Two DARE Cultural Fellowships provided talented emerging practitioners with the opportunity to develop their craft.

This prestigious two-year Fellowship, within the University of Leeds’ Academy of Cultural Fellows and in association with Opera North, recognises the importance of the contribution of talented young arts practitioners to our cultural life.

The award, funded by the Opera North Future Fund, allows the Fellow to explore, create, share and present their work through lively interaction with our organisations’ creative and intellectual resources.

The 2013-15 Fellowship was awarded to Stage Designer and Visual Artist Becs Andrews on the theme of Scenography. In recognition of the emergence of new approaches and innovations in the field of scenic design and digital performance, Becs sought to create work that integrates traditional visual languages of the stage with digital arts aesthetics, processes and techniques.

Described by artist Laurence Payot as “…visionary, with instinctive feelings about what it is to be alive and feel the invisible energies that makes us who we are…”, Becs collaborated with scientists and musicians to create installations, film-work, performances and photographic essays. This included Phase Revival: An Optical Harmonica which drew crowds of over 6000 when exhibited at Leeds Light Night; Gold Dust: Of Memory and Light, which was selected for The Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition 2015; and Songs of Experience with Bradford District Care Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad was awarded the first DARE Cultural Fellowship in 2010.  The role allowed her to develop as a composer as well as collaborating with Opera North on community music and theatre projects.

“I look back on my DARE fellowship as one of the turning points of my composing career. Being able to concentrate on writing for two years, and having access to the wealth of knowledge and experience at Leeds University and Opera North was incredibly valuable, artistically and personally.” Cheryl Frances-Hoad DARE Cultural Fellow 2010-12.

Cheryl’s work as a Fellow included composing two new operas: Amy’s Last Dive with DARE PhD student Dr Adam Strickson, and ‘Two Weeks of Autistic Bedtimes’ with Dr Stuart Murray.  She has released recordings of the multiple works she wrote whilst a Fellow, has won numerous industry awards and recently composed ‘Beyond the Night Sky’, a commission to celebrate the 75th birthday of Professor Stephen Hawking.


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