Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Leeds Plan B is born

There are a couple of major new pieces being developed as part of the Leverhulme Trust residency and I've decided to tie them all together as one concept. Leeds Plan B is to be a living manifesto for a sustainable Leeds, instead of our original idea to make a city room (Leeds already has one of those!) I'm planning on making a temporary space out in the city centre, with some new sculptural work, and a new website and manifesto statement. The whole thing should sit together as a body of work with lasting legacies. The logo, which is an essential part of the plan, has been developed by myself with the help of Tom Bing (our resident photographer!). The yellow colour theme will run throughout the project from now on and the canaries will be a recurring theme too.


Things are in full-swing at the Food Factory Allotment. A new addition to the site - one amazing looking pond complete with water-lilies,
yellowflag and marsh mallow (not the sweet kind). Let's hope it attracts plenty of frogs.

Sowing seeds in Leeds

Not knowing whether the Leeds artist residency would result in some kind of guerilla gardening or permaculture exercise, I've been planting seeds of vegetables and sunflowers with the geography students, just in case we needed them... As it turns out so far we haven't, which is OK, as Paul Chatterton, who is the School's host applicant for the residency, has been taking them to his allotment. It has to be said that although the class threw themselves into the sowing with some enthusiasm, it was surprising how few had ever planted seeds before. A sad footnote - pretty much all of the plants died over the Easter holidays - next time I'm enforcing a strict watering rota!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Congratulations to Owl Project on winning the Best of Manchester Awards 2009!

Owl Project is an art collective producing stunning musical instruments that mimic popular hand-held gadgets such as the iPod and are crafted from simple, untreated pieces of wood that ‘critique human interaction with computer interfaces and our increasing appetite for new and often disposable technologies’.

Organised by Urbis and judged by a panel of industry experts, the The Best of Manchester Awards celebrate innovation in art, music and fashion. It was announced last week that Owl Project are selected as this year's winners for the art category. We think they are worthy winners and are happy to see them being awarded the prize.

Ultimate Holding Company worked with Owl Project in 2008 to create the printed 'scrolls' (resembling a small log when rolled up), promoting their noise generator the 'iLog' and providing instructions for making your very own iLog. We are currently printing a second run of the scrolls which will be beautifully hand screen printed by local artist Nick Rhodes from Switchopen. Look out for these 'deluxe' versions of the scrolls from September onwards!

Thursday, 23 July 2009


After repeated requests for somewhere to shelter from showers, Ryan Loose and Ryan Delvin have struggled with Joe and Chris to build a shed. (Who writes the instructions that come with these things?!). Well it's finally up and we think it's the best looking shed on the allotment. What do you think?

Jai on Leeds Leverhulme Residency

Since January 2009 I've been working in Leeds at the University on a 9 month residency, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

It's been quite a radically different learning experience for everyone at the School of Geography, where I've been working with geographers from the research cluster 'Urban Cultures and Consumption' as well as campaigners from the 'Leeds, Love It, Share It' network.

To give a bit of background - I wanted to use the residency to look at how we artist/designers can produce visual materials and events that present (what can be) hard to penetrate academic work to a wider audience. This is of course a bit of propagandizing - but wholly in keeping with the geographers' activist research style.

Photography by Tom Bing.

Up until the Easter holidays, I've been attending the module lectures, which have been happening outside the School in a variety of interesting venues, including: The Leeds Library, the Design Innovation Centre, Bauman Lyons architect's offices, Tower Works in Holbeck and the Commonplace social centre. During the sessions we heard presentations from John Thorpe (Leeds' City Architect) and Andy Goldring from the Permaculture Society.

The sessions have also been attended by Tom Bing, student photographer at the university, who has now become something of a regular at UHC events - documenting the allotment project, Barrow-in-Furness events and soon to join us in Liverpool on the Scouse Soul Stew project. Please credit the photos to Tom if you want to reproduce them!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Garlic (Bread?)

Another lesson plan for the Ryans - This time a master class in garlic planting. Ok, so it's a little late in the year, but we wanted to have a go at companion planting garlic with strawberries (apparently, slugs are scared of garlic). So there will be plenty of strawberries for anyone who's not a fan of garlic bread!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Check this new minimalist bike design by Danish designer Michael Ubbesen Jakobsen, its even cooler than our Art administrator - Timo's, blinging white, fixed gear sex cycle.

Runner Beans

To help the Ryans learn new practical skills on the allotment we've been drawing some simple lesson plans - and then making them do all of the hard work. Here's some pictures of the runner bean plan.

We look forward to eating the results!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Raised beds

We have built a system of raised beds for our crop rotation. The two most enthusiastic pupils, Ryan and Ryan (yes they are both called Ryan) now have their own crop rotation and are growing potatoes, peas, beans, lettuce, rainbow chard, onions and chives.

Plotting for success

After being away for a year we are back on the allotment working hard with some new kids from St Paul's Catholic High School. We've decided to call the project Food Factory and you can read all about it on our website. This project has been supported by both the School and Food Futures and is run by volunteers from UHC


More coverage for EXT INKED with a peice in Bizarre magazine, so bizarre they like to call us UCH just to keep things edgy.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Enclosure Identity

The development of the graphic identity for Enclosure has begun. The new space located within the Hotspur House will be opening this summer and we are very exited by its potential. The new identity work we are currently undertaking is also equally exciting and we thought it would be good to give you a little sneak preview.

The concept for the new graphic identity is derived from the huge amount of the peculiar lost and forgotten paraphernalia that had to be cleared from the space. Dusty boxes, papers and industrial tit and tat dating from the 60's presented us with all sorts of old and dated color schemes and graphic styles to explore. The final outcome will be something that is very fitting for this peculiar new artist space in Manchester...

Scouse Soul Stew

Scouse Soul Stew is a series of artists led events in Kensington, Liverpool looking at the ingredients in life important to us all.