Words: Lucy Meredith
We are Bramley is one of the 20 artist commissions that were chosen for Leeds 2023 year of culture as part of the ‘My World, My City, My Neighbourhood’ project.
‘We Are Bramley, Acts of Defiance’ came to life from a proposal devised by arts and wellbeing organisation Yorkshire Life Aquatic CIC (YLA).
After running some successful pilot synchronised swimming classes at the baths, Zoe and Lucy formed Bramley Mermaids Club, which has now in its eighth year and still going strong.
Yorkshire Life Aquatic makes collaborative art projects in unusual spaces and have always had a fondness for working in Bramley, running projects with Bramley Elderly Action and BARCA as well as their Immersive performance ‘Mermaid Tales’ in 2015.
This saw them take over the whole of Bramley Baths and turn it into an interactive exhibition space, complete with a beach, mermaids and fish & chips.
We are Bramley, acts of defiance is a co-production between Yorkshire Life Aquatic and the Bramley community.
Lucy and Zoe say they feel really inspired by Bramley, especially the determination of the community when faced with adversity. Bramley has made headlines through positive acts of defiance like taking over Bramley Baths when it was threatened with closure and turning it into a successful community lead space. Also the recent ‘Place to Sit’ campaign to reinstate the benches at Bramley Shopping Centre.
Lucy and Zoe have been holding meetings to chat with local people about what cultural things they would like to see, do or be part of that reflects the area.
They have hosted meetings online and in person to gather ideas and themes that local people want to build on for 2023 Year of Culture.
“We have had lots of great suggestions so far. Art trails were already something the community were interested in creating, so we are developing a walk that highlights local legends: the famous or infamous people, places and moments that reflect the character of Bramley.”
The ‘We are Bramley’ showing event will take place on Saturday, April 30 so do save the date.
They would really love to hear more about local places and people of interest – who or where is your local legend? What are your memories of positives acts defiance in Bramley? If you are interested in finding out more about the project or have a story to share about your memories of Bramley?
Bramley Baths and some of the Bramley mermaids feature in Leeds 2023’s new video ‘A year to go’ video: