Leeds University Library
Photograph of sculpture: Levitating Woman "The Dreamer" by Quentin Bell

Public Art has played a key role on the University of Leeds campus from the controversial Eric Gill First World War Memorial (dedicated 1923) to the recent Sign for Art (Stelae 2014) by Keith Wilson, unveiled in 2014. Public Art on campus enhances the experience of students, staff, local communities and visitors, reflecting the academic research themes and learning activities of University life.  

The stories of individual public art works - their creators, the patrons who supported them and their locations on campus - are all explored in our new Public Art trail. Interpretation is layered, reflecting varied voices, including curators, conservators, poets and creative writers. The importance of one particularly generous and enthusiastic patron of Public Art at Leeds, the businessman and philanthropist Stanley Burton (1914 - 1991), is also highlighted.

Today, the unique campus at Leeds boasts fine red brick academic buildings, as well as villas and domestic terraces, which have been adopted for academic use. There is even a cemetery, St George's Field, in its midst. The campus is carefully curated and programmed, reflecting regular student interventions and community responses, as well as performance inspired by art works - from poetry to dance.

The new Public Art trail will draw your attention to works of Public Art that you may never have previously have noticed. We hope it will trigger reflection, generate empathy, and create new dynamic dialogues.  

The University of Leeds has implemented a Public Art Strategy with a vision for an inspirational, integrated and connected Public Art programme. Its public sculptures are administered through The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, where regular displays reflecting public commissions are programmed. There you can also view outstanding sculpture by Jacob Epstein, Michael Ayrton, F E McWilliam and Denis Mitchell.