The Highrise Project was founded in 2018 by Louise Atkinson and Victoria Kortekaas, in response to our shared experiences of living in social housing. After meeting while working as community artists in Leeds, we decided to combine our artistic skills and interests to work with marginalised communities to help them tell their own stories through art and digital technology. Our approach is deeply rooted in our backgrounds in community outreach and participatory artistic research, as well as our own lived experience. We are committed to highlighting positive stories, challenging stigma, and raising awareness of the difficulties that marginalised communities face, often through no fault of their own. 

We believe passionately in the power of art and technology as tools for learning new skills, building confidence, and creating connections between people. At the core of our work is the principle that communities are best placed to understand and communicate their own needs, aligning with the Asset-Based Community Development framework. Consequently, our focus is on engaging directly with community members to support them in achieving their personal and professional goals. To ensure inclusivity, we integrate ESOL and other supportive measures into our workshops, to make them accessible to everyone.

The Artists

Louise Atkinson is a visual artist, researcher and educator, specialising in the relationship between art and ethnography. She uses a range of media and techniques, including artist books, postcards, drawing, textiles, and sculpture, tailoring her approach to meet the requirements of the project or artwork. Her research and practice involves responding to ideas around people and place, creating work which represents the experiences, associations and memories of a particular area. Through her practice-based research, she also collaborates with other artists and participants to create co-produced installations.

Through producing work in conjunction with others, she has become more interested in socially engaged practice and co-creation. This has been supported by her experience in producing creative interpretation works with participants for galleries including Tate Britain, Graves Gallery, Sheffield, and Leeds City Art Gallery. She also has extensive experience of devising and delivering workshops with a range of participants in both formal and non-formal settings.

Victoria Kortekaas is a visual artist who works with a variety of different media and technologies, including photography, textiles, web design, typography, digital art, and desktop publishing. Her practice highlights and explores issues surrounding economic and social inequalities in working class communities. Through her practice she develops participatory strategies to enable individuals and groups to tell their stories through creative media.

Her previous work has included a series of photoworks and artist books depicting participants responses to societal prejudices around unemployment. Her experience includes working in community arts education and also on participatory arts projects with a range of stakeholders, including Leeds City Council, East Street Arts and other local agencies to create visual identities for different areas.

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss practice based research or developing a participatory art project you can contact The Highrise Project at thehighriseprojectleeds@gmail.com.