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


Public art; art in public spaces, art in the public realm… Community arts; arts in the community; artists working with communities… Social engagement; participatory arts projects… Artspace; creative space; maker space; open access… These are just some of the expanding plethora of terminologies that contemporary artspeak has adopted to assert its social value, broaden its audience, and stake its claim on social capital and the public good, as well, of course, as its claim on public funds. On closer examination all of these terms are loaded with taken-for-granted assumptions. They bunch together competing ideological and pragmatic motivations that run the gamut from wanting a slice of the pie to wanting nothing less than a revolution. They often elide the reality that most so-called ‘public’ space remains in state or private ownership and is therefore almost always controlled and regulated by institutional bureaucracies or commercial interests, and so not genuinely ‘public’ at all.

The pervasive models for the role and practice of artists and their support organisations serve corporate and state interests, upheld by the soft coercion of ‘best practice’ and ‘professionalism’ required by state and local level funding bodies and their requirements. These models are inculcated at art schools where, right from the start, the default position for most is personalised, competitive, reputation-based, placing a stress on an ability to accumulate social capital, critical acclaim or market value as an individual. The way the arts are networked make subversion or deviation from these models very difficult to maintain with any kind of long term sustainability. In this climate any idea of ‘community’ is rendered banal, envisaged as a mass public of consumers to be satisfied, sensibilities not to be offended, or participants to be patronised. In this scenario the gravitational pull of vested interests and state agendas is too big to circle around. The centre ground predominates, and art is instrumentalised as public good or private status and idealised as an amalgam of both. Artists and arts organisations don’t want to risk their existing relationships; for example, with people in their local council who they rely on, who in turn are connected with other funders, who in turn are connected to the cultural and economic structures that empower them to maintain their position, amongst whom other artists and organisations are also networked.