The art of recycling

Items left at the city’s recycling centres are being given a new lease of life as part of an art project.

Students from Leeds Metropolitan University on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course are working with world renowned artist Chris Dobrowolski to turn unwanted household goods into sculptures.

While battered bikes, wonky wheelbarrows, irregular ironing boards and malfunctioning mowers are normally recycled into other goods, a selection of items have been transformed by the group of undergraduate students.

Working with Chris and senior lecturer James Chinneck, the students have been working intensively in the studio transforming the discarded objects into kinetic sculptures that are engineered to interact with the public.

The way Chris makes things has a deliberate “put together in the garden shed” aesthetic and each piece has its own story attached. Over the years, Chris has retold and refined these stories as both artist and teacher.

Depending on the size and nature of the final sculptures it’s hoped that some may go on display at the city’s eight recycling centres.

Councillor Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for the environment, said:

“We’d normally encourage residents to drop off stuff at the recycling centres to ensure the valuable resources they contain can be re-used or recycled rather than languish in landfill and add to our landfill tax bill.

“Recycling means transforming items into a new product, so we’re really pleased to be supporting James, Chris and the students. We’re intrigued to see how the everyday items will take on a completely new aspect.”

James Chinneck, senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, said:

“It is a testament to the quality of the BA (Hons) Fine Art course here at Leeds Metropolitan University that world renowned artists such as Chris Dobrowolski want to send time working with our students helping them to learn more about the diverse range of possibilities within visual art practice. It has been great to have the council on board, the project has really been made possible by their support.”

The city’s eight recycling centres are open throughout the year so household goods can be re-used and recycled.

A full list of the sites and the range of materials that can be re-used and recycled can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/recyclingsites.

Each site also has a special container so that any unwanted household items – furniture, bikes or bric-a-brac – can be donated and put to good use by local charities.

Revive, the re-use shop, can be found at the East Leeds recycling centre. Run by a community interest group made up of local charities Emmaus, SLATE and SVP, good quality unwanted items can be donated and are sold back to the public at low prices.

More information about Chris Dobrowolski can be found at cdobo.com/.


For media enquiries please contact:

Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577

email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk