This year has been a wonderful year for Compass Live Art, full of diverse and unique projects! From performing inside our audiences homes, to re-mapping the city of Leeds on walking tours, and beginning to plan our 2024 Festival, we’ve had a lot going on…

So, we thought what better way to end the year than with a 2023 Round-up? 

Photos – Top left: Illustration by Alyce Wood as part of our Collaborate research project with Centre for Cultural Value / Top right: A picture taken from our project Museums In People’s Homes by Joshua Sofaer. Taken by JMA Photography / Bottom left: A film camera photo from our residency project Walk Me There by Alisa Oleva / Bottom right: A photo from the documentary process of our residency project Low Carbon Chinatown X Leeds. 


In February we had the pleasure of welcoming three new trustees to the board: Sam Day, Leah Francis and Wendy Denman. We also celebrated Manpreet Dhadda who took on the role of our chair. 

Here’s what Manpreet has to say about her first year being chair with Compass:

"I've been a trustee with Compass for three years now, spending the last year as Chair. I'm incredibly proud to be part of such a skilled, diverse, and imaginative board - each of our trustees has embedded the Compass vision into their own work, and we're so lucky that we get to bolster such a unique and visionary organisation. One of my favourite things to do has been introducing my family, friends, and colleagues to Compass--seeing their thinking faces form as they consider what to write at Citizens Advise, their own memories being shared as they reflect on how the threads of food and ancestral identity intertwine in HUNGRY GHOSTS, and taking a moment to listen and contemplate the sheer impact of modern loneliness in Pick Me Up (& hold me tight). I'm constantly wowed by the creativity, dedication, agility, and growth of each member of our core team as well as our artists, freelancers, and volunteers. I really think we set the bar for socially relevant and engaging live arts practice, that is rooted in co-production and strives to maintain the integrity of community and artist identities. I'm hugely looking forward to how we continue to embed socially and culturally relevant topics into live art, and foster career paths and access into the arts for people of all backgrounds and experiences."​

We also made the exciting announcement of who would be working with us for our residency projects this year! To find more about how Rhiannon, Noam, Alisa and Ling got on make sure to keep reading. 

March – May: 

March saw the return of our 2022 Festival project Leeds Sauce, as part of Leeds 2023. The project had its’ own pop-up shop in Leeds Trinity over a weekend in March and included a new additional solo project by Freddie Yauner: Flavours of FFS.

In May we kicked off the first of our residency projects with The White Noise Factory by Rhiannon Armstrong. The White Noise Factory is an evolving set of music and sound collaborations, and a performance project designed to share those collaborations with audiences. 

To read more about these months, please click on the drop down bars below.  

As part of Leeds 2023 Leeds Sauce had their very own pop-up shop in Leeds Trinity over a weekend in March. Leeds Sauce is a project created by Popeye Collective when they asked the question: ‘What is the flavour of Leeds?’

After two years of research the sauce became a rhubarb ketchup made with intercepted forced rhubarb collected with Bramley Elderly Action in Pudsey, sugar infused white rose petals picked with primary school kids in Headingley, and vinegar made with beer from every pub on the Otley Run. It also includes ginger inspired by an archeological dig on the side of the Tetley’s Brewery, and the salt was collected door to door from communities around the city.

For this pop-up shop, Popeye Collective’s Freddie Yauner collaborated with Leeds University’s School of Food Science & Nutrition and created a new work called Flavours of a FFS; which looked at the challenges facing our global food systems due to climate, biodiversity loss and commercial pressures.  

Flavours of FFS was a sensory experience where visitors could smell the different aspects of our failing food system whilst contemplating the complexity of the topics. Flavours included to smell were cow burps, tractor fuel and endless wheat.  

To find out more about Leeds Sauce and Flavours of FFS, please follow the link here.

The White Noise Factory is an evolving set of music and sound collaborations, and a performance project designed to share those collaborations with audiences. It comes from a desire to make something that privileges sensory meaning-making over intellectual meaning-making.

Rhiannon brought a collection of looped sounds with them to Leeds, all created in collaboration with young people for whom language is not a primary means of communication. Sounds were made using their mouths, instruments, and everyday objects like straws, paper and wheelchairs. With the support of both Compass and Horizon, Rhiannon was able to spend a few days at Sheaf Street with local DJ and sound artist Sayang and designer Sascha Gilmour, exploring how a listening journey and environment might be crafted using light, vibration, curtains and spatial arrangement, and live remixing.

To find out more about The White Noise Factory, please follow the link here.

Photos – Top left: Our three trustees who started this year – Sam Day, Leah Francis and Wendy Denman / Top right and bottom left: Photos taken from the Leeds Sauce/Flavours of FFS pop-up shop. Taken by Jemma Mickleburgh. / Bottom right: A photo of Rhiannon Armstrong and their collaborators Lucy and Sam experimenting with creating sounds sensorily during The White Noise Factory residencyTaken by Jemima Yong

June – August: 

What a summer!

The end of June saw the start of the successful Museums In People’s Homes tour around Leeds.

Throughout July, residency artist Noam Youngrak Son completed their micro-residency Towards a Posthuman Idea of Race.

We also opened up applications for our 2024 Festival. This year we received the most amount of project proposals in Compass Live Art history! We are so grateful to everyone who applied, it was wonderful to hear about so many exciting ideas for projects from such a wide range of artists! We have now selected the final artists we will be working with for Compass Festival 2024. Check back next year to find out more… 

Lastly to finish the summer in August was Alisa Oleva’s residency project Walk Me There. 

To find out more about all these wonderful projects, please click on the drop down bar below. 

Museums in People’s Homes is by artist Joshua Soafer. The project involves a mobile museum which houses 14 different artworks, each representing a collection and collector Joshua had met during the development of the project. Using a variety of materials and processes, objects which sometimes had little to no monetary value were transformed into museum standard artefacts, worthy of the high value we should place on people, their stories and personal collections. The museum was made with Plaey and moved house to house, with Joshua as the receptionist, curator and guide. 

The museum was loved by all who hosted a performance in their homes. Below is a quote from one of the hosts about their experience…

“Just wanted to say a very big thank you for such a special and uplifting experience. The Museums in People’s Homes is fantastic. I feel incredibly honoured to have enjoyed this experience with my friends at my home.” – L Morland 

The museum itself, is currently being housed at our Compass office and we can assure you it’s as welcome here as it was across all the houses of Leeds. We are seeking a forever home for it and are in the middle of some exciting discussions regarding its permanent residence. 

If you are interested in learning more about Museum’s In People’s Homes, please follow the link to the project page here. 

Noam states that during their mirco-residency they explored ‘how the idea of race can be meaningfully extended into a more-than-human status.’

Here is some more of what they had to say: 

‘The entry point for this exploration is melanin, the pigment widely known to be present in human skin and determining skin color. However, it is also present in many other species, including plants. Due to its resilient property as a polymer, melanin works as “the technology of resistance” in various ways. A slice of apple turning brown by being exposed to oxygen is an everyday example of occurrence of plant melanin, which protects the apple from the damage. 

It is “the Science” that racializes nonhuman bodies by transporting violence through scientific signifiers. For instance, the majority of knowledge produced by humans about plant melanin comes from white-consumerist intentions to prevent fruits and vegetables from turning brown, as browned fruits cannot be sold. This resulted in various methods to inhibit browning, including heat treatment, cold treatment, oxygen elimination, irradiation, acidification, antioxidants, and even genetic modifications. This technology is a part of the global assemblage of logistics through which countless racialized and nonhuman bodies are exploited.

I attempted to collect melanin from browned apples in my domestic kitchen. However, using the technology accessible in that environment, melanin was inseparable from other substances in the apples, such as sugar, making the outcome very sticky. This, once again, reminded me of the viscosity of the racial assemblage. I managed to print the diagram based on the concepts described using the ink.’ 

The diagrams Noam made can be seen below. 

To hear more about this residency and Noam’s work, please follow the link to a short video here

Our third residency artist Alisa Oleva carried out her residency project Walk Me There in August. Throughout her time in Leeds she went on one-to-one walks, hosted two group “walkshops” and discussed ideas of “place-making”, which led to some beautiful memories being made with the people and city of Leeds. 

Each one-to-one walk began with Alisa inviting her walking partner to pick a starting point which reminded them of their hometown, or a place in Leeds where they felt at home. They would then walk together for as long as her walking partner wanted to. Alisa says ‘some people just wandered, others had an exact route they wanted to follow.’ The conversations that would arise from the walks revolved around ideas of creating new identities in a new place, or how you bring your old identity to a new place as well as how you build a relationship with a new place and make it your own. Each walk involved photography with an Instax camera and always ended with some small treats. 

To find out more about Walk Me There and Alisa’s practice, please follow the link here. 

Photos – Top left: A picture taken from Museums In People’s Homes. Taken by JMA Photography / Top right and bottom left: Photos captured by Noam showing their printing process and the outcomes from their micro-residency / Bottom right: A film photo taken by Alisa as part of her residency project Walk Me There. 

September – October: 

In September we hosted the final meal for Ling Tan’s residency project Low Carbon Chinatown X Leeds. Originally commissioned by Kakilang, an East and Southeast Asian arts organisation based in London, Low Carbon Chinatown is a project which collaborates with ESEA community members, food writers, chefs, and data scientists to create low carbon versions of traditional Chinese dishes.

Then, with the residency projects coming to an end in October, it was time to publish the research project Compass had been working on with Centre for Cultural Value and York St John University using their Collaborate funding. 

To find out more, please click on the drop down bar below. 


Throughout Low Carbon Chinatown x Leeds, Ling worked with Lychee Red Chinese Seniors Group, Mafwa Theatre’s Lincoln Greeners and a collection of ESEA participants of all ages who were keen to learn how to decrease the carbon footprint of their cooking. 

The final meal took place on a cosy Saturday afternoon where the group gathered at Patrick Studios and community chef and project participant Mr Chiu took to the kitchen to prepare his version of the group dish they’d all been trying to make low carbon versions of: salt and pepper prawns.

After second, third, even fourth helpings of the dish, the conversation naturally gave way to a collective reflection on Ling’s residency project. It was clear that the project yielded different learning opportunities for each person. 

To find out more about Low Carbon Chinatown X Leeds, please visit the project page here.

In 2022, Compass Live Art began a research project alongside researchers Matthew Reason and Lauren Hall from York St John University, after being awarded a Collaborate research grant from the Centre for Cultural Value. Collaborate projects are driven by the real-world questions of the cultural sector. They provide opportunities to test new methodologies, explore and more deeply understand cultural practice and to communicate cultural value more effectively. 

We were interested in exploring what co-creation means to us, as well as the artists and participants we are working with now and have worked with in the past. Together, through a series of workshops, discussions and walking interviews, we answered questions surrounding co-creation and the idea of ‘Making With’.

To find out more about this research project, please follow the link here.


To finish off this year, we’ve been busy planning our 2024 festival! Our young producers Jennie and Charlotte wrote a few words on their reflections on that process so far… 

"Working alongside Jennie to plan the 2024 Festival has been so fun! I am so excited to see it all come to fruition over the next few months! Coming from a dance and performance background myself, I am typically drawn to projects in which I can see my own practice, however, I have really enjoyed the sometimes opposite approach Jennie and I had to selecting projects. Her worldly knowledge has been so refreshing to work with and I’m really looking forward to next year!"

"Charlotte and I have finished the year by beginning the programming of Compass Festival 2024. My own interests lie in Virtual Reality and the diverse forms that immersive and participatory storytelling can take. Combined with Charlotte’s wealth of knowledge from the world of performance and astute eye for relevant, loud, and fresh talent, together we hope that we’ve curated a programme that is eclectic, exciting, and makes steps towards reimagining what a “festival” can be. I truly can’t wait to see what 2024 will have in store”.

Photos – Top left: Photo taken of behind the scenes of the documentary making for Low Carbon Chinatown X Leeds / Top right: A photo taken of the Low Carbon Chinatown X Leeds participants during their second workshop with Mafwa Theatre’s Lincoln Greeners / Bottom left: Illustration by Alyce Wood as part of our Collaborate research project with Centre for Cultural Value  / Bottom right: Charlotte and Jennie on their study visit to Birmingham in December 

That’s a wrap on 2023! 

We’re so grateful for all the amazing artists we’ve been able to meet, work with and support this year.

Next year is our 7th year of Compass Festival and we’re so excited to share it with you! More on that soon, but for now we’d like to wish all our lovely collaborators, audiences and artists a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

See you in 2024! 

Team Compass🧭