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Exhibition helps fight to highlight northern culture

By Elle Rigby

Fashion designer Jonathan Anderson is helping put Yorkshire on the map – by making art accessible to people outside of London with his ‘Disobedient Bodies’ exhibition.

Last week, the Times wrote a piece citing Leeds as the best UK place to live for culture, referring to the wealth of theatres, galleries, museums and arts available within the city.

And the Hepworth gallery in Wakefield is the host for this new attraction.

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Leeds College of Music student, James Smith, said: “It’s amazing to be able to come to such a highly anticipated exhibition – and for free. In London museums, you always have to pay for the ‘special’ ones.”

Aoife O’Rourke, a Londoner who is currently studying at Leeds University, noted the importance of accessible art outside of London.

She spoke of her cousin, Duncan Campbell, a graduate from Glasgow school of art, who last year won the Turner prize and how he was one of the first people who didn’t live in London to win the prestigious prize.

She said: “I think it’s important for art exhibitions like JW Anderson’s to be more accessible to a wide variety of people, so that it can reach those less likely to visit a gallery and further break down the perception that art is elitist.”

Last year, the Media Museum in Bradford lost an influential collection of The Royal Photographic Society collection to the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

Sam Jordison, who reported on the loss of art said at the time: “This is an announcement that has significance […] for anyone who cares about the United Kingdom functioning as an entire nation, rather than allowing it to subside into a series of wastelands around the inaccessible citadel of London.”

Focussing on the need for culture to be available outside of the capital, Jonathon Anderson himaself spoke to the Guardian, saying: “I’m glad to be putting creative energy into something that is about getting people out of London.”

“We are not trapped – go out and there are amazing things to be seen.”

To have the Times accolade for best city for culture, alongside Anderson’s exhibition changes the ‘inaccessible citadel of London’ is helping to bring the culture back to Leeds.

What do you think?