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Case Study: YOUTH CLUB's Museum Of Youth Culture: Unity Through Subculture

April 22 - 30th 2017

Recognising the UK’s pioneering role as a world leader in youth culture and self-expression, the Museum of Youth Culture project by YOUTH CLUB celebrates our rich tapestry of social movements, subcultures, sounds and styles that span the generations and genres of post war Britain to modern day. 

We worked with YOUTH CLUB to bring their Museum of Youth Culture to Leeds, taking over a meanwhile space at Leeds Dock, creating a bespoke exhibition for the Leeds International Festival 2017. ‘Unity through Subculture’, featuring photography, ephemera and oral history, explored the power of fashion, music and self-expression to forge a vital common thread amongst young people. 'Unity though Subculture' was a celebration of creative freedom and it’s ability to break down walls in a world of increasing unrest particularly with Brexit looming. 

To complement the exhibition we invited renowned youth culture photographer Gavin Watson to speak about his seminal work on one of the most misunderstood youth subcultures – Skinheads – through a transition to 90s Rave Culture and onto his contemporary work as a practising photographer and work for brands such as Dr. Marten’s and Ben Sherman.

We worked with Dr. Marten's to host their recently launched VR experience that allowed viewers to virtually visit their factory and see the production process of these legendary boots.

As part of the experience we invited visitors to become part of a research project on the subcultures of Leeds by adding their memories, shop / club / gig space recommendations and locations to a map of the city and also provided a questionnaire that painted a picture of their influences. 

We asked the guys behind The Hip Store, the city's cult fashion outlet, about key garments they felt defined eras or subcultures over their 25 years in business and created a wheat paste mural to display them.

As part of a Heritage Lottery funded program the Museum Of Youth Culture at Leeds Dock also functioned as a space to conduct a renovation project that started the process of digitising 15,000 images by 15 key photographers, adding new research such as locations, movements and cultural references. This renovation project will result in the world’s first fully researched and catalogued youth culture heritage resource and create a freely searchable digital platform to inspire future generations.

Huge thanks to partners Leeds BID, Leeds International Festival and Dr. Marten's for their support.


I wanted to record my journey, which was thousands of kids’ journeys, all kids’ journeys, and that’s what the work shows really. Those relationships. They’re just young teenage kids trying to find their way in life.
— Gavin Watson
Gavin Watson's  body of work explores youth culture from the 70's to the present day.

Gavin Watson's body of work explores youth culture from the 70's to the present day.

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Gavin Watson's  photos capture the energy and camaraderie of teenage life and the expression of youths finding their way in life through fashion and music.

Gavin Watson's photos capture the energy and camaraderie of teenage life and the expression of youths finding their way in life through fashion and music.

By posing simple questions and providing prompts visitors were encouraged to share their 'Collective Memories' of first gigs, favourite record or clothes shops or hang outs, building over time a picture of subcultures in Leeds.

By posing simple questions and providing prompts visitors were encouraged to share their 'Collective Memories' of first gigs, favourite record or clothes shops or hang outs, building over time a picture of subcultures in Leeds.

We created a questionnaire to gather information about Leeds subcultures and invited visitors to the exhibition and the Fashion Space containers to get involved. We also recruited key Leeds icons to fill them out. 

We created a questionnaire to gather information about Leeds subcultures and invited visitors to the exhibition and the Fashion Space containers to get involved. We also recruited key Leeds icons to fill them out. 

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We invited visitors to add an iconic track, that summed up the subculture they were part of, to a Spotify playlist. You can hear it here.

Additional activities were used to encourage visitors dwell time.

Additional activities were used to encourage visitors dwell time.

Gavin Watson's  capturing the jazz funk scene

Gavin Watson's capturing the jazz funk scene

We asked the guys behind The Hip Store, the city's cult fashion outlet, about key garments they felt defined eras or subcultures over their 25 years in business and created a wheat paste mural to display them.

We asked the guys behind The Hip Store, the city's cult fashion outlet, about key garments they felt defined eras or subcultures over their 25 years in business and created a wheat paste mural to display them.

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We approached Dr. Marten's, a staple subculture fashion accessory, and invited them to bring their recently launched VR experience to Leeds allowing visitors to step inside the famous DM factory and see how the legendary boots are produced.

We approached Dr. Marten's, a staple subculture fashion accessory, and invited them to bring their recently launched VR experience to Leeds allowing visitors to step inside the famous DM factory and see how the legendary boots are produced.

'Unity Through Subculture' was part of the Leeds International Festival's (LIF) Fringe events and came under the Fashion In Leeds programme. Gavin Watson's imagery was used prominently in LIF promotional materials.

'Unity Through Subculture' was part of the Leeds International Festival's (LIF) Fringe events and came under the Fashion In Leeds programme. Gavin Watson's imagery was used prominently in LIF promotional materials.

As part of the Leeds International Festival's (LIF) Fringe Fashion In Leeds programme we took over the Fashion Space containers on Briggate, Leeds prominent shopping street.. 

As part of the Leeds International Festival's (LIF) Fringe Fashion In Leeds programme we took over the Fashion Space containers on Briggate, Leeds prominent shopping street.. 

Window graphics highlighted the 'Unity Through Subculture' exhibition and drove footfall to Leeds Dock as well as encouraging people to take part in our 'Collective Memory' project that built a picture of subcultures in the city and added to the unique Spotify playlist.

Window graphics highlighted the 'Unity Through Subculture' exhibition and drove footfall to Leeds Dock as well as encouraging people to take part in our 'Collective Memory' project that built a picture of subcultures in the city and added to the unique Spotify playlist.


COMPANY / CLIENT:
Allied London
Leeds Dock
Leeds International Festival

OUR ROLES:
Event Production.
Event Management.
Exhibition Design & Production.
Partner & Sponsor sourcing and management.
Project Management.
Design:
Art Direction, Graphic Design and Production (flyers, posters, window vinyls, exhibition signage, social media assets).
Marketing & Comms:
Social media content, campaign & PR strategy, video production.

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