THE WEATHER CAFÉ has appeared in Leeds. This extraordinary new space on the Headrow responds to the changing weather of the city. Inside, the shifting environment evolves as the wind blows, the rain falls and a thick cloud unfolds around you. Created by artist David Shearing, THE WEATHER CAFÉ presents the voices of over 100 people living and connected to Leeds. The café acts as a barometer to reflect the emotional climate of the city. This is a free, public event – all are welcome to come and spend time at THE WEATHER CAFÉ.
Inspired by the weather conditions of the moment, the sound responds to the shifting winds, the rising and falling humidity and the visibility of the sky – the space becomes its own digital microclimate. In addition to the daily setup of the space, the café will host three curated events by Leeds community groups (Emmaus, Artlink and Leeds Young Authors). Each group are using the space to question our relationship to the elements, the city and each other.
Artist / Designer
David Shearing is an award-winning artist who creates immersive multimedia environments and spaces. He is interested in how audiences engage both physically and conceptually with design and installation art. He explores audience engagement by creating intimate, and at times spectacular, art and performance installations using video, sound and organic materials.
David’s work operates as a hybrid between fine art and performance practice. In 2014 David was award a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship and produced ‘The Weather Machine’ (2015) in partnership with West Yorkshire Playhouse and stage@leeds. In 2013 ‘and it all comes down to this…’ won the World Stage Design award for best Installation design. Other work includes If anyone wonders why rocks breakdown (2011), VOID (2010) Leeds Light Night and video design for Beacons (2010), EMPAC New York and UK Tour. David has a PhD in ‘Audience Immersion and the Experience of Scenography’ University of Leeds (2015).
James Bulley (b.1984) is an artist and composer whose work focuses upon exploring sound composition through installation, sculpture and systems art.
He has shown and performed at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Gallery, the Natural History Museum and the Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery, and his work has been featured by the BBC, ITV, Nature, and the Guardian. In both 2013 & 2015 (with the artist Daniel Jones as Jones/Bulley) he was nominated for British Composer of the Year, and in 2014 toured the acclaimed forest-based sound installation Living Symphonies with Jones, commissioned by Sound and Music, and Forestry Commission England. Bulley is a member of the New Radiophonic Workshop and a current doctoral researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Amy is an independent producer and curator based in Leeds. From 2011-2014 she was Associate Producer at West Yorkshire Playhouse, where she established the artist development programme, produced a number of special projects and productions, and led on Transform. In 2014 she was awarded the Arts Council and British Council Artists International Development Award, visiting Theater der Welt in Mannheim and subsequently spending a year researching contemporary performance in the US, Mainland Europe and Middle East.
Amy’s interests are in international festivals, site-specific and socially engaged practice. She currently leads Transform as Creative Director, producing local and international projects and festivals. In addition to producing independently for David Shearing, Amy sits on the advisory board for RashDash, and is a member of the artistic committee for the Leeds 2023 bid. She originally trained with Fuel, London Artists Projects, HERE Arts Centre (NYC) and studied BA Drama & Theatre Arts at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Production and Technical Manager
Christopher Megginson provides Technical, Production & Design services for Live Performance and Events. Based in the Leeds area, operating locally, nationally & internationally. Born in Manchester in 1977 and brought up in Cheshire, after work experience in film & theatre Chris’ career in live production started properly at the University of Liverpool guild of students in 1994.
As a freelance lighting designer & operator, technician, production manager, rigger & technical manager, Chris works for theatres, live music venues, festivals, arts centres, artists, musicians, dance companies, equipment rental companies, film production companies, installations & events. Chris has also been employed on the Lighting team at Northern Ballet, as Technical Coordinator at the University of Leeds (School of Performance & Cultural Industries), and as a Project Designer for Creative Technology London.
LAURA ANN PRICE
Laura Ann Price is an artist and designer/maker interested in the playful nature of design materials. She creates sensory landscapes drawing upon the quirky side of human nature. Laura is interested in creating worlds that provide an escape back to childhood, focusing on the manipulation of familiar fabrics, space, light and sound.
In 2015 Laura founded ‘The Great Space Plot’, a multisensory design-led experience created for children and young adults with complex needs. The Great Space Plot explores physical, emotional and social engagement by creating stimulating and meaningful immersive environments. Laura’s theatre practice includes David Shearing’s installation performance and it all comes down to this… (2012) and for Manic Chord’s Don’t let go (2014) and Treading Water (2015). She worked as Visual Merchandiser for Bespoke Cake Shop ‘Choccywoccydoodah’ and designed the hub space for Transform 2014 (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Laura studied for a BA in Performance Design, The University of Leeds (2012).
DANIEL JOHN JONES
Daniel John Jones is an artist and software engineer whose work explores new ways in which sound and technology can illuminate our understanding of the world, translating patterns and data into living musical forms. His BAFTA-nominated practice spans topics ranging from bacterial dynamics to network infrastructures, and has been shown at venues including the Barbican, the Museum of Science and Industry, IRCAM, the Southbank Centre, and the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
Recent works include Vespers (with James Bulley, 2015), a sound installation that composes a drawn score each day based on the UK’s online activity, commissioned by the Southbank Centre; Phantom Terrains (with Frank Swain, 2014), a platform for sonification of wireless network landscapes; and The Listening Machine (with Peter Gregson, 2012), a 6-month-long online composition which translates social network dynamics into a piece of orchestral music, recorded with Britten Sinfonia and commissioned by the BBC/Arts Council’s The Space.
HELEN RUSSELL BROWN
Helen is a designer, curator and maker interested in creating unique worlds that invite audiences to interact, reflect and explore. Helen has a background as a theatre designer and technician with specialist knowledge of immersive experiences. Her work is deeply rooted in concept and meaning and inspiring genuine dialogue with others – she is particularly interested in creating spaces that stimulate and cultivate the imagination.
Helen has presented numerous projects at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival including Dugout Inheritance Blues (2012), and Manic Chord After What Comes Before (2013). Helen has worked with David Shearing previously on If anyone wonders why rocks breakdown (2011), Secret Hotel (2012) and It all comes down to this (2012). Helen is currently curating the design for upcoming immersive project SWARM (2016) by Riptide. Her role in The Weather Café has included design assisting and the curation and presentation of the tea.
Lydia is a Dancer, Performer, Artist, Cosmonaut, Prepper and Apocaloptimist. She creates bold and brave multi-disciplinary performance that challenges institutional status quo and presents new ideas and questions to audiences in engaging and interesting ways. Her practice is informed by a background in dance, live art and feminism.
Her most recent works include Atlantis (2016) which was awarded the North East Artist Development Residency and made in partnership with Dance City and Yorkshire dance, Bolero (2015) winner of the Drunken Nights Commission and HairStory (2014) winner of the Dance and the Homemade Commission with further commissions from In-Situ, Romford Contemporary Art Programme and Leeds City Council. Alongside her own practice, Lydia works as one half of 70/30 Split, who were listed in the top 5 most exciting dance moments of 2014 in The Guardian.
Amber Hartley is a Leeds based Graphic Designer who finds practical and fun ways of approaching design. With an eye for innovation and a wide-ranging skillset, she has produced work for a number of varied clients in the commercial and arts sectors including East Street Arts, Harvey Nichols and Byron Street Mills.
Being highly proficient with both digital and traditional mediums she has generated diverse design solutions for packaging, print as well as branding and identity. Ensuring the needs of the client are met and a consistently professional level of design is present throughout is at the heart of what she does, something that is reinforced through an extensive knowledge of print techniques and finishes which help make each piece of design finished to the highest standard. She is always looking to expand her creative practice, and constantly seeks to undertake new and diverse projects in which her design work is integral. This has led on to such work as arts event organization, exhibition design, retail installations and guest lecturing at Leeds Beckett University.
Tom Joy is a freelance photographer who has called Leeds his home for only two and a half years. In that time he has advanced the commercial side to his photography focusing on streetwear orientated shoots on location with male and female models. His urban exploration project ‘Leeds Lurking’ has come to life in the last year and aims to highlights the streets and architecture of lesser-known spaces around the city and beyond.
Whilst Tom takes a great amount of enjoyment from his work, he is fiercely honed in on accomplishing the best outcomes from the briefs he is given and strives to build a relationship with every client in pursuit of achieving the best possible collaboration.
[Tom’s photography has been used throughout this project including the documentation of the space, visitor profiles and imagery used for promotion and social media].
Throughout this project the café has been hosted by a team of volunteers.
Jennifer McNeill-Moss, Stephen Hudson, Cieran Reed, Zosh Skowronska, Rosie Smith, Georgia Miller, Jo Ellis, Jesse Wright, Dominic Freeman, Eliza Bratley, Gemma Wisdom, Callum Douglas, Jessica Williams, Eden Ottman, Sophia Sharkey.
DESIGN ASSISTANTS: Molly Isherwood, Helen Russell Brown, Monika Liberska, Chloë Jayne Oldridge.
FURNITURE BUILD: Wayne Chapman, Chris Paley (C T Trade)
PRESS: Hollie Latham
ADMIN SUPPORT: Joanna Ellis
TECHNICAL LOANS COURTESY OF: Martin Bush (Galaxy Lighting), Thomas Stanley (3D productions). Greg Mckay and Peter Shorten (O2 Academy Leeds)
PARTNERS: Joanne Stafford (Emmaus), Khadijah Ibrahiim (Leeds Young Authors), Hayley Mason, Sylvie Fourcin, Jill Johnson (ArtLink), Gaby Paradis (First Floor – West Yorkshire Playhouse), Gary Chadwick (Leeds Markets). Nicky Taylor (Heydays – West Yorkshire Playhouse).