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Leeds' Preservative Party at the Eurocities Awards

Leeds' youth curator group The Preservative Party and their acclaimed exhibition 'Overlooked' were one of a handful of cultural initiatives across Europe shortlisted for this year's prestigious Eurocities Awards. Read here as Jordan Keighley, Leeds Museums & Galleries' Youth engagement Curator and 'R' from the Preservative Party tell about their visit to brussels for the awards ceremony!

Jordan says: The Preservative Party are a group of young volunteers aged 14-24 who over 18 months curated a major exhibition exploring the histories of overlooked people from concept to completion. They set out with one goal, ‘for everyone who comes to Leeds City Museum to see themselves reflected in our galleries.’

At every step the group were determined to involve Leeds’ people and provide a platform to share their stories. They decided on themes, chose objects, researched stories, wrote text, worked with designers, archaeologists, archivists and community partners. They painted the gallery, recorded oral histories, learnt British Sign Language, planned events, delivered outreach sessions, made films, installed objects, laid cases, and dressed mannequins.

They were thrilled to have their hard work recognised at the Eurocities Awards 2023, being shortlisted in the category ‘Young People Co-Creating Spaces’. Most excitingly, this involved a trip to Brussels to attend the awards ceremony and share their pioneering practice on an international scale.

On June 14th Preservative Party member ‘R’ travelled with me to Brussels, representing the Preservative Party and Leeds Museums and Galleries.

'R' adds: I really enjoyed meeting and networking with other people in the cultural sector across Europe. To chat with the judges, members of the European Commission, and other nominees was an amazing opportunity to learn of other people’s practice and make new connections.

I loved the ceremony venue! The Gare Maritime Centre was open, airy, light and accessible, which is very important considering the aims and mission of the Overlooked project.

Soaking in Brussels’ culture was also a massive highlight. The waffles, ice cream and coffee were top notch, and its art galleries and museums were out of this world. We particularly enjoyed visiting the Museum of Musical Instruments. Its innovative audio guide offered interesting and new ways to communicate with audiences and add new layers to the whole experience.

The city was beautiful, and I hope I get to go back soon. I would like to thank the Eurocities Awards 2023 for this important recognition and also thank Leeds Museums and Galleries for supporting the Preservative Party in all that we do.

Please follow the link below to learn more about the Preservative Party’s Overlooked exhibition and the Eurocities Awards 2023:

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