In April we loaded up the car with cameras, recording kit, PPE, and a crate of Treens Cornish beer, and for the first time since early 2020, followed our Compass north, to Leeds. If we didn’t live in Cornwall, we’d probably live in Leeds. What started as a small commission for Compass Festival in 2011 (Take me to the Bridge/Porous City) has become a 10 year creative relationship with Compass Live Art, and a love of a city and it’s people that keeps drawing us back. Oh, and the beer is very, very good.
As artists who work with people, it was indescribably joyous to be meeting, walking and talking with friends, participants and partners of the Public House project. It’s been a slow burn, and we’re so grateful to all those involved for their enthusiasm and willingness to share their knowledge, stories, time and expertise with us. One highlight was an afternoon interviewing a small group of ex-Tetley employees in what turned out to be a mini re-union for them, and a fun and fascinating afternoon for us. In fact it was a visit to the “Tetley Pensioners” weekly gathering at Dewsbury Road social club in 2019 when they first told us about the Yorkshire Square fermenting vessel (but that’s a story for another time).
We even got out of the city, with a visit to Otley, wonderfully hosted by Greg Mulholland of Campaign for Pubs and Otley Pub Club, and a trip to Harrogate Brewing Company to interview the inspirational Rachel Auty of Women on Tap.
Special thanks must go to Anna Turzynski, senior producer at Compass Live Art for hosting the residency with such care and positivity, and to Katie Marriott of Nomadic Beers for great hospitality and letting us get in her mash tun for a photo shoot!