News / 16 Oct 2023

Visual Communication student designs benches at Headingley Central

BA (Hons) Visual Communication

BA (Hons) Visual Communication student Isabel Spurr recently completed a design commission with real estate management company MAPP and Headingley Central, Leeds.

MAPP and Headingley Central put out a live brief for artists and designers to paint the sides of two concrete benches near Headingley Central, the newly refurbished shopping area in North Leeds.

This commission was part of The Headingley Project, whose purpose is to bring life to the area. The benches have been in the location for quite some time and are well used. Once the benches were deep cleaned, it was time to get the sides decorated to brighten up the area.

The Bench commission was my first ever live brief and first external mural that I had completed and was very fortunate to have found the opportunity through the university. It was daunting to complete at first and a lot of research went into figuring out what would work best and a good amount of trial and error. The biggest challenge was fighting with the weather which is what extended the project quite dramatically. I wanted to enter this brief after completing my first year on Visual Communication as part of my final module, I created a community mural which really inspired me and made me realise I wanted to take on more of this type of work. Since this commission, I have gone on to do several more murals and I'm currently working on a few more both individually and within the community.

Isabel Spurr, BA (Hons) Visual Communication student

Isabel’s design concepts were chosen by MAPP and Headingley Central. She was awarded £200 per bench, plus material expenses, to paint her design onto the two stone benches. When designing the benches Isabel wanted to use a simplistic, cartoonist feel with bright colours as the brief stated that the mural was intended to brighten up the space. Isabel took inspiration for the design from things around Headingley, including independent shops, the cricket teams, the stadium and markets.

"I cannot thank Leeds Art University enough for putting me in touch with Isabel Spurr. I described our idea of decorating concrete benches at Headingley Central and Isabel came forward with her designs which were ideal for the site. Both benches are now completed and the feedback from the general public and the owners of the site has been fantastic - so BIG thank you."

Sandra Barley, MAPP, Centre and Tenant Liaison Manager

useful links

Join our mailing list