Children’s reimaginings of Leeds realised with the help of Leeds Arts University graduates

23 September 2021

Recent graduates from Leeds Arts University have been working to design posters as a part of a LEEDS 2023 schools project.

As a part of the project BA (Hons) Illustration graduates Megan Dobbyn, Callum Noble and Bergrún Adda Pálsdóttir, and BA (Hons) Visual Communication graduate Tanya Shanduka, created posters based on Leeds school children’s re-imaginings of their city.

School children were asked to imagine Leeds afresh - a city for the future. If they could design and build Leeds in any way, what would it be like?

Children used poems, drawings, photos and models to illustrate their ideas with 300 concepts received from nursery through to year 11. Ideas ranged from rooftop orchards and woodlands, solar-powered houses, a swimming pool full of strawberry jelly and a giant helter sketler around the town hall.

Image: Megan Dobbyn, Leeds 2023 Poster. 

Artist Kate Genever transformed the children’s ideas into beautiful new artworks and gifted them back to the schools who took part. Megan Dobbyn, Callum Noble, Tanya Shanduka and Bergrún Adda Pálsdóttir then created posters from the children’s ideas for the wider community to enjoy. You can spot their four poster designs displayed at bus stops near the participating schools and around the city centre.

Kathryn Welford, Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager, Leeds 2023 said:

“This project was a joy and is an example of how LEEDS 2023 wants to work with children and young people. Children as young as five, teenagers, through to graduates, early career professionals and experienced artists all played their part in making these fantastic designs. The illustrators from Leeds Arts University loved responding to the children’s ideas and it’s so great to see children’s ideas valued and interpreted so creatively. The illustrations are gorgeous and really say something about Leeds and what the next generations want it to be.”

Image: Tanya Shanduka, Leeds 2023 Poster. 

Image: Three of the graduates posters on display at Trinity, Leeds. 

Illustrator Megan Dobbyn graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration 2019, she said:

“It was a wonderful project to be part of, I find children's imagination and creativity so inspiring as it helps push me as an adult and an illustrator to think outside of the box! It's also been really interesting seeing how the other illustrators have responded to the brief”

Six schools have taken part in the project: Robin Hood Primary, Bracken Edge Primary, Weetwood Primary, Green Lane Primary Academy, Queenswood Education Centre, and Springwell Leeds Academy North.

LEEDS 2023 will be a year long celebration of culture in Leeds, happening all over the city that everyone can be part of.