A Space to Float (2007)


In some ways A Space to Float wasn't a particularly big project for us (well, it might have been bigger, but Heritage Lottery didn't thing the building was particularly worthy!). But it summed up that idea of working with a particular community to find a creative way to tell a story at a time of change.

They were going to pull the International Pool down in Leeds, after only 40 years. The swimmers kind of knew it would be great to have a new pool, but there was a real sense of loss.


It was a case of documenting the place itself using photography and film; and the people and the story through audio interviews. And putting it together on dvd with something special - a commemorative swimming cap and badges. And doing it quickly before the bulldozers moved in...


Our partners were the City of Leeds Swimming and Diving Clubs They didn't oppose the building of a new swimming facility in Leeds. And with Leeds Leisure Services who were building the new pool.

We also worked closely with Leeds City Council's Leisure Services Department. As usual there was some convincing to be done that we were not aiming simply to make an easy target of the Council...I suppose by now, our reputation (particularly our long relationship with the arts part of Leisure Services) helped to smooth the way.


Funding came from the Arts Council, Leeds City Council and the Clubs themselves. It didn't feel enough at the time, as we were hoping for Heritage Lottery Funding, but it was sufficient to do a good job quickly... 

Photograph Lizzie Coombes

What We Learned

Many of our programmes of work are in-depth, long-term and impact on an institution or a set of attitudes. But not always!

There was a big demand for the dvd package, and it was a good feeling to have marked the passing of such an iconic place.

Photograph Lizzie Coombes