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Bicyclism / Casey Orr & Jenny Harris
Leeds Inspired Funding
Main Grant - Round 5 October 2013
Amount Awarded: £14,000
2014’s Bicyclism exhibition and newspaper was part of the city’s Tour de France celebrations and explored the city’s wider cultural, historical and sporting links to cycling with collaborators Casey Orr, Boff Whalley and Jenny Harris. Leeds Inspired supported the project with a £14,000 grant.
Leeds has a long and fascinating history of cycling, which often springs from its access to the Yorkshire Dales. What better advertisement for a large city than to be able to escape its workday bustle, quickly and easily on two wheels? Bicyclism was a broad sweep across the area’s cycling culture and highlighted the connections between the city’s cyclists, who often ride for a thousand different reasons.
The photographic exhibition at Leeds City Museum and mass-produced one-off colour newspaper featured crowd-sourced images of 20th and 21st Century Leeds residents on their bikes alongside 40 new cycling portraits by photographer Casey Orr.
Over 100 photos were submitted to the project by local people and previous Leeds residents from their home photo collections, some these came from photo drop-in days at Armley Mills and Abbey House Museums. The Bicyclism exhibition at Leeds City Museum ran for two weeks and attracted 10,823 visitors; five thousand newspapers were distributed at venues and cycle shops across the city and given to all attendees of the Bike Show.
Students from Leeds Beckett created an animated film that was played on a loop in the exhibition, together with a musical soundtrack composed by Chumbawamba founder Boff Whalley, using bicycles as instruments. The song was performed at a special opening event ‘Bicyclism Live!’ in the Museum on Thursday 26th June to a packed audience. Boff also researched and wrote an essay on the bicycle for the newspaper.
Bicyclism was featured in the Yorkshire Festival programme and was an essential part of the city’s contribution to the Tour de France 2014.
Main image of Vikram Chandla courtesy of Casey Orr.
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