Good morning Leeds!
Today we’ve got a mix of politics, culture, art, and killer moths.
For those interested in the future of libraries – along with the arts and public service broadcasting – there will be a discussion on these issues this Saturday 16th July (2pm) at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, with speakers including those from the national Voices for the Library group and the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds. And for those already concerned or affected by local library closures, Exploring Leeds has a short blog post on what you can do. In a similar vein, the Save Bingley Pool Campaign are presenting their 2,000 signature petition to Bradford Council today in an effort to halt proposed closures of the swimming pool at peak times.
In other political news, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports that Yorkshire has been one of the hardest hit areas in the recent cuts to firefighting jobs. The Fire Brigades Union have estimated more than 1,000 jobs have already been lost – with these cuts predominantly being made in the North – with one in ten jobs being lost in the next ten years.
And finally, the University of Leeds has become the third institute of higher education after Oxford and Cambridge to pass a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the current coalition government’s plans for higher education in England. Despite a strong UCU presence at the university, Malcolm Povey, the UCU President at Leeds, said that this “important, symbolic gesture” had only been passed with a small majority.
Today we also have the privilege of announcing some forthcoming arts and culture events, all starting this week. The Leeds Savages group has a writers’ meeting this Wednesday 13th July, with the theme ‘Baser Instincts‘: meet upstairs at 7.15pm in the Packhorse Pub.
This Friday sees not one but two fabulous art events come to Leeds: firstly, the On the Edge Festival will be taking place at Temple Works from the 15th to 17th July, featuring a cross-discipline melange of music, theatre, curry, art markets and performance poetry. Secondly, a one Mr Hirst of That London fame will also be making his way to Leeds this Friday 15th as a new exhibition opens in the Leeds Art Gallery. As a former alumnae of Leeds College of Art, the new show will exhibit works from across his career to trace his path from young struggling student artist to super-rich diamond-skull-creating Saatchi-baby in later years.
And if you prefer your art and culture a bit more rural, the Great Yorkshire Show starts today and runs until Thursday 14th July, with more livestock, handicrafts, rosettes and flatcaps that an agriculturalist could shake their hand-whittled stick at. Hosted at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, it looks to be a fun-packed, jam-packed (literally) family romp.
The culture doesn’t end there! Bettakultcha, the 5 minute presentation ‘middle class variety show’ (as one Twitterer put it), has flowered magnificently, with its first Huddersfield event on Thursday. The Saucer, the official publication of the Chapeltown Union of Psychogeographers, has also been featured on The Northerner blog in their use of a 1975 edition of Chapeltown News, highlighting some of the same struggles that previous residents had in their relationship with the council. There’s also been the announcement of Masham Arts Festival, running in late October, which sounds like a lot of curiouser and curiouser fun! And in some sad news, lifelong supporter of the musical arts Lord Harewood died yesterday aged 88. His previous positions had included chairman of the board of the English National Opera and president of Leeds United FC.
Finally, the killer moths. There has been recent concern over a spate of flagging horse chestnut trees in Yorkshire, caused by the aptly named Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner moth. While not killing the tree entirely, the moth’s rampaging appetite do cause the tree to produce a smaller conker, which is bad news for autumn, Billy Bunter, and general Englishness. To aid in the fight against this killer of autumnal joy, researchers investigating the moth have developed a website and phone application to encourage the public to keep their eyes peeled for signs of infestation and log them in a database. Beyond Guardian Leeds urges all right-thinking conker-lovers to keep watch and protect those little spiky balls!