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Leeds is on its way up!

By Mellissa Dzinzi.

The Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case report published in 2016 suggests more than £11.8 million is to be funded nationally to further diversity in arts from 2018-22.

In bid to win the European Capital of Culture 2023 award, Leeds is said to be ‘on the way up’ as more BAME are involved in the arts.

Katie Geddes, Director of the Dance Studio, Leeds said: “Leeds has made progress in arts and there is loads going on especially with Leeds bid to win City of Culture award 2023, everyone is represented. There are people from African backgrounds with the drumming, southern Asian dancers, even flamenco dancers, everyone is involved. Leeds is definitely on its way up!

“Leeds and West Yorkshire is a lucky region because they get quite a bit of money for arts but there needs to be more funding and support in schools for arts.”

Julie Leather, Senior Manager, Advocacy and Communications, Arts Council North said:The arts council aims to encourage communities with minimal opportunity in arts to engage in the society. Through funding opportunities we offer, BAME communities are encouraged to apply for funding so they gain more support.”

Ms Geddes added: “More money should be put into arts education. There is not much support for arts in schools because it is not seen as important as other subjects but there should be more support and money put into that area because people would flourish more and the arts community would grow.

“There’s a nice mix of dance in Leeds, there is the RJC Dance is one of the organisations involved in the Leeds West Indian Carnival.”

Leeds West Indian Carnival was the first West Indian Carnival in Europe, the carnival turned 50 years old this earlier this year.

Olivia Okoye, Nigerian Youth Dancer Teacher in Leeds: “There’s more to black culture than just carnival, there’s a lot more to be publicised and it’s nice to see people getting involved, not just in dance but in all aspects of arts.

“It is so amazing seeing people from different backgrounds get involved in visual arts not just doing things about slavery but getting involved in telling stories about our culture.

“I have been in Leeds now since I was young and I am always amazed whenever I see people from African or Caribbean backgrounds get involved in the dance community, I love it.”


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