Open Source Arts empowers creative, practical action towards healthier, more resilient citizens, neighbourhoods and sustainable futures. 

We have facilities, opportunities and experienced staff who make it easier for you to get on with creating your work and developing as an artist and maker. We enable people to make a positive impact on their wild places via environmental stewardship, empowering local communities to get active and become guardians.

Welcome to this supportive community of people who believe in working together to make the place we live in better for everybody.

Whilst we all navigate the uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic and the financial instability that has come with it, we have set up a donations page. Please, dear friends and supporters, only if you can, donate anything to help our community continue to strengthen and grow through the link below. We want to keep empowering and engaging communities to be healthy, safe and supported throughout this time and much beyond, so anything you can contribute to help us stay sustainable is hugely appreciated. Thank you so much!

Welcome to Open Source Arts!
A place for making; a space for practicing community, creativity, sustainability + collaboration across art forms, crafts, backgrounds + skill levels. We encourage and support people to realise projects, curate events + develop skills.

Opportunities and ideas are presented to us all the time. We have created this space and filled it with resources and fantastic people, to enable ourselves and our community to act on these opportunities and ideas.

We have called it Open Source Arts, because this is a space which is open to everyone who wants to work together to develop themselves or their communities through nurturing creativity and collaboration.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic amateur, professional artist, performer, maker, or a community group or collective – Open Source Arts exists for you.

We’re here to give space, time and support – to facilitate the learning of new skills, and to provide a creative incubator for your events, collaborations and projects. .

Please do get in touch if you have any ideas! We look forward to meeting you.

Services

The support we offer each other and our community comes in several forms.

We have physical space for making, training and practising, filled with workshops, masterclasses and regular open training sessions.

The space can be hired at a reasonable price to a range of groups and organisations for one off events, such as fundraisers, gigs and meetings.

Our studio has multiple aerial rigging points and a sprung oak dance floor, plus crash mats and inch mats.

We have a practical, well-resourced manufacturing workshop for creating in wood, metal, textiles and painting. There is offsite provision for laser cutting and CNC routing.

We also have the ability to make one off custom pieces, including sets and props for the theatre, shows or parties, and are open to commissions.

The cafe kitchen is designed to be an available community resource and social space. There is free WiFi and seating suitable for either eating and socialising, or for meeting and catching up on some work. This is a fully fitted commercial kitchen and we can provide catering for events both in and out of house.

In addition to this, the space is staffed by passionate people with years of experience in these disciplines, who are always happy to offer advice and support as your project develops.

Projects

We have a range of activities outside of our venue covering education and creative projects along with environmental stewardship.

The environmental stewardship takes the form of riverside and canal side cleanups with volunteers and community groups. These activities remove rubbish and create more habitable environments for the animals who live there.

With recycling in mind we offer a comprehensive and exciting plastic recycling project where kids (and adults) can have a go at turning their waste plastic bottle into a useful item.

Alongside these we offer marquee hire for community events.

On the more creative, playful and seriously fun side we run a Yorkshire Circus!

Events

We have a varied and extensive calendar of events. This includes a training programme ranging from introductory workshops and courses to specialist masterclasses, covering everything from clowning to C.A.D and vegan cookery.

Our open training sessions provide opportunities for all. From enthusiastic amateurs to professional artists and makers, all can access high quality facilities and equipment at a low cost on a shared basis, after an initial induction.

Alongside this, we collaborate on a range of community gatherings with local groups, including open mics, urban retreats, solstice celebrations and one day takeovers!

Takeovers are unique events curated by innovative local collectives and supported by us, usually featuring live music, performances, DJs, stalls, food, drink and workshops.

MEET THE TEAM

Philip Marken

Philip Marken

Director

Owner and Founder of Open Source Arts, with 15+ yr experience working in the events industry at all levels, from litter picker to production manager and event producer. He started Open Source Arts to enable creative people in Leeds to develop their skills, find collaborations and realise their ambitions.  He is passionate about spreading the ethos of making your own rather than buying it in, a belief born out of a varied career as a fabricator, producer and consultant. Whatever your project, he is excited to talk to you about how to take your great idea and turn it into reality!  Please get in touch!

Email: phil@opensourcearts.co.uk

Myra Rowland

Myra Rowland

Operations and Programmes

She/Her

Myra joined the Open Source Arts team in autumn 2017, after 5 years working at Leeds University.  Myra brings her organisational skills to Open Source Arts and we feel deeply grateful for her experience and calm presence, and strengthened by her support with projects great and small. She is passionate about strengthening resilient communities, facilitating collaboration, and empowering people. Myra works across all projects and activities at Open Source Arts, so if you would like to know more, get in touch with Myra!

Email: myra.rowland@opensourcearts.co.uk

Izzy Brittain

Izzy Brittain

Creative Practitioner, Teacher & Organiser

Izzy is an interdisciplinary artist working across dance and performance poetry, and has been with Open Source Arts since 2016. She coordinates dance open training alongside Sophie, runs weekly open dance classes and was instrumental in leading the development of our diverse programme of events. She is also a passionate and playful yoga teacher.

Email: isabel.brittain@opensourcearts.co.uk

Hannah Burgess

Hannah Burgess

Communications and Marketing

She/Her

Hannah started working with Open Source Arts in January 2018. Here at Open Source Arts, Hannah leads our marketing and communications. As part of her role, Hannah maintains and develops the communication with public, press and arts/educational institutions to ensure our in-house programme and out-of-house projects are a success. She is driven by pushing spaces and projects that celebrate creative learning, arts engagement and collaboration in the community. Alongside this role, Hannah is an arts producer for a Bradford participatory arts charity.

Email: hannah.burgess@opensourcearts.co.uk

Sophie Hutchinson

Sophie Hutchinson

Dance Practitioner & Yoga Teacher

Sophie has been with Open Source Arts since the very beginning, and since even before the 2015 floods, helping with the initial creation of the Open Source Arts vision before the radical change which the flooding brought.  Sophie works with us on lots of different strands, but has at her heart a passion for movement practice and yoga.  She now coordinates regular yoga sessions at Open Source Arts, as well as delivering the weekly professional dance training classes.

Email: sophie.hutchinson@opensourcearts.co.uk

Jacob Justice

Jacob Justice

Events Programmer

They/them

Jacob began working with Open Source Arts at the start of 2019, and runs events in the space. As a performance artist, both individually and as part of their collective HalliGalli, Jacob has a passion for making art as accessible and as engaging as possible. This is a key philosophy that underlines all of their work with Open Source Arts.

Email: jacob.justice@opensourcearts.co.uk

Jason Mclelland

Jason Mclelland

Handyman and Infrastructure Rigger

Jason began working with Open Source Arts at the end of 2018. He is an easy going (most of the time) fitness loving veggie with a penchant for houseplants. Jason is essential in erecting temporary structures for events, predominately marquees. He’s also a handy man to have around, with strong skills for fixing and tinkering, helping us in sprucing up the venue.

Ben Deutsch

Ben Deutsch

Administrator

He/Him/His

After almost two decades working in admin and communications roles in Leeds’ third sector, Ben joined the Open Source Arts team in Summer 2019, providing administrative support across the organisation’s projects and services. He brings extensive IT experience and know-how, as well as copy writing and editing skills and experience of organising and promoting events. He values OSA’s emphasis on creativity and authenticity in all aspects of their work, and hopes to extend that to the administrative realm. He has no doubt that spreadsheets are a form of poetry, poetry is a form of prayer, and prayer is a form of revolution.

Joe Ferguson

Joe Ferguson

Circus Development Officer

With over 10 years experience in circus skills and social circus projects, Joe has been with Open Source Arts since 2018 and has taken the lead on all things circus in the space and in the wider community. Overseeing community events run through Yorkshire Circus such as Fire Jam and Circus Open Training, as well as a variety of circus workshops and performances throughout Leeds, growing awareness of the circus community, create a platform for established and new circus artists to share and develop their skills and create the home for circus in Yorkshire.

Email: joe.ferguson@opensourcearts.co.uk

Abbigail Kelly

Abbigail Kelly

Events Programmer & Design

Abbie has been with Open Source Arts since the start of 2019. She’s working on multimedia events and activities, including workshops and celebratory events. She loves and is very good at bringing people together to have a great time! Abbie also brings her excellent graphic design skills to Open Source Arts. Alongside this she continues to develop her fabrication and maker skills, both at Open Source Arts and with another fabrication space in Leeds.

Email: abbigail.kelly@opensourcearts.co.uk

Rachel Rea

Rachel Rea

Developing Artist in Residence

Rachel has been at Open Source Arts since 2018 and is now our developing artist in resident. She has a varied portfolio of working with costume and theatre, and has developed a strong practice in installation based design, predominately now working with recycled plastics, textiles and sculpture. She uses her ideas and knowledge of a range of materials to create immersive spaces for a variety of events, including music, science and communications.

Nat Watson

Nat Watson

Aerial and Circus Instructor / Yoga Teacher

Nat has been with Open Source Arts since September 2017. Having over 10 years’ experience in aerial arts and yoga, Nat leads, along with Joe Ferguson, our weekly circus training on a Tuesday evening. With a passion for all things upside down Nat runs aerial, yoga and handstand workshops at Open Source Arts and other venues across the region. A qualified Aerial instructor and Yoga teacher, she works with us on different stands to help build our growing circus and aerial projects.

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We are eager to meet people from all disciplines

Whether you have a project to develop, want to learn skills or simply meet other people who are excited about the possibilities of collaboration.