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The University of Leeds has a proud tradition of artistic creativity which stretches back to its earliest days. And at a time when public funding for the arts is being progressively squeezed, gifts to the Making a World of Difference Campaign are continuing that tradition.

Between 1950 and 1980, the Gregory Fellowships brought a diverse group of painters, poets, sculptors and musicians onto campus. The Academy of Cultural Fellows has reinvented this groundbreaking scheme for the 21st Century, breathing new life into a concept which transformed the cultural landscape of campus in the post-war years.

Through this project, and with the support of our donors, we have established a vibrant programme of Fellowships across the arts, supporting talented early-career artists, composers and writers and giving them the time and freedom to create new work, engage with the wider community and inspire our students to excel in their studies.

At the same time, the Doctoral College of the Arts is enabling the most able arts graduates to progress their academic careers at Leeds, while giving a new dimension to the learning experience for our students.

With their studies funded through the campaign, members of the Doctoral College of the Arts work towards a PhD in the arts and humanities while touching the lives of our undergraduate arts students by sharing with them their enthusiasm and intellectual energy. This model for postgraduate study is unique among leading UK universities and a significant selling point in encouraging students to pursue PhD study at Leeds.

Our Cultural Fellowships:

  • Provide precious time for creative practitioners to experiment and concentrate on new work;
  • Offer a rare opportunity for early-career artists to benefit from mentoring by leaders in their field;
  • Facilitate dynamic interaction between practitioners, scholars, students to inform and enrich research, teaching and creative production;
  • Contribute to an exceptional student experience by enabling undergraduates to engage with working artists, creative writers and performers.

Members of the Doctoral College of the Arts:

  • Are supported financially as they are stretched intellectually while studying for their doctorates;
  • Build interaction between undergraduates and researchers – putting research excellence at the heart of the learning experience;
  • Expose students to different ways of thinking, inspiring them to reach beyond their own subject areas, challenge received wisdom and gain the confidence to explore new horizons;
  • Engender creativity, preparing our students to contribute with ingenuity, intellectual ambition and confidence to business, culture, and public life.

Watch our video One Day in Leeds to learn more about the impact of the Campaign:


Making a World of Difference


Literary Archivist
Sarah Prescott

Terry Ingram

Layla Bloom

University of Leeds Art Curator Layla Bloom talks about the generous support – particularly from the Burton family – which has been given to the University's art collection and gallery.

Douglas Caster

Douglas Caster (Electronic and Electrical Engineering 1975) tells how his friendship with a Professor sparked his interest in the arts which has led to his support for Cultural Fellow Helen Mort.

Caroline Starkey

Caroline Starkey was one of the first PhD students to work on the Students as Scholars scheme, the forerunner to the Doctoral College of the Arts. Here she explains the benefits it brought.

Professor David Cooper

The Dean of the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications explains the principle behind the Academy of Cultural Fellows - and why the project is so personally important to him.

Helen Mort

Helen Mort reads her poem Paths, which recounts tells of her arrival in Leeds one wintry night, as the new Cultural Fellow in Poetry.

Cheryl Frances-Hoad

Filmed during rehearsals in the University's Workshop Theatre, Cheryl talks about the opportunities afforded her as Cultural Fellow in Operatic Composition.

Neil Munro

Although long-term donor Neil Munro (Civil Engineering 1961) claims to be "an uncultured engineer", here he talks about his support for the Doctoral College of the Arts.

Liz Pointon

Donor Liz Pointon (General Studies 1968) talks about why she gives her support to the work of the Literary Archivist at the University of Leeds.