Interwoven Histories exhibition, 13 October 2017-1 April 2018


MillSpace, Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Canal Rd, Leeds, LS12 2QF
Exhibition: Tuesday 10 October 2017– Sunday 1 April 2018
Opening event: Friday 13 October, 2–5pm.

Opening on Tuesday 10 October at Leeds Industrial Museum, Interwoven Histories makes visible stories and experiences particular to migrant workers in Leeds and their contribution to industry and culture. Referencing the city’s expansive textile and clothing industry and history, the exhibition presents a collage of material to explore the work, lives and representations of migrants (past, present and future).

Part of a three-year Heritage Lottery (HLF) funded project curated by Pavilion, the exhibition is the result of ongoing archival research and conversations with people from across the city. Supported by Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, Interwoven Histories runs until Sunday 1 April 2018.

Interwoven Histories expands narratives around migration and looks at the issues of race, equality and citizenship that inevitably follow. The project addresses a period of time where the initial encouragement of migrant labour into the Britain to reinvigorate the postwar economy, turned into an atmosphere of political and social hostility towards mass immigration.

Cindy Sissokho, Pavilion, commented:

“Migration and labour are subjects that have been debated for decades and are now more relevant than ever, considering the global context we are living in. Hearing the incredible stories of change makers and unearthing archive materials has allowed us to share important narratives that too often go unrecorded."

Christopher Sharp, Assistant Community Curator, Leeds Museums and Galleries, added:

“Workers from overseas are vital to the story of Yorkshire’s textile industries. People tend to be aware of the great industry leaders such as Montague Burton, who moved from Lithuania to Britain in 1900 and set up the famous ‘Burtons’ brand, but less so of the tailors, weavers, and spinners from abroad who worked daily in textile manufacture throughout the twentieth century. This part of the story is currently underrepresented in Leeds Industrial Museum’s collections, which makes Pavilion’s project all the more important.”

Interwoven Histories includes archive photographs, testimonies, independent publications (Chapeltown News, The Other Paper and Leeds Other Paper), and new artworks by the Women’s Group at Meeting Point Leeds, alongside films depicting local industrial life by New Zealand artist Darcy Lange (1946–2005) and rare photographs of Leeds Market during 1960s by Timothy Neat (b.1943).

The exhibition will also be accompanied by a programme of events and screenings. In January 2018 Interwoven Histories will evolve as Japanese composer, performer and sound artist Ryoko Akama develops a newly commissioned work, funded by Leeds inspired, in response to the display.


Image: Colour photograph depicting Ernest Tempest, former owner of Armley Mills and the firm of Bentley & Tempest (centre), ‘Wally’ Gorbun (right) and 'Derek’ (surname unknown) of the carding team. c1960s/ early 1970s prior to run down and closure of Armley Mills.

Credit: Courtesy of Irena Gorbun and Leeds Museums and Galleries. © Leeds City Council.


Forfurther information, images and interviews, please contact Pavilion on +44 (0) 113 343 2718 or email

  • Interwoven Histories exhibition, 13 October 2017-1 April 2018
    Timothy Neat, The Victorian market and the city of Leeds (series) circa 1965-66. Copyright Timothy Neat.