Video Interview for Times Higher Education Awards Knowledge Exchange Initiative of the Year

Alasdair Cameron, CEO at ARMA UK and a member of the THE Awards judging panel, speaks with Loraine Leeson, researcher and associate professor in social practice in the Visual Arts Department at Middlesex University, about Active Energy, a six-week artist commission that became a twelve-year project in collaboration with The Geezers, a group of East London retirees, looking at the forgotten potential of tidal power. Active Energy won the Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year category at the THE Awards 2022.

The Art of Healing follow-on: Impact and Engagement

December 2022

The Art of Healing team have been successful in raising follow-on funds from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to take further afield the process initiated with children and teachers at Dolphin School Pulwama, Kashmir in 2020/21.

Following evaluation of the first project, this next stage will enhance its value and benefit through work with other communities elsewhere in the region and extend into other areas of conflict. The project is led by Dr. Michael Buser of University of West of England.

Creating a difference – a role for the arts in addressing child wellbeing in conflict-affected areas, an article written by the team and outlining the project process and findings, has been published in Arts & Health journal.

Active Energy wins Times Higher Education Award

The Active Energy project has won the Times Higher Education award 2022 for Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year.

On the evening of 17th November 2022 at a ‘glittering’ ceremony at the Hilton London Metropole, members of The Geezers Club accompanied Loraine Leeson, Professor Ann Light (who instigated the project in 2007) and Middlesex University’s Director of Knowledge Transfer Professor Mark Gray to accept this prestigious award. Described as the ‘Oscars of higher education’, these annual awards showcase the best in higher education and in this case paid tribute to a twelve-year arts-led project driven by the Geezers’ interest and enthusiasm in ensuring that renewable energy can support the lives of older people in riverside communities.

The Geezers have had a special interest in the development of tidal power, which is not subject to the vagaries of wind or sun and eminently suitable for an island nation with its many tidal rivers. It was the proximity of the Thames and the fact that older people can often not afford to heat their homes that initially inspired the Geezers to embark on this journey with artist Loraine Leeson and others to see where it would lead. Not only has much been achieved, but the value of the initiative has now recognised with the value it deserved.

Arts in Regeneration: from creative community-led planning to institutional instrumentalism in East London

Blog for the research project Spaces of HOPE: The Hidden History of Community Led Planning in the UK.


How can images and aesthetics support community led campaigns? In this blog, Loraine Leeson draws on her experiences with the Docklands Community Poster Project, describing how certain images can become a powerful ‘currency’ for communicating issues and arguments to wider audiences.

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Ecoart in Action: Fostering Social and Ecological Change

6.30pm Sunday 22nd May online

Loraine Leeson talks about her chapter “Active Energy: Bringing Local Knowledge into the Public Realm” for the recently published book Ecoart in Action.

Register for the event here

The event provided an overview of Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities. Compiled from 67 members of the Ecoart Network. Ecoart in Action stands as a field guide for ecoart practice. It provides adaptable strategies for engaging a wide range of learners within a variety of learning environments.

Recording of this presentation by Loraine Leeson and other authors of the book can be found here.

Chapter on Active Energy for Ecoart in Action February 2022

February 1st 2022 saw publication by the Ecoart artist network of Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities.

Loraine Leeson’s chapter ‘Active Energy: Bringing Local Knowledge into The Public Realm’ takes the Active Energy project as a case study of arts and pedagogy.

The arts are an excellent means of celebrating, communicating and consolidating ideas, but artists do not know everything and can work to greater effect with experts in other fields. These might be local people who are in touch with the needs of their community, professionals in other disciplines, or groups and institutions that can offer contextual knowledge. Collaboration creates insight, where each witnesses a multiplication of their own set of skills and experience when interfacing with others as part of a team. A function of the artist’s role in these situations is to nurture and facilitate this process in a way that allows for the diversity of expectations and enables each party, including themselves, to achieve their goal.

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Kalakar Qasbah and the Art of Healing

Webinar on the activities and findings of a recent Arts and Humanities/Global Challenges research project that has been supporting child wellbeing in areas of conflict through the arts

9:00 am to 12:00 pm UK (2:30 pm to 5:30 pm IST)

Wednesday 19th January 2022

Feel free to dip in and out… but please register in advance as the direct zoom link will be sent to registered attendees closer to the date.
 The event will explore how the arts are being used to support child wellbeing in a school in Kashmir, India. A series of short presentations will narrate the processes and outcomes of the recently concluded project The Art of Healing, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council project. Discussions will be led by academics, artists, and local stakeholders who will provide insights into the role of the arts and art therapy to support healing and mental wellbeing for young people living in conflict-affected areas. Followed by discussion.
Art of Healing website:

Life Support: Forms of Care in Art and Activism

Glasgow Womens Library, 14th August – 16th October 2021

How have individuals and collectives imagined alternative ways of living and organising? Life Support considers how artists and activists have addressed and challenged experiences of care, health, education, housing and home life.

The exhibition includes materials from the Docklands Community Poster Project  originally shown in If You Lived Here…, an exhibition curated by artist Martha Rosler at Dia Art Foundation, New York 1989-90.