Rhian Aitken - Art Hostel Manager & ESA Hospitality Lead


I started with East Street way back in 2016, as manager at the original pop-up Art Hostel site on Kirkgate, chatting to guests, making beds, mopping floors & hosting all manner of wonderful and crazy events, gigs, immersive experiences and festivals, including a converted horsebox sauna, Sofar Sounds performances, the Leeds Samba Band, a sushi making workshop, yoga classes, various student exhibitions and the Arctic Bazaar festive Scandi experience, twice!

These days, I take care of how we host artists and other guests at public events and across the whole organisation, do a bit of work with the Spaces & Finance teams and I’m very much looking forward to the opening of the new permanent Art Hostel in 2021. 

I’m from Middlesbrough originally, although I’ve lived in Leeds for 18 years & now consider it my home. In a former life, I used to be a licensee and retail manager; running award-winning real ale and craft beer pubs for the last 12 years before joining East Street. I love beer, books, my cat Fluffy, cheesy 80s & 90s tunes & being a geek, watching historical or archaeological documentaries and going on holiday somewhere warm with a bar & a cathedral or some ruins. 

TV Binges; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spaced, Black Books, Star Trek NG or DS9, Rick & Morty, Brian Johnson’s A Life On The Road, Anything with Lucy Worsley, Tony Robinson or Dan Snow. 

Everyday Doing-Stuff playlist: Songs to Sing in the Shower (Uber cheesy & varied!)