Dr Loraine Leeson is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, teaching Art Practice and the Community. She is visual artist and director of the arts charity cSPACE, specialising in community-based practice. Recent focus has been on issues of renewable energy in the urban environment and the role that older people can play in the development of new technologies. Loraine is particularly known for her visual work in support of the campaigning communities of London's Docklands in the 1980's, and her later use of digital media and the Internet to explore collective creativity. A retrospective exhibition celebrating thirty years of her practice toured Berlin, London, Toronto and Dublin 2005-08, while The Catch public artwork involving three hundred local children was voted a London 2012 Landmark. Other recent work involving communities has been recognised by a Media Trust Inspiring Voices award and an Olympic Inspire Mark. In 2012 Loraine was resident artist at the Mattress Factory museum of installation in Pittsburgh, where she contributed to the Feminist and… exhibition curated by Professor Hilary Robinson
Ongoing project since 2008 involving interdisciplinary, international and intergenerational knowledge transfer and citizen-led innovation through creative arts process. The greater life experience of older people is rarely a factor in the development of new technologies. However over five years a group of senior men in East London have raised and answered important questions regarding the possibility of powering of London with tidal energy generated by the flow of the River Thames. This arts and engineering collaboration has led to a turbine-driven lightwork on an AgeUK roof, exhibitions in the UK and USA, and a new design of tidal turbine tested in the River Thames close to Parliament.
UK partners: cSPACE arts organisation, Bow Boys School, AgeLink Plus, Sustainability Research institute, University of East London, SPACE Studios. US partners: Mattress Factory museum of installation, Northside Senior Center, Alzheimer's Disease Research Centre, University of Pittsburgh.
The Young Person's Guide to East London, 2008 - 12
Online guide and free newspaper produced with 400 teenagers across five Olympic host boroughs. A free newspaper version was distributed during the 2012 Olympics. Recipient of Olympic Inspire Mark and Inspiring Voices awards. Project currently extending to create a global youth network and facilitate intercultural communication between participants.
Transductores: Collective Pedagogies and Spatial Politics, 2009/10
Group exhibition, Centro Jose Guerrero, Granada. Installation comprising large-scale photo-mural, photographs and video. Related catalogue chapter + conference presentation.
Reversible Actions, 2008/10
Group exhibition, ACVIC Centre d'ArtsContemporànies, Vic, Catalonia.
Art for Change - Loraine Leeson: Works from 1975-2005, toured 2005-08
Solo retrospective touring Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin, SPACE Gallery London and A Space Gallery Toronto, City Library Dublin. Photomurals, photography, posters, video, artefacts and textual documentation. Catalogue: Mörsch, C. et al, 2005, Art for Change – Loraine Leeson, Works from 1975–2005, NGBK, Berlin.
Real Estate, 2005
Group exhibition, ICA London. Photo-mural and photographic sequence.
Evolving planet in cyberspace constructed by over a thousand children from four countries to create a virtual world.
The Catch, 2002
Gateway public artwork for Barking town centre commissioned by LB Barking and Dagenham.Involved 300 local children and mentoring between university and college students. Voted a 2012 London Landmark and commemorated by an Olympic pin badge.
Leeson specialises in the teaching of art in the public domain, including community-based and social practice. In 2010-11 she was Fulbright Scholar in Residence at University of Washington, invited to help the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences achieve greater community engagement through their arts courses, where she also supervised and examined on the MFA programme. She has previously served as external examiner at Middlesex University and taught at many universities throughout the UK.
My research centres on community-based, participatory and collaborative art practice and I have particular interest in how the creative arts can help to unlock locally held expertise and bring it into the public domain.
I am interested in supervising doctoral students undertaking research in any of the above fields, particularly where their approach is practice-led.
Leeson, Loraine (2017) Our Land: creative approaches to the redevelopment of London’s Docklands. International Journal of Heritage Studies . ISSN 1352-7258 (Accepted/In press)
Leeson, Loraine (2016) The Docklands Community Poster Project and other creative approaches to regeneration. In: Top down meets bottom up in post-industrial regeneration: Good practice and challenges in participatory approaches to community engagement in city planning, 20-21 Jan 2017, Riverside Museum, Glasgow.
Leeson, Loraine and Duman, Alberto (2016) Art practice and the community. In: Art as Social Action. Allworth Press, NY, New York. (Accepted/In press)
Leeson, Loraine (2016) Active Energy. In: Feeding the Insatiable: a creative summit, 09-11 Nov 2016, Dartington Hall, Devon, England.
Leeson, Loraine (2016) The art of the state. In: The World Transformed, 23-27 Sep 2016, The Black-e, Liverpool.
Dr. Leeson has held over £600,000 in funded grants and contracts in the last ten years. Funders include the National Lottery, Arts Council of England, Western Riverside Environmental Fund, Royal Docks Trust and Jack Petchey Foundation, among others.