The Gregory Fellowships

This symposium aims to bring together scholars, both established and emerging, as well as artists and poets, to share new research and explore the legacy of the Gregory Fellowships at the University of Leeds from 1950-80.

The Gregory Fellowships in the Creative Arts were instituted at the University of Leeds in 1950 under the patronage of Eric Craven Gregory (1888-1959), Chair of Bradford-based printers Percy Lund Humphries.

The underlying ethos of Gregory's scheme was to ‘bring ... younger artists into close touch with the youth of the country so that they may influence it’, and to bring and keep artists in close touch with the community.

Fellowships in Painting, Sculpture and Poetry were established, loosely connected with the Departments of Fine Art and English Literature; a Fellowship in Music was also established to run on a less frequent basis.

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), Herbert Read (1893-1968), Henry Moore (1898-1986) and Professor Bonamy Dobrée (1891-1974) formed the core of the Gregory Fellowships Advisory Committee. The Fellowships encouraged significant artistic and literary activity at the University, as well as more widely in the city of Leeds and local region (especially Wakefield) between 1950 and 1980, the period during which the scheme operated.

This symposium, a collaboration between the University of Leeds, the Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Art Gallery, was conceived in response to this important cultural legacy of the city. The event was originally proposed by art historian Benedict Read (1945-2016), son of Herbert Read, who was one of the original Gregory Fellowships Advisory Committee members.

Important collections of painting and sculpture by Gregory Fellows held by the University, Leeds Art Gallery and further afield have inspired numerous exhibitions over the years; recently this has included exhibitions at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery (University of Leeds) devoted to Kenneth Armitage (1916-2002) in 2017 and Austin Wright (1922-2003) in 2017-18, as well as forthcoming displays planned at the Henry Moore Institute and at Leeds Art Gallery. 

Several displays and events related to the Gregory Fellows in Poetry have also been organised, in particular by the Poetry Centre of the University of Leeds. However, despite these significant projects, there has been no substantial critical, academic attention or publication regarding the Fellowships scheme as whole to date. Thus, the event will be a valuable opportunity for further discourse surrounding the Fellowships and their legacy.

Tickets are for each day are £5 per person, or free to students (must bring valid student ID). Tickets include refreshments and lunch on day two.

Thursday 14 June, 12 - 7:30pm

Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds


Session one: Poetry

 Chair: Prof John Whale (University of Leeds)
12:45Registration, Workshop Theatre foyer
13:05Introduction to the Gregory Fellowships: Prof John Whale
13:10Panel 1
 Dr Emma Trott - 'James Kirkup, Medicine and Metaphor'
 Dr Karl O'Hanlon - '"Not Revie but / Reverdy": Martin Bell's Gregory Fellowship in The City of Dreadful Something'
 Prof John Goodby - '"The frost is all over": Language Politics and Pearse Hutchinson's Leeds'
14:30Tea and coffee break
14:50Panel 2
 Dr Jeremy Poynting - 'Wayne Brown: Publishing, Science and Mentoring'
  Dr Hannah Copley - 'From Fellow to Friend to "old F**K": Jon Silkin's 1958 Fellowship and its lasting impact on Tony Harrison'
 Prof Simon Armitage - 'The Changing Roles of Poets in Universities'
16:10Tea and coffee break
16:30Roundtable - Discussion with Jeffrey Wainwright, Jon Glover, John Barnard, Ronnie Duncan, Doug Sandle and former Gregory Fellows in Poetry Kevin Crossley-Holland and Paul Mills
17:30Celebration of the Gregory Fellows in Poetry with selected readings of their work, with Kevin Crossley-Holland, Paul Mills and Jeffrey Wainwright

Session two: Music

18:15Drinks reception in Clothworkers' Centenary Concert Hall, University of Leeds with music recital of works by Kenneth Leighton, Gregory Fellow in Music

Friday 15 June, 10:00am - 6:30pm

Henry Moore Lecture Theatre, Leeds Art Gallery


Session three: Painting

 Chair: Dr Joanne Crawford (University of Leeds)
10:00Tea and coffee reception
10:30Introduction: Dr Joanne Crawford
10:50Dr Valerie Holman (independent) - 'Peter Gregory, publisher for artists'
11:35Prof. Mike Tooby (Bath Spa University) - 'Trevor Bell and the trajectory of the Fellowships post 1960'
12:20John Walker, Gregory Fellow in Painting, in conversation with Dr Joanne Crawford
13:00Lunch and opportunity to view Leeds Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute exhibitions:

Galleries 1, 2 & 3 and continuing into Leeds Art Gallery: The Sculpture Collections

Gallery 4: A Frieze for Leeds: Imagining a Sculptural Façade for Leeds Art Gallery, 1965-68

Session three - Sculpture

 Chair: Dr Jon Wood (Head of research, Henry Moore Institute)
14:30Introduction: Dr Jon Wood
14:45Dr Margaret Garlake (independent) - 'The First Gregory Fellowship: Reg Butler'

Bill Tucker (artist) on his Gregory Fellowship: Short Film

15:30Prof Jyrki Siukonen (University of Lapland) and Craig Wood in conversation with Nigel walsh (Curator, Modern and Contemporary At, Leeds Art Gallery)
16:15Tea and coffee break
16:30Roundtable discussion - 'The Future of Creative Fellowships'
Chair: Prof Vivien Jones (Chair, Cultural Institute Steering Group)
Simon  Armitage (Poet and Professor of Poetry, University of Leeds)
Christophe de Bezenac (Cultural Institute Fellow in Arts and Science)
Malika Booker (Poet, writer and artist and previously
Kerry Harker (PhD Candidate)
Dominic Gray (Projects Director, Opera North)
Amy Letman (Creative Director, Transform)
Dave Lynch (Cultural Institute Fellow in Arts and Science)
Helen Mort (Poet and previously Douglas Caster Creative Writing Fellow)
17:30 - 18:30Drinks reception


University of Leeds Poetry Centre


Venue details

Thursday 14 June, 12 - 7:30pm

Venue address

The Workshop Theatre
School of English
University of Leeds
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom
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Friday 15 June, 10am - 6.30pm

Venue address

Leeds Art Gallery
The Headrow
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom
T: 0113 247 8256
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Opening times

Monday: Closed
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 3pm

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