Yorkshire Sculpture Park walk by candlelight

Three students from the School recently organised a trip for fellow students to the YSP’s Twilight Heritage Walk, with a tour of the historic park, and its buildings and follies, by candlelight.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is a pioneering place that aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight, welcoming over 400,000 visitors, including 48,000 learning visits, each year.

The three students ― Emily Gibbons, Hannah Lewington and Olivia Johnson – are all Yorkshire Sculpture Park Ambassadors. This ambassador role is essentially about fostering closer relations between students and art institutions and experiencing how these institutions operate.

Emily Gibbons, a second year BA Fine Art student, reports on the Twilight Heritage Walk:

“When we signed up to be student ambassadors for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, it was an entirely new venture for both us and the park staff. We knew that our main aim was to involve more University of Leeds students with the park, and to do this we have started attending events and arranging transport for group trips.

“The Twilight Heritage Walk on 10 December was our first outing to the Park as ambassadors and it was a huge success. The walk was focussed around the grounds of the Park, with the tour guides introducing the family that inhabited the Bretton estate for four generations, and the steps they took to completely re-sculpt the land. It was incredibly interesting to think about the lives of the aristocracy at the time and how wide the class divide was between the lower class (who were forbidden from entering the estate by Diana Beaumont) and the wild week long parties for the upper class visitors thrown by her father, Thomas Wentworth.

Students at YSP Twilight Heritage Walk“We walked around the grounds of the estate, around the Upper Lake, visiting the Shell Grotto, the Red Slate Line and the now landlocked boat-house, where we mimicked the old fireworks displays with sparklers. While we walked it was especially interesting to think about the way the landscape had changed over the years, the banks becoming silted and in some parts overgrown.

“The views and sculptures along the way were beautiful and we finished the walk in the summer house where we were provided with Christmas cake, hot chocolate and a variety of other festive refreshments. By this time twilight really had fallen and the summer house encapsulated a cosy winter setting.

“The trip was eye opening for us as ambassadors, through the organisation of the transport and negotiating tickets, as well as networking with the tour guides and staff at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It was also beneficial to the three students that accompanied us, as the trip resonated with them all in different ways, feeding into their studies into heritage or enriching their year abroad in the UK. The Park has really embraced this partnership and we will definitely be organising a larger range of trips over the coming semester in order to foster this relationship and encouraging more participation from University of Leeds students.”