Small performing arts group A Quiet Word joined up with members of Pyramid Arts, a learning disability arts group, and Leeds Museum Discovery centre, to uncover and bring to life the hidden history of people with learning difficulties in Leeds. The project focused on the history of the Leeds Workhouse, Meanwood Hospital and the way the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913 changed the way the authorities in Leeds treated people with learning difficulties.
Assisted by five volunteers and several artists, the nine-month project took a group of 12 people to Leeds Art Gallery and the Thackray Medical Museum to research the topic before proceeding to interview those who remember staying at Meanwood Hospital.
Alison Leeds, from A Quiet World, said: “Working with heritage partners such as the city archives helped us uncover some very moving stories. We hope the project raised the profile of people with learning disabilities in the city and highlighted what they contribute, whilst encouraging people to use the resources on their doorstep and compare the way we live now to the past.”
The project created a map of memories, a book and an exhibition which was showcased in Leeds library and on the 365 Leeds Stories website before embarking on tour.