Creativity in isolation: projects from Leeds Arts University alumni

23 June 2020

Leeds Arts University alumni are finding new ways to continue to work creatively while staying at home during Covid-19. Here we share some of the projects our alumni have been working on.  

Make Your Own MARY

London based Designer Mary Benson studied on the Extended Diploma in Art & Design and the Foundation Diploma. In 2018 she launched a new fashion label, MARY, born out of her love of vintage patterns and colourful prints. While at home with her son Zephy, she created Make Your Own MARY, a make your own T-shirt pack, providing something fun and creative for parents to do with their children whilst at home. 

Image: Mary Benson

Ricky Wilson CBBC Celebrity Supply Teacher

Ricky Wilson is best known as the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs, however before finding fame and fortune he taught at Leeds College of Art (now Leeds Arts University). During lockdown he has been swapping his microphone for a paintbrush for CBBC as a Celebrity Supply Teacher. 

Image: BBC iplayer 

Zero Hour E-Residency

Three Leeds Arts University alumni are the team behind arts organisation We Belong Here. International alumna Natasha Joseph, as well as Lucy Teoh and Francesca Rodi (all Fine Art 2019) have developed the E-Residency Zero Hour, a new addition to the artistic programme; with participants from the USA, Canada, England, Germany, France, Israel and New Zealand. 

The WBH team said 'Zero Hour E-Residency began as a response to the lockdown procedures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic. With creative spaces around the world shut down and people confined to their houses, we decided to use this time to start a global conversation that quickly developed into an Online Residency. The whole project was created, designed, and facilitated without the team or the participants ever meeting each other physically.'

The residency saw 11 artists, 5 visual and 6 performance, paired together to collaborate on a body of work with the final piece forming an online exhibition. Currently, the residency artists are providing weekly live talks discussing their practice and the work they have made on the We Belong Here Facebook Page. The online interactive exhibition launches in July 2020 where it will be available to view at Find them on Instagram and Facebook.

Image: Zero Hour

Katie Gillies Online Workshops

Surface and product designer Katie Gillies graduated from BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Pattern Design in 2015. Katie specialises in using Jesmonite, which is an acrylic and resin based material, to create her colourful terrazzo surfaces and products. During lockdown she came up with the idea of moving her casting workshops to a series of online workshops, posting kits that could be easily used at home.

Aderice Palmer-Jones Illustration for Exist Loudly

Student Union President and BA (Hons) Illustration alumni Aderice Palmer-Jones, is selling prints of her work and supporting the Black Live Matter movement by donating all proceeds to the ‘Exist Loudly’ Fund created by youth worker Tanya Compas, the fund supports Black and POC LQBTQ+ youth. For more information head to Aderice's Instagram @adericelaura.

 Image: Aderice Palmer-Jones

Eve Finlay Miller Online Terrarium Workshops

BA (Hons) Fine Art alumna Eve Finlay Miller and former Leeds Arts University Creative in Residence, has adapted and moved her Leeds terrarium workshops online, delivering materials to participants in advance of a live online workshop.   Eve often works in clay, however her work is cross- discipline and she uses various tools and materials to express how external influences mould who we are. In January 2020 Eve also launched

Image: Eve Finlay Miller