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What's in your cultural mix?

  • Culture means many things to many to many people. For some it’s the arts, for others its sport, film, food, and family. If we’re going to co-produce the new Culture Strategy together then it’s important to represent all of our cultures, and to do that we need you to share what those cultures are.


Show us who you are

Make your face, choose the cultures that matter to you and start sharing #yourculture

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Mouth
  • Hair
  • Hat
  • Glasses
  • Beard
  • Background
  • Interests

If you can’t see your culture, tell us what we’ve missed in the comments box and we’ll create it for you.


  1. Cultural Strategy for Leeds – great that it is open for consultation for everyone and each one person in Leeds to contribute how they wish/are able.

    I have a mixed view of culture in Leeds, sometimes it is the centre of my cultural world and sometimes it’s a place I want to escape from for more calm/inspiring culture outside of the city and away from the traffic busy shopping streets of the city centre.

    Culture in Leeds for me means:
    • WY Playhouse – amazing plays and dance performances
    • Town Hall – comedy and band gigs
    • Leeds City Art Gallery – art exhibitions and tiled cafe
    • Roundhay Park – walks and lakeside cafe
    • Scott Hall Sports Centre – Swimming Pool (oh how I wish it was cleaner!)
    • Leeds College of Art & Design – Adult Classes/Short Courses
    • Chirpy Store in Chapel Allerton – Weekend half day workshops
    • Baa Ram Ewe in Chapel Allerton –
    • Photography Walks – city centre architecture, textiles history…
    • 4by4 Talks – the future of the city
    • SD Leeds – the services in the city
    • Playful Leeds & Playbox – play in the city
    • Duke Studios – bringing together more illustrators/designers
    • Colours May Vary – bringing together artwork from city illustrators and designers
    • 7 in Chapel Allerton – performances and clubs in cafe
    • Book Groups around the community
    • Walking around Harewood House Estate

    I’d like more cultural mixing especially with people from new ethnic groups moving into the city – it is more diverse than 20 years ago. The Ede festival in Roundhay Park was a good event to start to mix different groups up, celebrate and discover new cultures. The Leeds Museum has run some photo stories in the past eg. Chapeltown story in photos. I get busy in life/work so am sure I’ve missed lots of other initiatives.

    What would I want out of a Cultural Strategy?
    – structure that is known and shared to then fit events/organisations onto
    maybe different initiatives:
    • Stories of Leeds
    • People of Leeds
    • Artists of Leeds
    • Art Workshops/Classes of Leeds
    • Transformation Stories – good things that happen (to people) here through culture
    • Celebrate and build our Art History – some great artists studied here

    A cultural strategy would overlap with an innovation strategy for the city for me… that may include community engagement and utilise people’s skills and assets.

    I’m not sure if this is what you were asking for… but this came to mind.

    • leannebuchan leannebuchan

      Hi Kathryn this is great, thanks for sharing all the different elements of your culture. Definitely think that culture and innovation are linked and should be either connected strategies or all part of the same conversation.

  2. There’s no little box for curly hair! Other than that this is super cute :)

  3. Jane Collins Jane Collins

    My culture is dance, theatre, art. I want to be surprised, engaged, thrilled by my culture. I want to feel pleasure, emotion and thankful to be here to experience my culture.

  4. emma dolan emma dolan

    Which is the ART etc icon?? The spray can?

    • leannebuchan leannebuchan

      Hi Emma, we have the spray can or the portrait/painting icon for visual arts but let us know if you think something else works better

  5. Jasvinder Blogs Jasvinder Blogs

    I feel that the people at LVAF and East Street Arts have been going long enough to have strong links with their artists. Its possible they could be consulted. Also, is this just people who work or are well know in some circles ? I feel that more comments could come from local community centres who host a mini event.

    Culture to the people of Leeds is how they feel they fit as one cog in their local area. The language so far indicates there is only one type of age or ability. For example, a blind person can’t see this site.

    • leannebuchan leannebuchan

      Hi Jasvinder

      It’s open to everyone but we recognise that not everyone finds it easy to comment on blog posts or write their own, either through disability, lack of skills, lack of confidence or lack of inclination to be involved in this way. We’re working with lots of groups behind the scenes and will write up some of those posts soon e.g., we’ve met with Leeds Older People’s Forum and hosted a few focus groups with Age UK, we’re talking to faith groups and disability groups and we’re talking to departments across Leeds City Council. That said, it’s unlikely that we will reach everyone through our own networks so if there are specific groups you know of we can definitely meet with them and find the best way to include their voices on here. East Street Arts have been involved and are supportive but we haven’t approached LVAF yet.

      We’re trying to make sure it isn’t just people who are known or from certain circles and also present a range of voices from across the different communities of Leeds – there’s lots going on and we’re a bit behind with out blogs showing this. The language we’ve used tries to be accessible and not use jargon, but if it’s not working we can easily change it.

  6. Jenny Foster Jenny Foster

    Totally love what you are doing here.
    I’m just thinking, and talking to a colleague, can anyone comment on here about their views ? I know there are tons of people in south Leeds and East Leeds that would contribute. Its just depends on who you want view from.
    Thank you, and sorry, i know its the wrong place to write this possibly.

    • leannebuchan leannebuchan

      Hi Jenny – don’t be sorry it’s exactly the place to write whatever you want :)
      Yes anyone can comment and the more the merrier. The more voices we can have on the website the greater relevance it will have to a wider audience. If websites aren’t their thing I can meet with nay groups who want to talk about it in more detail and then I or you can write up their views to share on here.

  7. Frank Frank

    Good to see the city is listening but can we please recognise the cultural fabric that our city’s life is played out against, namely our built heritage. Why for instance don’t we have signs directing people to our historic core, our Great Victorian City! Why do we have promotional videos showing a day in the life in Leeds that include over 40 heritage assets, and yet no specific mention is made of them? The buildings, the archaeology, the stories are our background and our focal points and we must not forget them. Perhaps we can start by celebrating places like Stank Hall Barn that has been used and abused over the years by LCC but could be an absolute gem in our crown.

  8. burnsfro burnsfro

    Love it – but yeah we need a big hair icon! :)

  9. James James

    Nice to see that reading is included. It often gets missed out. When I first came to Leeds there was something like 5 second-hand bookshops on Hyde Park Corner alone – as well as two second hand record shops. You could actually spend an afternoon out at Hyde Park Corner just browsing. I spent most of my student grant in those shops! It’s a shame that this is barely a second hand bookshop anywhere in Leeds that I know of, anymore, let alone just at Hyde Park Corner.

    • Lisa Lisa

      Agreed! Just a lack of bookshops in general – e.g. nothing in Trinity beyond clothes and jewellery stores… Disappointing.

  10. I couldn’t find an icon which recognisably represented museums and heritage. Should definitely be there.

  11. My 2p worth …
    A cultural strategy will have ambitions:
    – to empower the myriad cultures within our city to decide for themselves how they want to participate in / promote / celebrate their particular culture
    – around how the various cultures can cooperate to the advantage of all citizens, being proactive in managing potential areas of misunderstanding and conflict

    It will also understand the difference between espoused, enacted and reported cultures and have a transparent and probably independent means of assessing progress against agreed objectives.

    Finally it should be lean / agile: not over-engineered but rather just enough to get started, and then emergent within the broadest/smallest possible set of constraints.

    … and very finally a shout out for the amazing edible produce growing culture we have, and that we could do far more to celebrate !

  12. Jan Baxter Jan Baxter

    This is a great way to get people sharing and talking. I work in an environment that brings me into contact with a wide variety of cultures and interests, Leeds has at least as much variety as London or any other large city. Leeds has something for everyone all the time and some wonderful events/themes/exhibitions throughout the year. It’s a vibrant city, made richer by the people living and working here.

    I couldn’t see an icon for Cooking, and I’m sure it would be welcome!

  13. Love the approach but couldn’t find an icon for museums and heritage as I don’t think buildings do it justice and we have some amazing places that celebrate the creative and technological contribution that Leeds people have made to the world – Thackray Medical Museum a personal favourite. For me the cultural strategy celebrates the past and provides a vision for the future outlining everything that needs to happen to realise it.

  14. Rachel Rachel

    Great idea! I also agree there should be a more distinct symbol for museums and/or cultural heritage sites.

  15. Michael Michael

    It would be really nice to see more icons that relate to children / parenting and family life and play, this is such a huge chunk of so many people’s culture, really needs to be covered as by not having an icon it feels its not acknowledged (which I know it is)

  16. Stephen Stephen

    Culture? What a big question.

    Opera and sport. Birdwatching and amateur orchestras. Youth music. Schools filled with young people empowered and encourage to think for themselves and create their own worlds. Diversity. Inclusiveness. Lifelong learning.

    A strategy?

    Able to be changed as the world changes. Starting from the needs of participants and users – artists, children, audiences, communities. Covering every corner of Leeds – not just the prestige venues. Giving respect to the city’s expertise in planning, delivery and strategy. Not reinventing a wheel.

  17. Annelise Annelise

    The ‘culture icons’ appear to be somewhat oriented towards students and twenty-somethings.
    I feel there is a big difference between observing something and participating – art and a crafts, theatre, dance or culinary arts. And in particular there are cultural things that may undertaken alone but are very different if done in groups – for example, singing in a choir or playing an instrument in an orchestra.
    Where is the diversity of age and ability?

    • Leanne Buchan Leanne Buchan

      Hi Annelise thanks for your comments. We are adding a few new icons shortly base don feedback which include, museums, crafts and cooking.If you have specific ones that you would like to see we can add these too.

      Your point about group activities is an important one. For many of the people we have spoken to so far their biggest cultural activity is just being with others. This might be socialising at a community centre or bar or it could be walking groups, choirs and orchestras. We’ll have a think about how best to represent group activities in the icons list.

  18. I’d like to see a cultural strategy that embraces big visionary themes and values such as tolerance, generosity, environmental leadership. Within such themes everything else fits – so:
    Public art is playful, explicitly diverse in its influences and not precious.
    Public buildings are more inviting – enticing us – welcoming us in rather than making us hesitate.
    Cycles are prioritised over cars in many parts of the city.
    Arts institutions sign up to a manifesto for the city that reminds us all that the public and communities have ownership the buildings not the incumbent managers.
    More green spaces evolve north and south of the river.
    Basketball courts in every park – a cheap way to get us all active.
    An open statement from the city that our culture is global, that our spirit is European, that our voice is Leeds.
    So a thematic approach that sets the tone and ambition for culture in the city.

  19. Margaret Margaret

    The word Culture itself separates our society. Some people do not associate themselves moving in that scenario. They do not know what the word means.
    They are less confident and feel that they do not belong within the circle that is Culture. Greater support and outreach has to be given to reaching out to those people who feel alienated from Culture. We have to ensure we are not elitist and involve more people to experience and share the rich and diverse Culture in our City,
    We have to support others to be able to engage by going out to minority groups rather than expecting them to come to us.
    Arts and Minds and Artlink display good practice to facilitate this in Leeds.
    Participants in their activities, within the whole gamut of Cultural themes, gain more than just confidence but a sense of being and belonging to their community.
    In the preparation unto and through 2023 the opportunity should be taken to inform and widen the promotion of Cultural Engagement into schools, mental health and all peoples so that all citizens benefit from this opportunity to widen their engagement and find what Culture means to them.

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