Thursday, 31 January 2013

Take a walk on the wild side with new Leeds photography exhibition

Caption: The new 'Natural Beauty' exhibition at Leeds City Museum (top picture), which features images of objects in the natural history collection including a Greater Rhea and a pinned butterfly. The shots were taken by photographer Sara Porter (pictured above)

A new two-part exhibition showcasing the beauty of nature through photography begins at Leeds City Museum tomorrow.

Running from Friday 1 February until Sunday 30 June, the first part of the free exhibition entitled ‘Natural Beauty’ sees over 60 high-resolution images taken by professional photographer Sara Porter go on display at the museum off Millennium Square.

All of the photos taken are of objects found in the Leeds museums and galleries natural history collection, with the photographer given exclusive access to over 800,000 objects and producing never-seen-before images focusing on eggs, insects, taxidermy and skulls.

The display, which will be accompanied by photography masterclasses and workshops, also acts as the launch for the second part of the exhibition – inspiring photographers of all ages to explore wildlife in Leeds and beyond and entering a wildlife photography competition where the leading images will be shown as the second half of ‘Natural Beauty’ next year.

The competition is open to all ages with winners and runners-up to be selected for those 15 and under and 16 and over in seven categories: Beautiful Yorkshire, Leeds Wildlife, Wild Yorkshire, Animal Behaviour, British Wildlife, World Wildlife and Beautiful Botany.

As well as seeing their photos go on show in Leeds City Museum, prizes on offer for the winners and runners-up will include camera equipment, vouchers and having an image of their choice produced as a high-quality print or canvas.

Full details of the competition along with application forms can be downloaded from, with entries opening on Friday 1 February and closing on Friday 27 September.

A panel will then select the leading images in each category which will be chosen to go on display for the second part of the exhibition from January to July 2014.

To accompany the first part of the exhibition displaying her work, Royal Photographic Society member Sara Porter will also host four photography masterclasses in Leeds to be held at Leeds City Museum and Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills.

The sessions will take place in March, May and June and will be open to photographers of all ages and abilities covering the following topics: how to compose the perfect photograph, tips and tricks on how to improve photography technique, and exploring how best to use natural light in photography.

The sessions are free but the limited places available are expected to fill quickly so to make sure of a place follow the booking instructions at

Leeds City Museum curator of exhibitions Helen Langwick said:

“Natural Beauty is in two parts, with the first part showing off our fantastic collections through Sara Porter’s stunning images. Sara has done a brilliant job – I think people will be amazed when they see the photos and how cleverly they are presented. This exhibition is a fusion of natural science and art.

“The display is perfect for inspiring people of all ages to come along to the exhibition, attend Sara’s masterclasses and then go out and have a go themselves. They can then enter their own pictures in the competition for the second part of the exhibition next year. We really want Natural Beauty to be an interactive exhibition that people get involved in and be part of, so we look forward to hopefully receiving a ton of entries as that would be fantastic.”

Photographer Sara Porter said:

"The Leeds Museums Discovery Centre is an Aladdin's cave of fabulous objects, so having the opportunity to photograph even just a small fraction of them was for me a photographer's dream. The main problem was that there was actually too much choice in what to photograph there.

“Hopefully Natural Beauty will encourage people to take the opportunity to visit not only the museum but the discovery centre as well and also inspire them to take part in the photography competition that is running alongside the exhibition."

Natural Beauty is organised by Leeds City Council with support from sponsors CC Imaging, AS Frames, Ark Display Graphics, Dale Photographic and Pictures Plus.

To find out more about Natural Beauty visit the webpage at

To find out more about Leeds City Museum, visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Council retains top 100 spot on equalities index

Leeds City Council has retained its place in the top 100 Stonewall Equality Index this year.

The list showcases Britain’s best employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.

The council has ranked 74 out of 100 alongside large multinational companies such as IBM and MI5 and the Cooperative.

Over 370 organisations made a bid to be featured in the top 100 Stonewall Equality Index with the benchmarks for inclusion being raised. It has been the toughest year yet to enter the coveted top 100 rankings of the campaign group’s annual index.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:

“It is fantastic news that we have remained in the top 100 of the Stonewall Equality index and further cements our work towards making Leeds an LGBT City.

“The fact we remain on this list shows how much hard work is put into making equalities a top priority both by the excellent team leading this work, but also by all our employees whose differences are welcomed and valued in the council.

“The council continues to remain committed to recognising equality within the organisation and ensuring it is at the forefront of what we do."

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive said:

"Every employer in the Top 100 has performed impressively. These results are significant as it’s just ten years since we won vital legal protections for gay people in the workplace. Britain's 1.7 million gay staff and 150,000 gay university students can now confidently use the Index to select a welcoming employer, or look further, safe in the knowledge that they are protected from discrimination."


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Leeds sports pitches available for use at referee's discretion

All Leeds City Council-managed sports pitches are available to return to use this weekend, although due to the wet conditions matches going ahead will be at the referee's discretion.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Temporary closure of Clay Pit Lane postponed


Improvement works to Clay Pit Lane have been postponed. Revised dates for temporary closures to allow completion of the works will be announced soon.


Clay Pit Lane is to be temporarily closed to traffic for improvement works.

The carriageway will be reconstructed to improve the running surface for drivers. As part of the works, crossing facilities for pedestrians will be upgraded too.

On Monday 11 February, there will be single lane closures on the carriageway bringing traffic into the city centre between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

On Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 February the carriageway bringing traffic into the city centre will be closed completely from 7pm and 7am on both days.

The carriageway taking traffic out of the city centre will be closed entirely from 7am on Thursday 14 February through to 9pm on Friday 15 February.

Only the section of Clay Pit Lane in the immediate vicinity of the Leeds Arena will closed with diversions in place and signposted.

The work is the final phase of road closures on Clay Pit Lane as part of a wider improvement programme in preparation for the opening of the Leeds Arena.

Leeds City Council apologises for any inconvenience this causes.


For media enquiries, please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 395 1577