FROM TEMPORARY TO TRANSITIONARY - repurposing space for art in Leeds

Back, in what seems long ago in pre-Covid times, January 2020 to be specific, East Street Arts collaborated with Creative Space Management to look at a study for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on temporary use of buildings and land owned by the various councils in Leeds city region.

The aim of this work was to advocate for meanwhile space use of the assets owned by the council’s with a focus on repurposing them for creative workspace and activities. The work was in response to the declining high street in a post-retail context, can we find new, radical and alternative uses for these previously retail dependent destinations? What are the barriers to this model of development? What knowledge is missing and what resources are needed to embrace this way of working?   

We worked with asset owners and cultural officers to understand more about their ambitions and current challenges for their regions and how creative meanwhile space projects could benefit their longer terms aims of revitalising their high streets and city centres. 

As experts in the field of repurposing commercial spaces for artists to use we brought our experience and knowledge to the project – demystifying the approach and championing its benefits. Teaming with CSM, experts in their own right in terms of workspace and regeneration projects, we put forward robust recommendations, evidence and tools to support the initiative.  

We’re happy to announce that we can now share the results of this co-produced study and hope that it paves the way for both future conversation and direct action in addressing new ways to build back our cities and towns for residents, businesses and artists. 

Now post-covid this work takes on increased significance as we start to imagine and plan to return to very different landscapes within our cities and towns. We’d love to talk to you more about our approach, research and recommendations and welcome enquiries from local authorities, land and asset owners. Let’s build back better, the time is now. 

The work was funded by One Public Estate

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