365 Leeds Stories originated as a storytelling project on Twitter. Over the course of a year, Matthew Bellwood set himself the challenge of writing a tiny story about the city everyday. Leeds Inspired supported the project with a £1,430 grant.
What if you’re a visitor to the city? How do you find your way around? What if you have arrived here from a country far away, where the maps you are familiar with look very different to begin with? The maps available in the Tourist Office show the shopping centres, the waterfront, the Owl Trail, the Blue Plaques, the restaurants. What if you need to find somewhere to sleep that night – what sort of map is going to help you then?
There are many things we take for granted about the place we live in – and what is familiar to one person may be surprising to someone else. 365 Stories Leeds is a way of sharing our experience of the city in a creative and informal way.
Writers Matthew Bellwood and Alison Andrews worked together with a range of people who live, work or seek residence in Leeds on the creation of series of maps of the city. These maps were sung, expressed in textiles, written in stories, floated down the river or rendered as conventional cartographic representations, albeit with a twist.
The writers also worked in partnership with Leeds Libraries, the Museums service, Pyramid of Arts, East Leeds FM, and with a range of local artists including a choir leader, composer, graphic artist, textile artist, shadow puppeteer and scenographer. The project took place in September 2013 and culminated in an exhibition and performance in May 2014.
In addition to a set of maps, an almanac was published that contained useful information about living in the city.
Image credit: Lizzie Coombes for Leeds Inspired