A Leeds Seen


Joe Stenson


Growing up around the industrial wastelands of the South Tees basin, and having had a keen interest in photography from a young age, Joe regularly tramped through the hulking, rusty remnants left behind by the sharp decline in heavy industry. Alongside his Dad, they spent time at the back end of the 1980′s exploring and photographic rusting industry and pools of odd liquids.

This has translated into his adult life through a consistent search for alternative photographic subject matter in Urban Exploration and the documentation of decaying, unseen spaces.

Joe is now an Architect and Photographer living and working in Leeds.  Take at look at his urban exploration photos, and catch up with his  blog Beyond the Street.  Joe also took the photos of the writers for this page.

Betty Lawless

Lizzie Coombes


Lizzie has a long track record of cross art form collaboration and innovative community projects, and has worked as a photo artist, documentary and publicity photographer and designer with a wide variety of people and organizations, including projects with Opera North, The National Media Museum, ArtForms/Education Leeds, Creative Partnerships. She has just finished a collaboration with Mark-Anthony Turnage and Music in Prisons.

The two key strands to her work are people and spaces. She has developed a style of portrait photography which she uses to develop self-esteem and promote positive images of the people she works with. She has also done extensive work photographing spaces and what they say about the people who inhabit them, making the space speak with care and sensitivity.

She enjoys both the process and the product and has been involved in creating exhibitions, resource packs, projections and DVDs that have been shown in a wide variety of places. In October 2012 Lizzie created the exhibition ‘Submerged’ a set of 32 photographs viewed underwater in the Bramley baths pool as part of the I Love West Leeds Festival.

Lizzie also works under the name Betty Lawless and is currently photographer and blogger for Leeds Inspired. Betty has been an avid daily Tweeter and Instagram addict for over a year. Betty loves photographing the beauty in ordinary things, revels in colour and light and is partial to a little glitter, with a kitsch or vintage twist.


Andrew Owen Cook


Andy read his first poem to three of his mates underneath the stairs of the Hallam Block in a school in Sheffield. They said it was alright but not to worry about bringing another poem next lunch. Fortunately Andy wasn’t listening and took it as confirmation that he was in fact the artistic-spiritual heir of Dylan Thomas and Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit.

Since studying English with Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, Andy has performed at the Moor Music Festival, Bradford’s Theatre in the Mill, on East Leeds FM, for the Off the Shelf literature festival and recently in a poetry and dance collaboration on top of Nab Hill in Yorkshire with Simon Armitage.

Recently he’s been making a spoken word film series called Tales for the Night Bus, which is going to be online very soon.  If you ask him he’ll say that speaking in front of people feels like peace, and a bit like redemption, and that one day his mates from school are going to request another poem. He lives at



Barnaby Callaby


Barnaby is a collagist concerned with how poetry can manipulate an image, he edits his work like a designer or film maker might: conscious of the transformations made possible by mixing media. Partial to collaboration he is inspired by a mutating poetry shaped and reshaped by the minds of others. Coursing madly toward an immersive and modern form there's unrest in his work, the churn of travel sickness a side effect of being launched in two or three directions at once.


Gavin Hudson


Gavin is a Restorative Justice practitioner and trainer from Sheffield. When he is not RJing he is the poet behind Things Jack Spicer Told Me, a copyright free blog of poetry, pictures and sounds. For more info follow @JackTold on twitter or visit the Things Jack Spicer Told Me page on facebook.


Onyi Ekebuisi


Onyi is currently a student studying French and English. As well as being a Writing Squad grad, she is a member of Young Inscribe. In summer 2012 she was a writer and performer in To Market To Market an imove Cultural Olympiad project in Kirkgate Market.

Her primary medium is the short story, however has recently been exploring poetry, short screenplays and theatre. In her writings she is interested in coming at situations from different angles and perspectives, and creating protagonists who the audience may not like. For the past year she has been working on a short novel, which explores the theme of mystery and young adult relationships.


Steph Webb


Steph is a Leeds University graduate, she studied English and History including an option module in Writing Fiction. She is currently volunteering in museums and studying for a Masters in Museum Studies. She hopes to work in the sector.

Steph loves discovering stories and characters in literature, museum objects, and places and especially enjoys writing short stories. She has also recently written museum interpretation and contributed articles to Bright Knowledge, a website for young people run by the charity, Brightside.

She has always loved the city of Leeds - and, for her sin, it's football team, she is a season ticket holder.


Steve Dearden

Writing Squad/Producer

Steve Dearden set up the Writing Squad in 2001 with Danny Broderick and since then the two of them have worked with eighty young writers in Yorkshire.  In 2012 the Squad became an Arts Council England portfolio organisation which has enable them to recruit thirty-four new writers across the north or England.

Steve writes prose and produces projects, both his own and most recently for imove and Leeds Canvas, both part of Yorkshire's Cultural Olympiad.


Hannah Sibai


Hannah is a freelance theatre designer based in Leeds and a founding member of Oscar Mike, who make playful theatre and theatrical games. She has designed shows across the country for companies including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Red Ladder, Freedom Studios, RashDash, Starving Artists, Pointed Arrow, Middle Child, Northern Creative, Upstart Theatre, Mooted Theatre and Whiteface Theatre. She has also been credited as production designer on films for BBC’s Talent Boost, Dreamtiger Films and Pocket Projects, worked as a scenic artist for Slung Low and Interplay, and model maker for various large-scale productions. She is particularly interested in audience interactive performances, examining the audience member's role and the space they inhabit.

Picture 5

Breakfast Creatives

Design and digital media

Breakfast Creatives are a design and digital media collective working in the arts, across the North of England. Set up in 2010 Breakfast work closely with each client and project to help evolve innovative and engaging design and digital platforms, also developing and producing independent projects themselves. Previous projects include working with OverWorlds&UnderWorlds Yorkshire's flagship art project for the Cultural Olympiad, Balbir Singh Dance Company, Christopher Nunn photography, Dep Arts Limited, English Heritage, imove, Freedom Studios, Leeds Canvas, Museums Trust, SASH,, York Art Gallery, The West Yorkshire Playhouse and The Writing Squad.

Thanks to Amy Letman, Suzi Cubbage, Martin Pickersgill and the Production Dept. of West Yorkshire Playhouse