavours;
  • create more opportunities for – and build the skills of – its students.

Arts Council England Chair Sir Peter Bazalgette talked about the important role played by universities in arts and culture, citing the example of Leeds’ groundbreaking training for arts sector fundraisers.

Invited guests were treated to a wide selection of performances encompassing opera, drama, dance, poetry, music and film. Participants and speakers ranged from current students to members of Opera North, South Asian Arts UK, and Yorkshire Dance, giving a global perspective encompassing community filmmaking in a South African township and rediscovered Jewish music and theatre feared lost in the Holocaust.

Speakers included Richard Mantle, General Director of Opera North, and Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre and Chair of Leeds’ bid to be European City of Culture in 2023. The University is the principal academic partner in the bid.

Sir Alan Langlands pointed out that the creative and cultural industries were the fastest expanding sector of the economy, generating £84 billion in the UK in 2015. He emphasised the potential benefits of research-intensive universities partnering with this sector to address challenges facing society, including those relating to health and wellbeing.

“We are determined that, wherever possible, our research should deliver benefits to society and the economy and have a profound impact on and relevance to people’s lives”, he said. “The challenges we face have cultural dimensions and solutions – we can’t rely on science alone, every part of the University has to pull together to tackle issues of global concern.”

To find out more about the work of the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds, and how to get involved, see; email; follow @UniLeedsCulture


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The Syrian Conflict, Immigration and Killer Robots to be Debated at Annual Politics Festival


The annual Festival of Politics and International Relations, a public event which takes place across the University’s City Campus from Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 November, consists of a range of talks and debates, providing opportunities for the discussion of key political issues and policy challenges facing our world today.

The festival is organised by the Politics and International Relations group within the School of Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett.

Guest speakers at this year’s Festival include: Richard Burgon, Labour MP for Leeds East, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, asking ‘Can Labour win under Jeremy Corbyn?’; Jon Beech, Director of the Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network (LASSN), discussing what can be done locally and nationally in response to the refugee crisis; and Federico Venturini of Leeds Friends of Rojava and Javaad Alipoor, co-author of Khiyana: Daesh, the Left and the Unmaking of the Syrian Revolution, making sense of the Syrian conflict.

Robert Sharp, Head of Campaigns and Communications at English PEN, an organisation which campaigns to defend writers and readers in the UK and around the world whose human right to freedom of expression is at risk, will tackle the issue of ‘no platform’ policies in university students’ unions which critics argue restrict free speech. Dr Paul Wetherly, Reader in Politics at Leeds Beckett, will lead a conversation exploring attitudes towards immigration; and Dr Steve Wright, Reader in International Relations, with Dr Jess Gifkins, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Political Science, will ask ‘Should ‘killer robots’ be regulated?’ in an interactive session which will see guests represent a country in a mock-United Nations negotiation.

Events in the Festival are free and open to members of the public. For full details, and to book a place at an event, visit


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Major Exhibition at National Media Museum Explores Life and Work of the Father of Photography




The life, work and inventions of William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of modern photography, are presented in a major exhibition at the National Media Museum.

Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph (18 November, 2016 – 5 February, 2017. Free entry) features more than 200 images and objects, including a selection of the earliest cameras and photographs in existence, as well as original documents relating to some of the first experiments in photography.

Scientist and inventor WHF Talbot became interested in the idea of the photograph in 1933 during a trip to Italy. Having traced with a pencil a landscape as seen through the lens of a Camera Lucidia, he was inspired to start work on a process that directly reproduced the “inimitable beauty of the pictures of nature’s painting, which the glass lens of the camera throws upon the paper”.

Following several years of experimentation he announced the news of his photographic process in January 1839, just weeks after Frenchman Louis Daguerre had revealed his invention, the Daguerreotype, to the world.

Both men used light sensitive chemicals to permanently create a photographic image, however Talbot’s produced the image on paper (Daguerreotypes used silver-plated copper) and, significantly, allowed multiple copies to be produced. He called his system the ‘negative-positive’ process, and it became the foundation for mainstream photography for more than 150 years, until the advent of the digital camera.

the exhibition features some of the original apparatus used by the British inventor including the famous ‘Mousetrap’ camera (named by Talbot’s wife Constance due to their small box-like appearance), his Calotype Camera, and Camera Obscura.

1937-1251_2, 26/02/2007, 09:47,  8C, 5616x4020 (955+2793), 112%, Custom,  1/15 s, R28.3, G10.4, B30.2

Also exhibited are examples of Talbot’s earliest photographs – images renowned throughout the world of science, photography and culture: The Haystack (c. 1844), Chess Players (c. 1844), Constance Talbot (portrait, 1840), Notre Dame, Paris (1843) – plus many taken around Lacock Abbey, Talbot’s home and workplace.


Five years after making his discovery public Talbot published The Pencil of Nature, the first commercial publication to be illustrated using photographs. It demonstrated that, alongside his artistic and scientific aspirations, Talbot had one eye on photography’s commercial potential, and an ambition to serve both a creative medium and one of mass production.

Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph explores how the work of this pioneer bridged art, science and industry to define what was possible in the formative moments of photography.  It also explores the relationships between a network of photographers who gravitated towards Talbot’s process but who each took photography into different territory. Assessing their cultural contribution and social legacy, it reflects on how enthusiasm for photography was initially limited to a small close-knit, elite group of people.

Fox Talbot: Dawn of the Photograph

18 November 2016 – 8 February 2017, National Media Museum

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Submit Your Idea for Power, Performance and Play! Conference


‘Power, Performance and Play – An International Conference on Caribbean Carnival Cultures’, will be hosted at the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett, in partnership with Leeds West Indian Carnival, from 19th – 21st May 2017, and contributions and ideas for workshops etc. are invited from interested groups (by 1st November).

The event will focus on breaking down the boundaries between academics and carnival participants and engaging the Caribbean community in Leeds, whilst celebrating international Caribbean carnival cultures.  Keynote speakers confirmed include: Arthur France, MBE, originator of the Leeds West Indian Carnival; Tony Hall, internationally-renowned Trinidadian carnival playwright and director of the Jouvay Institute and Lord Street Theatre Company; Professor Milla Riggio, leading researcher of the Trinidad carnival from Trinity College, Connecticut; and Michael la Rose, designer and leader of London’s People’s War Carnival Band and Chair of the George Padmore Institute.

“The conference will be a celebration of Leeds West Indian Carnival’s 50th anniversary – the oldest Caribbean street carnival in Europe, created and led by British Caribbeans – and the development of a Carnival Cultures research group at the Centre for Culture and the Arts here at Leeds Beckett”, said Dr Emily Zobel Marshall, Organiser and Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett.

“The conference is shaping up to be an event with global scope involving academics, costume designers, musicians, filmmakers and founding members of the Caribbean carnival in Leeds.”

“We are particularly interested in discussing the exceptional fusion of art, politics, pleasure and play that carnival represents. Themes we are looking at include: the relationship between carnival and diasporic identities; the cultural history of Caribbean carnival in the UK; the commercialisation of carnival; and carnival as a site for pleasure and social cohesion.”

Abstracts of no more than 250 words, from all disciplines, should be submitted with a short biography to by 1st November 2016.

For full application details, please see





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Heart of Spain Guitar Concert & Workshops


The Heart of Spain Guitar Concert and Workshops will be held on Saturday 22nd October at Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall.

The concert (7.30 – 9.30pm) explores the story of the guitar in Spain, through a series of solo and duet performances by flamenco guitarist, Samuel Moore and classical guitarist, Michael Christian Durrant – two of the UK’s finest instrumentalists. They will take you on an unforgettable journey through the colourful, musical landscape of Spain, bringing together the worlds of Flamenco and Spanish Classical Guitar.

Alongside this concert, Samuel and Michael will present the following workshops:

Flamenco Guitar (2 – 3.30pm) An opportunity to broaden your understanding of flamenco with one of the UK’s top flamenco practitioners. The workshop guides participants through the many rhythmic forms that shape the flamenco tradition.

Classical Guitar (4 – 5:30pm) One the UK’s top classical guitar recitalists, explores the classical guitar tradition, with particular emphasis on Spanish repertoire.

Tickets: Workshops and concert – £15/ £13. Concert only – £10/ £8. Available from 0113 343 2584 or

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Talk to Tackle Racial Inequalities in Education


Professor Kevin Hylton

A talk to explore racial inequalities in education is set to take place at Leeds Beckett University on Wednesday 19 October.

‘White lies: things we’re told about race and education that aren’t true’ will be presented by Professor David Gillborn, Professor of Critical Race Studies and Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) at the University of Birmingham, at Leeds Beckett’s city centre Rose Bowl building, from 5.30 to 8.30pm. The event is free and open to all – places can be booked at

The lecture will explore some of the lies that are told about race and education. “These are ‘white’ lies in the sense that they reflect the fears and interests of white people, especially white elites,” said Professor Gillborn. “These lies – such as the idea that white working class children perform worst in school – present a distorted and racist view of the education system: they shape the policy agenda and undermine moves toward greater race equality and social justice.”

,  commented: “The lecture is set to explore how racial inequalities in education are often maintained through a mix of untruths, aversive resistance and plain old racism,” said Chair of Leeds Beckett’s Race Equality and Diversity Forum and Patron of the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter Mark, Professor Kevin Hylton. “We expect university education to be a level and fair playing field; though it will be explained in this lecture that we need a) to offer a more informed understanding of ‘race’ in education and b) a more critical way to enter a dialogue of positive change where race relations in education is concerned.”

Professor David Gillborn’s research focuses on race inequalities in education, especially the role of racism as a changing and complex characteristic of the system. His work, which includes six books, ranges from original studies in classrooms and with teachers, through to national reviews of research evidence in the field, and analyses of the changing policy landscape internationally.

Professor Gillborn’s talk forms Leeds Beckett University’s fifth Annual Race Lecture: an event established with the aim of raising awareness of its Race Equality and Diversity Forum and Race Equality Charter Mark commitments.

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