Partner profile: LEEDS 2023

LEEDS 2023 is run by the Leeds Culture Trust, an independent charity set up in 2019 by Leeds City Council as part of its Culture Strategy and as a response to the cancellation of the UK’s participation in the European Capital of Culture competition. LEEDS 2023’s ambition is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and into the future.

100% Digital Leeds has partnered with LEEDS 2023 to explore how creative digital skills and software can be made more accessible to Leeds communities, an idea born via the Arts and Culture Digital Inclusion Network.  Throughout 2022, 100% Digital Leeds and LEEDS 2023 worked together to run a series of workshops aimed at breaking down the perceptions that digital software is difficult to use, expensive and inaccessible to anyone outside of creative industries. The workshops were free, assumed no prior digital skills or knowledge, utilised free digital tools, and were led by experts from across Leeds’s creative industries. The various software packages highlighted in the workshops are free, powerful and support the creation of high-quality content.

“At LEEDS 2023 we are building up to our year of culture, letting culture loose across the city. These workshops are one of the ways we are supporting artists, creatives and organisations. Our aim is to give workshop participants the basic skills they need to begin experimenting and exploring their creative skills. It has been great to partner with 100% Digital Leeds on this programme to ensure that it reaches people across the city. We want to make sure that these workshops are open to everyone and the overwhelming feedback is that we should run more.”

Adam Sas-Skowronski, Creative Technologist, LEEDS 2023

The success of this initial series has led to the workshops being extended into 2023, when four of the workshops trialled will be delivered in various venues across the city. The workshops will include image editing, audio editing, video editing and live streaming, and each will be repeated in community venues across the city. More information coming in January!

Who attended the workshops

100% Digital Leeds worked with LEEDS 2023 to deliver a series of seven workshops across 2022, covering a range of content including video game design, social media strategy, and interactive storytelling, with the most popular sessions being image editing, audio editing, and video editing.

Tweet from a workshop attendee

Across the seven workshops 130 people booked spaces and the workshops saw a 70% attendance rate on the day. The in-person events in the city centre attracted people from across Leeds.

Attendance has been cross-sector with around half to two thirds of attendees representing community or third sector, around a third of attendees came from the creative industries, and a small percentage attended from the public and education sectors or people attending out of personal interest.

How the workshops made an impact

Reasons for attending the workshops included developing skills to be later shared with communities, creating engaging community learning resources, recording community history and creating digital archives, content creation, and capturing and sharing organisational impact.

Tweet from a workshop attendee

Comments from attendees demonstrate that the workshops have been successful in breaking down perceptions and supporting access:

“I have broken the fear of trying a new software so thank you. I am left with plenty of materials to practice on at home and cannot wait for the next workshop.”

“I liked how accessible it felt, I am completely new to using Audacity and sound and this felt really user friendly.”

“I was nervous that the session would be full of people that work in creative technology but such an interesting mix of people, professions, ages, and reasons for attending.”

Feedback from workshop attendees

On a scale of 1 to 5, 98% of responders said the workshops rated as a 4 or 5 in terms of being both engaging and user friendly. Attendees also rated as a 4 or 5 the likelihood of them recommending the workshop series to a friend or attending another workshop themselves.

Aishwarya Vijayakumar has used her new digital skills to create the branding and social media promotion for her small business, Totes and More.

“I attended almost all the Leeds 2023 workshops in this series, and I’ve been able to put most of these into practice. The image editing workshop in particular has helped me build the social media for my business. I’ve always wanted an aesthetic feed and all the previous softwares I’ve used provide similar looking graphics. The GoDaddy Studio workshop really helped me step up my business socials and I’ve been told by everyone I meet that they find my social media posts and graphics very well presented.”

Aishwarya Vijayakumar, Totes and More