Cultural Institute launches University of Leeds Cultural Engagement Strategy for 2024-2029

The University of Leeds’ Cultural Institute has launched a new five-year strategy to harness the power of culture, creativity, and artmaking

The University of Leeds’ Cultural Institute has launched a new five-year strategy to harness the power of culture, creativity, and artmaking to connect people and foster positive change on campus, in the city of Leeds and the wider region.

The Cultural Engagement Strategy for 2024-2029 outlines how the University intends to leverage its exceptional research and innovation to tackle pressing social challenges, promote sustainable cultural and creative development, and deliver meaningful experiences across campus and beyond.

Built on three core themes – equity, diversity, and inclusion; environmental sustainability; and coherence, distinctiveness and visibility – the strategy aims to:

  • Support research development and knowledge exchange with the cultural sector
  • Support the delivery of a transformative student education
  • Enhance student and staff experience
  • Nurture audience, community, and public engagement through cultural activities.

Professor Ben Walmsley, Dean of Cultural Engagement, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, said:

“The Cultural Engagement strategy aims to cohere what arts, culture and creative activity can do across the University, out into the city and the wider region. We are hoping it will really foster impactful research, that it will support a pioneering student education, that it will enhance the staff and student experience across campus and out into the city, and that it will help us realise the University’s ambitions in terms of civic and community engagement.

“This is an exciting time to be delivering a strategy dedicated to cultural engagement. It is a time of greater devolution of cultural policy, for example, where we are seeing a lot more power and decision-making coming through the metro mayors to the cities. It feels an exciting time that is really galvanising the people of Leeds and the city region and mobilising everyone on campus to think about what culture can do to make peoples’ lives better.”

The research partnership between Leeds City Council and the University helps us develop impactful and effective policy. Our relationship with the University of Leeds expands beyond research as well. One example of that is our collaboration in realising the ambition to establish a National Poetry Centre in Leeds. So, it’s really exciting to work with the University to realise a future strategy for culture in the city.

Pam Johnson, Head of Culture Programmes at Leeds City Council

Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Student Education, said:

“The Cultural Engagement Strategy is fundamental to the University’s strategy and to our ambitions as a great university. Great universities take culture seriously. Cultural events and cultural programming help us become healthier, more full as human beings and add remarkable value to the quality of staff and student experience.”

The University of Leeds’ Cultural Institute has three main aims: to increase pioneering research collaborations with creative sector partners, to widen cultural engagement and participation, and to build the skills of our students.