Curtins joins the dots between arts and engineering

curtins author
Curtins on 9th Oct 2023


Last week we opened the doors at Rose Wharf in Leeds to our unique photography exhibition - curated in celebration of the relationship between the arts, engineering and Leeds 2023 Year of Culture, and with an emphasis on showcasing engineering careers to young people.

Our Place: Through the portraiture lens, their eyes and their stories, Our Place explored the symbiotic relationship between Leeds and those who have lived, worked or studied here. 

Who are the people behind the buildings and structures we see in our cities? Running for a limited time from 3rd to 5th October and curated by student photographer, Elly Fraser-Watts, Our Place told the story of how Curtins’ people have influenced places around the country whilst Leeds has been influencing them.

Through the medium of portraiture and music, the exhibition aimed to platform engineering and construction in an accessible and entertaining way.

22 portraits and accompanying short biographies were on display alongside objects of sentimental value. These were paired with a chosen song that echoed the individual’s story and connection to Leeds through the exhibition space.

It was our ambition to work with local suppliers, artists and schools to bring the exhibition together. We partnered with a photography student from Leeds Arts University, Elly Fraser-Watts to create the exhibition, and engaged with local suppliers and other budding photographers to deliver the preview event on 5th October. We were delighted to welcome more than 100 invited guests to the viewing.

Elly Fraser-Watts is a third-year photography student at Leeds Arts University. Her portfolio ranges across painting, music, graphic design and photography, and her talents have been recognised in three gallery exhibits where each collection has been rooted in her own experiences. Specialising in documentary photography, Elly has a passion for capturing personal stories and overlooked communities.

Leeds 2023 aims to celebrate and transform the city’s identity, creating a legacy of economic and social impact. To honour this, we welcomed Year 8 and 9 students from Mount St Marys Catholic High School to enjoy interactive STEAM activities that explored civil and structural engineering, transport planning and environmental engineering, whilst also experiencing the cultural richness of an art exhibition.

Students commented after the activities that they, “know a lot more about what it takes to be an engineer”, “understand how engineering works,” and that they, “learned about the stability of buildings.” 93% of the students stated that they were more like to consider a career in the construction and engineering industry as a result. A huge success for our team!

We have captured the exhibition through 360 video and hope to launch an online interactive for students and wider public in the near future, enabling a greater number of people to engage freely with art and engineering.

In the meantime, we invite you to view the exhibition portraits and bios by clicking here.

Our Place

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