End of an Era at Temple.Work.Leeds: perhaps
Just one photo this time. Thanks again to Jim Moran, the photo I came in on, 2008. (For everything else, always check Si Cliff on Flickr… eg latest. He has vast archives of Temple.Works.Leeds events…)
We’re all sorry to say that Temple.Works.Leeds closes the current cultural project at the end of this February 2016. It’s a shock. It’s been a Perfect Storm behind the scenes the last few months – the original and experienced -,young Green and local, cultural developer, Citu with whom we were to work towards the future, losing out at the last moment to luxury brand Burberry, who have extensive local heritage value as well. Our own lease is now ending at the very last moment, in the middle of it all.
It’s entering its ninth year as a cultural project of hope, proofs of concept, experimentation, diversity, and constant, years-long deferral of infrastructural and structural improvements …working in unheated and unpowered, utterly ball-breaking spaces – relying on the famous single public toilet – while we strove for three years to help find new owners who could invest particularly in the spectacular Main Space and bring these enormous cultural plans to fruition.
We’ve carried out a huge heritage, archival and education project for free, unfunded, while making our revenue from location hire and bar. We’ve held some of the most amazing events ever, against all the odds, with noted national and international artists and performers, and in spite of significant challenges Temple.Works.Leeds has attracted well over 100,000 visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
Our current residents are local / regional, and they have built in many cases bodies of work and careers they could not have anywhere else. Our curators are both regional and national. Our interns have come from all over the world – hauling huge loads! – and keeping our pulse going, for free, year after year, in many cases coming back well after the internship ended.
The current owners have been very generous in our use of the space for years – no complaints there. I personally am talking to Burberry about opportunities to assist them creatively in the Main Space’s use – it is still unclear about the exact nature or extent of their Holbeck land and property purchase, but their intention would be to preserve the heritage buildings as such, should that part of the sale go though. And the Council has been nothing but helpful in arranging our last-moment emergency evacuation, storage, and relocation for our sets of artists / residents, and our legacy pieces.
We are all pretty devastated. Myself in particular. It’s been my baby as a cultural regenerator since the first introduction by the owners in 2005 right after Kay’s Catalogue left, along with my many hard-working colleagues of the time and since. But we’re not into the blame game. We still own the intellectual property and domain name, the physical artwork, a vast legacy of archival, heritage and cultural work, and with the Council’s help will be having a retrospective exhibition in the Spring as a real celebration of everyone and everything involved. Watch this space. And come on by! We have a helluva lot of Dead Pony ale still to shift…
So: it’s never totally over, til the Death Metal Naked Drummer Sings … there is still dancing going till three days before we move out. So we’re just moving out… on… up… and who knows, may be back in another guise? “It’s Temple.Works.Leeds, folks, but not as we know it. “ Sorry, Spock…
Keep in touch!