Leeds Creative Labs

Collaborations for Academics & Creative Innovators

Category: Creative Innovator (page 1 of 4)

Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris

Wendy has held the position of Artistic Director at tutti frutti since 2005 and has directed all but one production in partnership with York Theatre Royal, touring nationally and internationally and co-producing the Little Feet Festival of Children’s Theatre and the First Words writers’ development programme

Before working with tutti frutti she was Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company, and previous to this; Merseyside Young People’s Theatre Company in Liverpool. Over the years as a freelance director work has included; Everyman Theatre Liverpool, Crucible Theatre Sheffield, Hope Street Ltd, Oxford Stage Company, Unity Theatre Liverpool, European Stage Company, Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Contact Theatre Manchester. She currently livse in Leeds with her partner Mark and two sons Louie and Eliot.

Find out more at… tutti-frutti.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are

Sharon Watson

Sharon Watson

Trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, Sharon danced with Spiral and Extemporary Dance Theatre before joining Phoenix as a dancer from 1989 to 1997. Whilst there she worked with choreographers such as Michael Clarke, Donald Byrd, Bebe Miller, Darshan Singh Bhuller and Philip Taylor. She was also heavily involved in Phoenix’s education programmes and delivery.

Sharon choreographed Never Still and Shaded Limits for Phoenix as well as creating new works for Northern School of Contemporary Dance, National Youth Dance Company and Union Dance.

In 1996 she choreographed a piece specially commissioned for the opening ceremony of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Her own company ABCD was formed in 1998. Focusing largely on working with live music, ABCD has toured both nationally and internationally.

Returning to Phoenix in 2000 as the company’s Rehearsal and Tour Director, Sharon toured extensively in the UK and USA for 6 years. In 2006 she embarked upon a fellowship with the Clore Leadership Programme for which her secondment took her to the Sage Gateshead where she delivered a Choreographers and Composers course. Sharon also continued her freelance work mentoring emerging artists, lecturing in vocational dance schools and delivering bespoke training programmes. Danced to Leeds Rhinos’ anthem Hold On, composed by Carl Davis, Sharon created and delivered Dancing with Rhinos in 2008 as part of the regional cultural Olympiad for Yorkshire. Forming part of the practice research for her Performance Works MA from Leeds Metropolitan University, the piece was based on the game of rugby and performed by a mixed group of professional dancers and members of the community.

In 2008 Sharon was one of 26 aspiring leaders from around the globe selected to attend Dance East’s fourth Rural Retreat, an intensive four day think-tank exploring the challenges of the role of Artistic Directors in the 21st century. Prior to taking up post at Phoenix she also spent eight months as Director of Learning and Access at Northern Ballet Theatre.

Sharon was appointed as the 7th Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in May 2009 and in 2010 was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s Women to Watch, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK. First awarded in 2010, Sharon is one of the distinguished panel of judges for the New Adventures Choreographer Award. In 2013 Sharon was nominated for the prestigious h.Club100 search for the UK’s most influential people working in the creative industries.

Since returning to the company Sharon has choreographed Fast Lane for Phoenix’s Ignite tour, Melt for the company’s Reflected programme and re-worked Never Still into Never 2 Still. Repetition of Change, featured as part of the successful Particle Velocity programme In 2013 Sharon collaborated with BBC’s adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and choreographed pieces to feature in the seven-part series screened in 2015.

In 2014 Sharon choreographed three major commissions – Ghost Peloton, an ambitious collaboration with Scottish Public Arts charity NVA, in partnership with Sustrans, for Yorkshire Festival 2014 Grand Départ of the Tour de France; Honour, a multimedia live performance by Quays Culture for the centenary of WW1; and a large scale performance for the RFL Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Sharon is a trustee of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, The Place, West Yorkshire Playhouse, and an artistic advisor for Central School of Ballet and Leeds Inspired. She has most recently been appointed as independent chair of the steering committee, bidding for European Capital of Culture Leeds 2023

Works choreographed for Phoenix

  • 1994 Shaded Limits
  • 1995 Never Still
  • 2009 Fast Lane
  • 2011 Melt
  • 2013 Repetition of Change
  • 2015 TearFall

Follow Sharon on @watson_dance or find out more at… phoenixdancetheatre.co.uk/person/sharon-watson

Helen Goalen

Helen Goalen

I am a theatre maker, performer and founder member of RashDash.

I love it when we allow our process to be led by impulse and improvisation. I hate over intellectualising. I love to be surprised by what happens in a rehearsal room.

I couldn’t imagine performing in a RashDash show where I wasn’t a breathless, sweaty mess by the end.

I am at my most joyful and most miserable when making a show. It is very rarely a mediocre experience.

I am not easily satisfied. I always want to be better.

I think the people we work with are awesome. I am in awe of all of them.

I think people who see our shows are surprised that we’re quite normal in life.

Find out more at… rashdash.co.uk/about/who-we-are

Abbi Greenland

Abbi Greenland

I am a theatre maker, performer and founder member of RashDash.

I make all the shows with Helen. We always give ourselves good parts.

At the moment we’re making shows that are big and messy and angry. I like it when the shows come from our guts and our bones.

I like it when the process is intense and full on. I’m not good at thinking about more than one thing at once. I like to drown in it a bit. I don’t mind that sometimes it makes me quite stressed and miserable. The good bits are worth it. We work our way out of the knots eventually.

I love the company of people we work with. I love having a creative family of talented and lovely people around all the time, especially when they play music in my kitchen.

I love having lots of big creative voices in a making room. Sometimes we disagree. I think that’s good.

I have made a list of women that I think are wonderful: Lena Dunham, Nazarath Panadero, Katia Buniatishvilli, Meryl Garbus, Lottie Lenya, Amanda Palmer.

It keeps growing…

Find out more at… rashdash.co.uk/about/who-we-are

Dominic Gray

Dominic Gray

Dominic Gray was born in South Wales and educated at Cambridge University and at University College Cardiff.

His early career as a writer and director included stints with Battersea Arts Centre, Glyndebourne and BBC schools radio. He went on to become the RSC’s Education Manager at the Barbican, where he initiated the Tongues on Fire young people’s festival at the Young Vic and took RSC Education into prisons for the first time.(He fondly remembers leading education workshops with the young Daniel Evans (now Artistic Director at Sheffield Theatres) and the even younger Jude Law).

In 1996, Dominic was appointed Director of Education at Opera North, where amongst many other projects he produced Operaville, a Millennium Festival commission telling the multi-cultural stories of seven Bradford families living through the year 2000.

In 2001 he became Opera North ‘s first Projects Director, with a brief to develop new work across music, performance and the visual arts. Partners have included the RSC, Tate and Manchester International Festival, and commissioned artists include composer Gavin Bryars, film-makers the Quay Brothers and novelist Hilary Mantel.

Dominic is a member of the AHRC advisory board and the Public Engagement with Research advisory panel. In 2007 he was part of the team that created DARE, the collaborative partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds and he sits on the DARE board.

Steve Manthorp

Steve Manthorp

Steve Manthorp shares an artistic co-practice with Shanaz Gulzar as ADEPT, currently developing major commissions for the National Trust and Bradford Science Festival.

In 2005 he was awarded a NESTA Research Fellowship to develop new cultural content and concepts for games technologies.  In 2006 he won a MELT award to develop Earthheart, a game to promote healthy lifestyles in KS2 students.  He has created ‘stealth learning’ PC games for English Heritage, Renaissance Yorkshire and Bradford Museums and Art Galleries.

Steve was Media Arts Officer at Arts Council England -Yorkshire from 1999-02 and Coordinator of Arts Council-West Midlands’ three year Digital Content Development Programme from 2007-2010.

He has spoken at the Museums Association Conference, Art & Architecture Journal Conference on the Moving Image in the Public Environment, Broadcast Asia Conference and the World Investment Conference.

You can find Steve at manthorp.co.uk, ADEPT and on Twitter as @manthorp.

Katie Brown

Katie Brown

Katie is active in social change in mental health, the arts and digital technology. Katie is passionate about creativity and its place in organisational development. She works extensively with communities to implement the changes they most want to see.

You can find Katie on Twitter as @irregularprime and learn about her work on Elegant Social Design in this interview at Ogunte

Initial thoughts…

The Human Algorithm 

“I was interested in art as a carrier of information” Lynda Benglis

What would happen if galleries didn’t have walls and people didn’t go to see art but art came to see them? What knowledge sits within the walls of the Hepworth, how is the narrative of that knowledge shared?

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Is the Hepworth a curation of people and their perspective as much as it is a collection of works? And how does this concept relate to the people who do (and don’t) walk through its doors?

In a time of social media, networks, platforms and digital curation, what if the ‘Gallery remix’ was actually a remixing of narrative, the people and the physical site itself? Here we start, re-imagining these fundaments of the Hepworth as moveable pieces of code – the human algorithm. Our plan is play with these elemental building blocks, re-order, re-write and apply the possible technological vehicle that can drive art as information places it may not necessarily ordinarily have visited.


– Katie Brown


Remix the Gallery?

As a historian I am interested in the process of uncovering, interpreting, and creating. Can the historian can simply walk into an archive and uncover “the truth” of what happened in the past? Or are we actually in the business of creating historical meaning?

When a researcher walks into an archive, they often already know what material they are looking for, what stories they hope to uncover, what narrative they plan to tell, what fits, and what will be excluded.


What do people expect to find in galleries and museums? How does art act as a carrier of information? What stories are told?

We start, then, with questions. How do museums and galleries act as a vehicle for the exchange of knowledge? How can we remix the gallery to make visits non-linear? What unexpected questions can we ask?

-Laura Harrison



Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson

Andrew has been using mobile technology for creative participation for well over a decade. His work includes socially engaged software development and location aware games for children, families and even grown ups.

Andrew has worked with large organisations including The Guardian, the BBC, Greater Manchester Police, an NHS trust and Kirklees Council as well as local councillors, front line council staff, and many third sector and small voluntary groups including a drugs treatment agency, a regeneration charity on the Aylesbury estate in South London, tenants and residents associations and a community allotment.

Some of this work has been in partnerships supported by Nesta through three of its national programmes, Reboot Britain, Make It Local and Innovation in Giving.

At the moment Andrew isdoing an artist residency shared between the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham University and Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity.

Find out more about Andrew at foldup.org or follow him on Twitter at @__andrew_wilson.

Rob Carroll

Rob Carroll

I’m a writer, designer and programmer based in Yorkshire. I run a tiny digital design and development studio called We Are Thought Fox.

I’m an experienced web developer who creates standards-driven CSS, HTML and JavaScript and is comfortable with mobile development, including responsive design and touch capabilities. I have experience in planning, direction, and strategic development of client projects for clients such as the International Criminal Court and TAQA. I also have experience in iteration and prototyping – straddling content, design and technology – in projects for clients such as the BBC and Trinity Mirror.

I studied at UCL and Cambridge and have worked for The Financial Times and The National (UAE). I believe in the power of digital and the network to change the world for the better and that through a combination of humanity and technology we can produce work with soul and heart well beyond today’s standards.

Find out more about Robert at robertocarroll.com and on Twitter as @robertocarroll.


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