Beam’s 30 year arts in placemaking archive moves to West Yorkshire History Centre and Katie Lee begins PhD.

There have been some exciting recent developments with Beam’s archive of material which spans over 30 years of arts in placemaking. The archive was recently deposited at the West Yorkshire Archive Service at its History Centre in Wakefield. We are delighted that the material is being preserved for the future in this way. At the same time a new PhD is getting underway which will draw from examples contained within the archive.

We are delighted to announce that Katie Lee is starting a PhD research project in collaboration with Beam and the School of Geography at the University of Leeds. 

After completion of an MA in Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at University of Leeds, Katie was successful in securing ESRC funding for a 1+3 PhD scheme, which funds a one-year MA in Social Research before three years of PhD study. Now fully trained in research methods after the MA section, Katie is embarking on the research with support from Beam and two supervisors at University of Leeds, Dr. Martin Zebracki and Prof. Robert Vanderbeck. 

Prior to this, Katie has worked with several arts and events organisations in public-facing and administrative roles, and more recently at the University of Leeds in the Lifelong Learning Centre, university admissions and staff development departments. Throughout her career, she has regularly volunteered and worked alongside full time positions to support arts and community organisations, most recently volunteering with a school gardening club. She now enjoys teaching seminars alongside her research, looking at wider issues of citizenship, identity, economics and cities. 

Katie’s research interests develop this focus on people by exploring how they can be included or excluded in their own community by creative practice and the processes that surround it. She is interested in exploring the complexities of public-private partnerships and the power that is exchanged within these. Case studies of past Beam projects will offer new critical insights into the role of arts-led placemaking as it relates to wider social and geographical contexts; to identify structural issues and scrutinise the role of public art.

Katie is excited to work with Beam and their archive to position their practice in the wider context and explore opportunities for new methods of evaluating public art projects that can promote and develop inclusive practice. We will share more about Katie’s PhD work here as it develops.


Image shows marketing materials from the Beam archive for ‘The Green’, a Yorkshire festival of places, 2003.

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