Artist in Industry Fellowship, 1985
This was the 4th Artist in Industry Fellowship offered in 1985, the scheme was launched in 1979 by Simon Roodhouse the Visual Arts Officer at Yorkshire Arts. It was the first of similar programmes initiated throughout the country where industry is encouraged to sponsor artists to make creative works either through the provision of materials, providing work space or giving financial support.
Over 230 artists applied from all over the county for this fellowship with only 6 places available. The artists had been usually been selected from the traditional fine art disciplines of painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media, I was the first photographer to be offered this fellowship.
The host for my fellowship was Leeds City Council’s Department for Industry and Estates. I was tasked with portraying an endemic problem that has always beset industry, that is unemployment.
In 1984 over 20% of Leeds inner city population was unemployed, 16,000 young people had been without work for over a year, those particularly hardest hit were people with mental and physical disabilities, ethnic minority groups and people recovering from illness.
The Department of Industry and Estates aim was to attack the root causes by providing resources to help develop new skills and new jobs. These resources include establishing small training units, specialist technical support, business loan programmes and advice services, all of which were intended to form an integrated strategy for economic regeneration.
I photographed at various locations which included skills workshops and advice centres, youth training schemes (YTS), long term and youth unemployment centres and new start up businesses that had received financial support and advice from the department.
These photographs together with other artist’s work from the fellowship was exhibited at Leeds Art Gallery and later toured throughout the country. A selection of that work is included here.
These photographs were taken between March-August 1984 using a Plaubel Makina W67 and Metz 45 CT-1 flashgun.
All images are Strictly Copyright © 2017 Bill Stephenson All Rights Reserved
[AI 001] Supervisor and Trainee in the upholstery department, St Anne’s Community Workshop. This project is aimed at giving permanent employment to disadvantaged long term unemployed.
[AI 002] Boy waits for an interview at Morley Unemployment Centre.
[AI 003] Women at Morley Unemployment Centre.
[AI 004] Supervisor and Trainee in the sewing room, St Anne’s Community Workshop.
[AI 005] Youth Training Scheme (YTS) trainees at Hunslet Skills Centre. This skills centre specialises in electronics and office skills for young people.
[AI 006] YTS trainees outside Hunslet Skills Centre during their lunch break.
[AI 007] Gervais is a regular user of the facilities at First Base Youth Unemployment Centre.
[AI 008] Redundant metal worker and his wife discuss his work options with an advisor at Morley Unemployment Centre.
[AI 009] Two ladies in the sewing room at St. Anne’s Community Workshop.
[AI 010] Becky Cheeseman is a YTS trainee at the Off Beat Recording Studio, Kirkstall.
[AI 011] Jim and senior citizen. Jim delivers ‘meals on feet’ from the Woodhouse Canteen. This project specialises in people recovering from mental illness.
[AI 012] This senior citizen also is a recipient of the ‘meals on feet’ scheme from the Woodhouse Canteen.
The following portraits are of people who have received financial support in the form of business loans and advice in starting up their own businesses.
[AI 013] Mick Gerwat. Mick is a blind piano tuner from Belle Isle. He obtained work as the resident piano tuner at Leeds University Union, working with visiting musicians such as Elton John, Genesis and U2. Sadly, he later lost his hearing. He has since written a book called ‘Touch me Please’, detailing his struggles in life.
[AI 014] Cathy and Eve. They are successful textile designers and manufacturers, specialising in individual rug and carpet designs.
[AI 015] Cathy Birch. She is a textile designer and carpet maker at ‘Cathy and Eve’.
[AI 016] Second hand furniture business at a low cost industrial unit in Ashton Road, Harehills.
[AI 017] Cynthia Dawn Lewis is a fashion designer.
[AI 018] Upholstery business at a low cost industrial unit, Ashton Road, Harehills. This business had failed and closed shortly after my visit.
[AI 019] Julia Croft and boyfriend at FairyTales wedding dress manufacture. Julia is the daughter of the owner and is a part-time model.