Dr Loraine Leeson


Dr Loraine Leeson
NameDr Loraine Leeson
Job titleProfessor of Art and Social Practice
Research institute
Primary appointmentSchool of Arts
Email addressL.Leeson@mdx.ac.uk
ORCIDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6684-3911
Contact categoryResearcher

Biography

Biography

Dr. Loraine Leeson is a visual artist whose research focuses on the role of art in social and environmental change through bringing community-based knowledge into the public domain. Early work included photo-murals, posters, video and exhibition for the health campaigns and the Docklands Community Poster Project in the1980s. In subsequent decades work with East London communities addressed the impact of change in the urban environment on quality of life and cultural identity. This was followed by a series of online projects children and teenagers, which attracted a Media Trust Inspiring Voices award and Olympic Inspire Mark, while a public artwork The Catch involving three hundred young people in Barking was voted a London 2012 Landmark. Recent work has involved communities in addressing environmental concerns.

For two decades Loraine was director of the arts charity cSPACE, led the strategy group Arts for Labour for five years and continues as chair of the film and video production and training centre Four Corners. A retrospective exhibition celebrating thirty years of her practice toured Berlin, London, Toronto and Dublin 2005-08. 2017 saw her 1970s photomontage work in support of health campaigns exhibited at ICA London and the Routledge publication of her monograph Art:Process:Change – inside a socially situated practice. She was Fulbright Scholar in residence at University of Washington in 2011 and since that time has taught Fine Art Social Practice in the Department of Visual Arts at Middlesex University.

Research and knowledge exchange work includes Active Energy, a twelve-year initiative with seniors group The Geezers, which focused on renewable energy, while Jal! an interdisciplinary project in 2018 with artists in Rajasthan addressed issues of water shortage in desert regions. A current project The Art of Healing with creative practitioners in Kashmir is using the arts to support children who have suffered traumatic experience in militarized zones while another Spaces of Hope is investigating hidden histories of community-led planning and the role that arts can play in this. The Art of Engagement: foundations for an international learning community in social practice, in collaboration with the Tate, Queens Museum and City University New York, has been investigating how the teaching of social practice can be improved for arts practitioners through partnership between cultural and higher education institutions.

KEY EXPERTISE

Socially engaged art practice, interdisciplinary research involving the arts, placement supervision, fundraising.

AWARDS FOR KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE/IMPACT

2022 Times Higher Education Knowledge Exchange award for Active Energy

2016 Arts and Green Energy Award, RegenSW for Active Energy

2010 Olympic Inspire Mark for The Young Person’s Guide to East London

2010 Inspiring Voices Media Trust award: The Young Person’s Guide to East London

2009 Public artwork The Catch voted a London 2012 Landmark

1999 Chrisi Bailey award for digital work with young children

ORGANISATIONS AND MEMBERSHIP

Director of The cSPACE Trust https://cspace.org.ukChair of Four Corners photography and film centre https://www.fourcornersfilm.co.ukSenior Fellow of the Higher Education AcademyMember of British Scholars Fulbright Association

Member of AHRC Peer Review College

BROADCASTING

The NHS: A People's History, BBC FOUR 1st July 2018

Suite (212)- panel discussion on Cultural Democracy for Resonance FM 20th November 2017

The GLC Story – Presentation recorded by Resonance FM 15th December 2015

NuSound Radio (interview) 1st April 2010

ARCHIVES AND COLLECTIONS

• London Community Video Archive https://www.the-lcva.co.uk/interviews/594b032ebefbbb141861b98

• The GLC Story https://glcstory.co.uk/listen-to-interviews/

• National Sound Archive https://www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/cat.html

• CityArts Dublin. Online archive In Conversation https://www.cityarts.ie/programme/inconversation.html

• London East Research Institute https://www.uel.ac.uk/londoneast/gallery/loraine_leeson/index.htm

• Rising East [Online] https://www.uel.ac.uk/risingeast/archive07/interviews/leeson.htm

• The Science Museum, Brought to Life, https://sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife

• Women’s Art Library https://make.gold.ac.uk

• Audio Arts, The Visual Arts in Tower Hamlets, ed. W. Furlong, Vol. 5 No.2, Pt.2 1982, cassette tape.

• Museum in Docklands, ‘New Port, New City post 1945’ gallery, London.

• Science Museum, Public Health and Hygiene Collection, London

• MAKE (previously Women’s Art Library), Goldsmiths, University of London

• Awakenings at LB Tower Hamlets town hall, Mulberry Place, London E14 2BG

• East London Health Project posters in Science Museum, Public Health and Hygiene Collection, London

Teaching

Teaching and Supervising

Module leader for BA Art Ecologies: Placement (current)

PhD supervision/ Director of Studies relating to research in social practice 2016-20

Programme leader for MA Art and Social Practice 2016-2018

Examining

2023 External examiner (PhD) Dept. Art History and Visual Culture, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Loughborough University

2022 External examiner (PhD) Belfast School of Art, University of Ulster

2022 External examiner (PhD) School of Business & Creative Industries, University of the West of Scotland

2017-2021 External examiner for MA Art and Social Practice, University of Highlands and Islands

2020 External assessor for appointments, Department of Creative and Festival Arts, University of the West Indies

2020 External examiner (PhD) Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University

2019 External examiner (PhD) School of Creative Arts and Design, Loughborough University

2019 External examiner (PhD) Department of Art, University of Reading

2017 Member of advisory committee for appointments to the Serra Húnter Programme, Autonomous University of Barcelona.

2015 External examiner for PhD in Art History and Cultural Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

2014 External examiner for PhD in Environmental Studies, York University Toronto

2013 International PhD referee/assessor, University of Catalunya

Publishing on Social Practice Pedagogy 

‘Active Energy – art practice into pedagogy’ in Provocations, Pedagogy, and Other Strategies for Teaching Ecological Art, International Ecoart Network.(2022).

Duman, A. Leeson, L. 2018, ‘Experience as Art: Fine Art Social Practice Modules at Middlesex University’.

‘Experience as Art: Fine Art Social Practice Modules at Middlesex University’ in Art as Social Action, Allworth Press, New York. (2018). Collaboration with Alberto Duman.

‘Giving More Than You Take: a conversation about the ethics, responsibilities and practicalities of facilitating student participation in community-based projects’ in The Tetley Feast, Leeds College of Art. (2015).

Education and qualifications

Grants

Projects

  • Spaces of HOPE: The Hidden History of Community Led Planning in the UK
  • AH/V004263/1

Prizes and Awards

Research outputs

The Art of Engagement

Leeson, L. 2022. The Art of Engagement. ELIA Biennial Conference 2022: No Stone Unturned. University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland 23 - 26 Nov 2022

PeoplesPlans.org

Leeson, L., Brownill, S., Inch, A., Ellis, G., Sartorio, F. and O'Hara, G. 2021. PeoplesPlans.org.

Active energy: creating change through citizen engagement

Leeson, L. 2024. Active energy: creating change through citizen engagement. Putting power back in the hands of people: Community-Owned Renewable Energy. Wellspace Hackney, London, UK 07 - 07 May 2024

The Art of Healing

Leeson, L. and Buser, M. 2021. The Art of Healing.

Active Energy: creating change through citizen engagement

Leeson, L. 2024. Active Energy: creating change through citizen engagement. Arts and Citizenship: Moving and Belonging. Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds 11 - 12 Jan 2024

Photomontage and collective action

Leeson, L. 2023. Photomontage and collective action. Political Photomontage: Peter Kennard and Loraine Leeson in discussion. Four Corners, London, UK 19 - 19 Sep 2023

Making a difference through art practice, research and knowledge exchange

Leeson, L. Making a difference through art practice, research and knowledge exchange. The Urgency of the Arts Assembly 2024. Royal College of Art, London 18 - 18 Jan 2024

In/secure childhoods: Children and conflict in Kashmir

Brannlund, E., Buser, M., Holt, N., Mytton, J., Fazli, A., Leeson, L., Roy, A. and Sinha, V. 2024. In/secure childhoods: Children and conflict in Kashmir. Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research. 31 (1), pp. 48-66. https://doi.org/10.1177/09075682241226521

Art/Process/Change: inside a socially situated practice

Leeson, L. 2023. Art/Process/Change: inside a socially situated practice. Feinart Lecture Series. Online webinar 15 Jun 2023

Spaces of Hope

Leeson, L., Brownill, S., Inch, A., Ellis, G., Sartorio, F. and O'Hara, G. 2023. Spaces of Hope. Art in the Docks at the Royal Docks, London, UK, then touring 11 Jun - 04 Sep 2023

The Art of Engagement: creating foundations for an international learning community in social practice

Leeson, L. 2023. The Art of Engagement: creating foundations for an international learning community in social practice. National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange (NCACE) .

Creating a difference – a role for the arts in addressing child wellbeing in conflict-affected areas

Buser, M., Brännlund, E., Holt, N., Leeson, L. and Mytton, J. 2024. Creating a difference – a role for the arts in addressing child wellbeing in conflict-affected areas. Arts & Health. 16 (1), pp. 32-47. https://doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2023.2168710

Things that Make You Sick and Women Beware of Man Made Medicine

Leeson, L. 2023. Things that Make You Sick and Women Beware of Man Made Medicine.

Make a difference: collaboration and participation in arts-led research

Leeson, L. 2022. Make a difference: collaboration and participation in arts-led research. THE Campus.

Active Energy: bringing local knowledge into the public realm

Leeson, L. 2022. Active Energy: bringing local knowledge into the public realm. WEAD Art and Education No. 5: Ecoart in Action: Fostering Social and Ecological Change. Online 22 May 2022

Arts in regeneration: from creative community-led planning to institutional instrumentalism in East London [Blog post]

Leeson, L. 2022. Arts in regeneration: from creative community-led planning to institutional instrumentalism in East London [Blog post]. PeoplesPlans.org.

Active Energy: Bringing local knowledge into the public realm

Leeson, L. 2022. Active Energy: Bringing local knowledge into the public realm. in: Geffen, A., Rosenthal, A., Freemantle, C. and Rahmani, A. (ed.) Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities New York New Village Press. pp. 363-371

Materials included in "Life Support: Forms of Care in Art and Activism"

Leeson, L. 2021. Materials included in "Life Support: Forms of Care in Art and Activism".

Active Energy: Communities countering Climate Change

Leeson, L. 2020. Active Energy: Communities countering Climate Change. Women Eco Artists Dialog - Magazine & Directory.

Interdisciplinary research in Rajasthan, India: exploring the role of culture and art to support rural development and water management

Buser, M., Leeson, L., Rathore, M., Roy, A. and Sabnani, N. 2020. Interdisciplinary research in Rajasthan, India: exploring the role of culture and art to support rural development and water management. Water Alternatives. 13 (3), pp. 822-842.

Active energy - visual narrative

Leeson, L. 2020. Active energy - visual narrative.

The things that make you sick

Leeson, L. 2020. The things that make you sick. in: Deepwell, K. (ed.) Feminist art activisms and artivisms Amsterdam, The Netherlands Valiz. pp. 228-235

Geezer power: the Active Energy project

Leeson, L. 2020. Geezer power: the Active Energy project. in: Povall, R. (ed.) Culture, community and climate: conversations and emergent praxis Dartington, UK art.earth.

Practice-based teaching in MA Art and Social Practice and BA Fine Art Social Practice

Leeson, L. 2019. Practice-based teaching in MA Art and Social Practice and BA Fine Art Social Practice. Work Based Learning e-Journal International. 8 (2), pp. 110-115.

Active energy: pedagogy as practice

Leeson, L. 2018. Active energy: pedagogy as practice. in: Geffen, A. and Pindell, D. (ed.) Provocations, pedagogy, and other strategies for teaching ecological art New York New Village Press.

Social action and the arts - in statutory, further and higher education, 1992 – 2019

Leeson, L. 2019. Social action and the arts - in statutory, further and higher education, 1992 – 2019. Social Action and the Arts. WE Schools, 14 Bowden Street, SW11 4DS 09 Oct 2019

Active energy: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - communities countering climate change - project installation

Leeson, L. 2019. Active energy: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - communities countering climate change - project installation. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London The cSPACE Trust.

De l’art comme forme d’activisme, entretien avec Peter Dunn et Loraine Leeson par Juliette Desorgues [Interview available in French and English]

Desorgues, J., Leeson, L. and Dunn, P. 2019. De l’art comme forme d’activisme, entretien avec Peter Dunn et Loraine Leeson par Juliette Desorgues [Interview available in French and English]. Paris Switch (on Paper) journal.

Art as a tool for social change: The Docklands Community Poster Project and its legacy

Leeson, L. 2019. Art as a tool for social change: The Docklands Community Poster Project and its legacy. Royal l Docks l Works. The Good Hotel, Royal Victoria Dock, Western Gateway, Royal Docks, London E16 1FA 22 Jun 2019

Participation and collaboration in contemporary art practices

Leeson, L. 2019. Participation and collaboration in contemporary art practices. Construir complicitats: Pràctiques artístiques col·laboratives [BUILDING COMPLICITIES: Collaborative artistic practices]. Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona 30 May 2019

Docklands community poster project: Peter Dunn & Dr. Loraine Leeson [Interview]

Kenna, C., Lobb, S., Leeson, L. and Dunn, P. 2019. Docklands community poster project: Peter Dunn & Dr. Loraine Leeson [Interview]. London Greenwich Mural Workshop.

Docklands Community Poster Project

Dunn, P. and Leeson, L. 2019. Docklands Community Poster Project.

From photo-murals to water wheels: a role for art in strategies of change

Leeson, L. 2019. From photo-murals to water wheels: a role for art in strategies of change. Kenna, C. and Lobb, S. (ed.) For Walls With Tongues Seminar, History of Street Murals 1966-85. University of Greenwich, London, UK 14 May 2019 Greenwich Mural Workshop. pp. 27-29

An Art of Change - photomontage 1977-2017

Leeson, L. 2018. An Art of Change - photomontage 1977-2017. Photomontage Then and Now. Four Corners, 121 Roman Road London E2 0QN 20 Sep 2018

Water power: creativity and the unlocking of community knowledge

Leeson, L. 2018. Water power: creativity and the unlocking of community knowledge. in: Roberts, L. and Phillips, K. (ed.) Water, meaning and creativity: understanding human-water relationships Routledge. pp. 23-35

The operation was successful but the patient died

Leeson, L. 2018. The operation was successful but the patient died. Patricide. 1 (1), pp. 7-12.

Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms - 2 July 2018, Middlesex University

Deepwell, K., Kokoli, A., Robinson, A., Mullaniff, K., Dick, E., Attwood, F., Leeson, L. and Maude-Roxby, A. 2018. Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms - 2 July 2018, Middlesex University. Feminist Art Activisms and Artivisms. Middlesex University, London, UK 02 Jul 2018 Middlesex University. https://doi.org/10.22023/mdx.6716054.v1

Interview for "The NHS: A People's History"

Leeson, L. 2018. Interview for "The NHS: A People's History". BBC FOUR BBC.

Our Land: creative approaches to the redevelopment of London’s Docklands

Leeson, L. 2019. Our Land: creative approaches to the redevelopment of London’s Docklands. International Journal of Heritage Studies. 25 (4), pp. 365-379. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2018.1485166

Silvertown and North Woolwich - past and present

Leeson, L. 2018. Silvertown and North Woolwich - past and present. University of East London 12 - 16 Jun 2018

Situated art practice and strategies for change in London’s East End

Leeson, L. 2018. Situated art practice and strategies for change in London’s East End. Symposium: Communalities, Urbanities and Artistic Commonalities. Birkbeck University of London, London, UK 05 Jun 2018

Co-creation as a strategy for change

Leeson, L. 2018. Co-creation as a strategy for change. Co-Creation: Creativity-Based Methods to Engage with Communities. University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom 24 May 2018

Art practice and the community

Leeson, L. and Duman, A. 2018. Art practice and the community. in: Sholette, G. and Bass, C. (ed.) Art as Social Action: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Social Practice Art New York Allworth Press, NY.

Cultural democracy [Blog post]

Leeson, L. 2018. Cultural democracy [Blog post]. MDX Minds Middlesex University.

Cultural democracy

Jacques, J., Leeson, L., Wainwright, H. and Mahamdallie, H. 2017. Cultural democracy. Resonance FM - Suite (212).

For Walls with Tongues

Leeson, L. 2017. For Walls with Tongues. For Walls with Tongues. Whitechapel Gallery 01 Nov 2017

Art > Process > Change 1977 – 2017

Leeson, L. 2017. Art > Process > Change 1977 – 2017. Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism. The Showroom Gallery, London 27 Sep 2017

Confluence: Public Art and the Thames / A Conversation with Six Artists

Leeson, L. 2017. Confluence: Public Art and the Thames / A Conversation with Six Artists. Totally Thames Festival. Thames Tunnel Shaft, Brunel Museum 11 Sep 2017

The Unlimited Edition Live!

Leeson, L. 2017. The Unlimited Edition Live! London Festival of Architecture 2017. Underdog Gallery, London 07 Jun 2017

Places in Flux and the Place for Art

Leeson, L. 2017. Places in Flux and the Place for Art. Places in Flux and the Place for Art. V&A Lansbury Micro Museum, London 29 Apr 2017

Art: Process: Change - inside a socially situated practice

Leeson, L. 2017. Art: Process: Change - inside a socially situated practice. London and New York Routledge.

Interview and video in London Community Video Archive

Leeson, L. 2017. Interview and video in London Community Video Archive.

Active energy: Three Mills - project launch

Leeson, L. 2017. Active energy: Three Mills - project launch.

The Things that Make You Sick

Leeson, L. and Dunn, P. 2017. The Things that Make You Sick. ICA, London 06 May - 09 Jul 2017

Active energy - Three Mills water wheel

Leeson, L. 2017. Active energy - Three Mills water wheel.

Interview for The GLC Story

Leeson, L. 2017. Interview for The GLC Story.

The Docklands Community Poster Project and other creative approaches to regeneration

Leeson, L. 2016. The Docklands Community Poster Project and other creative approaches to regeneration. Top down meets bottom up in post-industrial regeneration: Good practice and challenges in participatory approaches to community engagement in city planning. Riverside Museum, Glasgow 20 - 21 Jan 2017

Active Energy

Leeson, L. 2016. Active Energy. Feeding the Insatiable: a creative summit. Dartington Hall, Devon, England 09 - 11 Nov 2016

The art of the state

Leeson, L. 2016. The art of the state. The World Transformed. The Black-e, Liverpool 23 - 27 Sep 2016

Bred and born - a reflection

Leeson, L. 2016. Bred and born - a reflection. Four Corners - 40 Years of Film in the East End. Whitechapel Gallery 02 Jul 2016

Collaborative art activism – a UK perspective

Leeson, L. 2016. Collaborative art activism – a UK perspective. Public Exposures: the art - activism of Condé + Beveridge (1976-2016) - Symposium. OCAD University, Toronto, Canada 27 - 29 May 2016

Interview with Margaret Harrison and participation in roundtable discussion

Kokoli, A., Harrison, M., Farkas, R., Leeson, L. and Maple, S. 2016. Interview with Margaret Harrison and participation in roundtable discussion. The Practicing Feminist. Tate Britain 21 May 2016

Conceptualism/feminism/cultural activism

Leeson, L. 2016. Conceptualism/feminism/cultural activism. The Practicing Feminist. Tate Britain 21 May 2016

Active Energy: Three mills - hydrocitizenship open workshop

Leeson, L. 2016. Active Energy: Three mills - hydrocitizenship open workshop. Hydrocitizenship.

Community politics of the GLC (Greater London Council)

Leeson, L. 2016. Community politics of the GLC (Greater London Council). How to Do It. King's College London, UK 09 - 10 Apr 2016

Active energy - London: capital / climate / culture

Leeson, L. 2015. Active energy - London: capital / climate / culture. Deadline@Tate. Tate Modern 04 - 06 Dec 2015

Cultural policy of the GLC

Leeson, L. 2015. Cultural policy of the GLC. A Greater London: the GLC story 1981-8. The Rag Factory 02 Dec 2015

Case study: engaging older people in creative thinking: the Active Energy project

Leeson, L. 2015. Case study: engaging older people in creative thinking: the Active Energy project. in: Clift, S. and Camic, P. (ed.) Oxford Textbook of Creative Arts, Health and Wellbeing: International perspectives on practice, policy and research Oxford University Press (OUP). pp. 245-250

Community collaborations 1978-2015

Leeson, L. 2015. Community collaborations 1978-2015. Community arts? Learning from the legacy of artists’ social initiatives. The Black-e, Liverpool, United Kingdom 01 Nov 2015

East London Health Project

Leeson, L. 2015. East London Health Project. Storming the Citadels?: changing attitudes and frameworks to arts practices sf research in community contexts. Birkbeck University of London, London, United Kingdom 25 Jul 2015

Lambeth floating marsh

Leeson, L., Rai, N. and Iles, H. 2015. Lambeth floating marsh. cSPACE.

Giving more than you take: a conversation about the ethics, responsibilities and practicalities of facilitating student participation in community-based projects: Dr. Loraine Leeson in conversation with Marianne Springham

Leeson, L. and Springham, M. 2015. Giving more than you take: a conversation about the ethics, responsibilities and practicalities of facilitating student participation in community-based projects: Dr. Loraine Leeson in conversation with Marianne Springham. in: Collins, D. (ed.) The Tetley Feast: Documentation and Critical Reflections Leeds College of Art. pp. 81-85

Reflections on an art and politics of social engagement

Leeson, L. 2014. Reflections on an art and politics of social engagement. The Impossible Constellation. University of Lincoln 02 - 03 Jun 2014

Re-thinking (e)valuation

Leeson, L. 2014. Re-thinking (e)valuation. Art, Recognition and Social Science: Re-Thinking (E)valuation. Central Library, Liverpool, UK 16 May 2014

Art as a force for change

Leeson, L. 2014. Art as a force for change. Curating Community? The Relational and Agonistic Value of Participatory Arts in Superdiverse Localities. Centre For Creative Collaboration, London, UK 01 May 2014

Experiments in ‘real world’ education

Leeson, L. 2014. Experiments in ‘real world’ education. Just What Is It That Makes Today's Art Schools So Different, So Appealing?. ICA, London 29 Mar 2014

Some lessons learned on the art and politics of social engagement 1978 – 2013

Leeson, L. 2014. Some lessons learned on the art and politics of social engagement 1978 – 2013. The Tetley Feast. The Tetley, Leeds, UK 08 Jan - 12 Feb 2014

Active Energy - where art and engineering meet

Leeson, L. 2014. Active Energy - where art and engineering meet. CAA 102nd Annual Conference. Chicago 12 - 15 Feb 2014

Big money is moving in, Docklands community poster project and posters from the east London health project

Leeson, L. and Dunn, P. 2015. Big money is moving in, Docklands community poster project and posters from the east London health project.

Citizen innovation: DIY design and the Thames water turbine

Leeson, L. and Light, A. 2014. Citizen innovation: DIY design and the Thames water turbine. Creative Citizens. Royal College of Art, London 18 - 19 Sep 2014

Groundswell on the Thames: 30 years of cultural activism with London’s riverside communities

Leeson, L. 2014. Groundswell on the Thames: 30 years of cultural activism with London’s riverside communities. Women Environmental Artists Directory. (7).

Active energy: turbine on the Thames

Leeson, L. 2013. Active energy: turbine on the Thames.

The young person's guide 2 East London

Leeson, L. and cSPACE 2012. The young person's guide 2 East London. cSPACE.

Active energy

Leeson, L. and SPACE 2009. Active energy. SPACE Studios.

Active Energy web site

Leeson, L. 2007. Active Energy web site.
  • 2653
    total views of outputs
  • 225
    total downloads of outputs
  • 200
    views of outputs this month
  • 23
    downloads of outputs this month