A giant open air street gallery of photographs is set to land in Leeds as part of a national tour to illustrate the history, scope and impact of co-operation world-wide.
Displayed in The Headrow, Leeds, between 19 November – 14 January, the 24 images on three metre high installations tell how co-operatives rose from the poverty and harsh working conditions of the mid 19th century and, from such humble beginnings, grew into a global movement with an estimated 1.4 million individual co-operative enterprises and almost one billion members.
The free outdoor exhibition, illuminated at night, explores the diversity and reach of member-owned enterprises from football clubs to farming, pubs to performing arts and, retail to renewable energy.
The gallery has been compiled by The Co-operative – the UK’s largest member-owned organisation – to mark the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. A year dedicated to highlighting the contribution of co-operatives to world-wide socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, community cohesion, employment generation and social integration.
David Luckin, The Co-operative’s Membership Manager in Leeds, said: “The UK is witnessing a resurgence in community-led solutions with people once again seeing the benefits of self-help and mutual ownership as a means to addressing the unprecedented challenges facing our economy, society and environment. The gallery illustrates how everyday people are not only predisposed to co-operation, but are making it happen in communities the world over.”
To mark the arrival of the street gallery, a free event is being staged on 19 November, between 6pm – 8pm, at Leeds City Art Gallery. Tickets can be secured by emailing Kevin.McGrother@co-operative.coop or, call 0191 411 2346. All guests will receive a free copy of the new graphic novel, The Co-operative Revolution. The event will enable the general public to explore co-operation with a panel of speakers including; radical cartoonist Paul Fitzgerald, author of The Co-operative Revolution graphic novel; Paul Chatterton of the University of Leeds and founder member of the LILAC initiative – Low Impact Living Affordable Community and, Cath Muller of Footprint, a co-operative and ecologically minded Leeds-based printers.