Tomorrow Is Our Permanent Address
Convention House, Leeds, UK 2019

Devised and curated by Marion Harrison
Commissioned by East Street Arts
Words – Derek Horton
Photo Credits – Jules Lister
Website Design – Erik Winterburn/Studio Volk
Audio – Baile Beyai and Stuart Mellor

This project aimed to critically, practically and technically test the potential scope of this new space through innovative, idiosyncratic, exploratory and inventive uses and implementation of technology, digital material, image, construction, words, systems, encounter and group learning.

--tomorrow is our permanent address and there they'll scarcely find us (if they do, we'll move away still further): into now
— E.E. Cummings – all ignorance toboggans into know. (1944)

Words – How will anyone know what is happening?

Convention House

Convention House is situated in Mabgate, Leeds. Formerly a convent and then used as an accountants for the last 37 years, this Victorian large-scale terraced building has recently been redeveloped into a unique creative space by East Street Arts.

Words – What makes a creative space?

︎ Laura Grace Ford

︎ Alex De Little

︎ Sophie & Kerri

︎ Marion Harrison & Stuart Mellor

︎ Jake Krushell & Alfie Kungu

︎ Marnie Simpson

︎ John Orlek

︎ Ben Dalton

︎ Sable Radio

︎ Village Pop up @ Convention House

Marsh Lane Billboard Project

Programmed by Marion Harrison and Alan Dunn.

Words – Public art; art in public spaces, art in the public realm…

︎ Dominic from Luton

︎ Laura Grace Ford

︎ Sophie & Kerri

︎ Jessie Brennan

︎ Tara Colette

︎ Andy Edwards


The function of all billboards is to insert subliminal messages into liminal spaces. From Barbara Kruger and before, to Pussy Riot and after, artists have long made disturbances in the field of commerce, substituting social messages for advertising ones by commandeering billboards, creating a momentary disruption in our passive consumption of capitalist imagery. Whilst a widening of the usual art audience is inevitably a consequence of this strategy, the kind of ‘access’ that such initiatives provide is necessarily diluted – an artwork, or an image of an artwork, seen from the street, mid errand, or from a car, mid traffic jam, is likely to be more fleeting than the experience of viewing it in a space designed for contemplation. It can still be an encounter with affect though.

Dave Beech, writing in 2009 on the failings of public art, asserted that, “the public is not to be found on the street, in town squares, in shopping malls or on traffic islands; it is the performative activity that fills these places with public life”. His position is that: “the public sphere is not public because of its spaces, but because of its activities”, and so, “there is no such thing as public space, only communicative exchanges of opinion that transform individuals into a public”. An effective public art would thus involve critical thinking about the public as a concept rather than as a body of people, and would engage with the complexity and difficulties of the erosion and fragmentation of public life in contemporary capitalist society. As Beech puts it, “the only hope for art in the public sphere lies with the very forces that have been challenging public art for so long”.

At its best the Marsh Lane billboard project embraced such a critique, engaging cryptically rather than simplistically with social ideas and how they might be constructed as ambivalently provocative messages, whether through words or images. The digital photographic montage by Sophie Chapman and Kerri Jefferis, for example, combining the glittering debris of a lesbian wedding on the floor of a working men’s club with a corner of a poorly maintained and vandalised playground, uses a marginal site to visually and conceptually amplify multiple layers of differentiated marginalisation within a marginalised community, on a site that is itself marginal.