Memories of Leeds Arts University celebrated in large-scale art work

22 January 2019

The experiences of 46 former students of Leeds Arts University have been reflected in a vast 15 metre mural in the atrium-style entrance of the University’s new state-of-the-art building.

Image: Photograph by Hamish Irvine 

A large blank canvas in an area that would see the most footfall on campus; the concept for the wall had to make an impact. The University contacted alumni from across the institution's history as Leeds Arts University, Leeds College of Art and Jacob Kramer College and asked them to respond with their memories of their time as a student. 46 alumni were selected and Sheffield design agency Peter & Paul were commissioned to create a bespoke large-scale art piece for the space.

Image: 'Eye opening, gave me the common sense and life skills to help me succeed' Harriet Nobel graduated 2012. Poster design Ragavee Balendran, student.

Each alumni quote was interpreted into an individual poster and Peter & Paul worked with current students to design the images. Each poster is individual with the styles ranging from typography to illustration, photography and mixed media. The posters – put together to form one piece – reflect the diverse offering and variety of student experiences at Leeds Arts University.

Image: 'The huge impact of a trip to Belgium in 1958 whose main purpose was to visit Expo58, the Brussels World Fair. I can't describe the excitement we all felt going abroad together, many, myself Included for the first time…' Michael Hildred, 1956-1960. Poster design Daniel Hayes, Peter & Paul.

Image: 'I remember doing a colour study lasting several days based on a mouldy lemon I picked up in the market. I carefully recorded the subtle changes in colour of the yellow, white and turquoise bands in a large Marc Rothko style painting using a palette knife. Happy days.' James Gilliland studied 1969. Poster design, Daniel Lancaster, Peter & Paul. 

Over the last 170 years, Leeds Arts University has contributed significantly to the development of art education in Britain, having pioneered new ways to teach and to structure qualifications. Founded as Leeds School of Art in 1846, with the Vernon Street site opening in 1911, The institution became Leeds College of Art in the 1920s and was renamed Jacob Kramer College. In 2017 we gained University status becoming Leeds Arts University, the only specialist arts university in the North of England.