About Untold Stories

Untold Stories: The Leeds Irish Community

Untold Stories is an archive project undertaken by the Irish Arts Foundation (IAF) with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its key aim is to document the Leeds Irish community and raise awareness of the many contributions that it has made to life in Leeds, and to uphold a positive image of their heritage and cultural traditions.

Irish Arts Foundation

IAF was established in Leeds in 1998, formerly as the Harehills Irish Music Project. Its aim is to raise the profile of Irish music and the arts throughout Britain and to celebrate the many contributions that Irish people have made to British society. IAF has developed a name for itself as a professional organisation that specialises in creating participatory music training opportunities for young people, supporting artists to pursue successful careers in Irish arts, developing cutting edge performance work and enabling other organisations to include Irish arts and artists in their work through advice, guidance, arts and advocacy.

Two of its great successes to date have been the Leeds Gathering Festival and Irish History Month. The Gathering Festival is a fortnight’s celebration of Irish and Celtic music and arts which takes place in venues across the city of Leeds. The festival has gained an international reputation for its programme of music sessions, literary, film and educational events, bringing some of Ireland’s finest artists to the city. First celebrated in Leeds in 2007, Irish History Month is a pioneering venture in Britain which exists to promote a greater understanding of Ireland and the Irish, to value the many positive contributions that Irish people have made to life in Britain and to introduce new audiences to the vibrancy of Irish arts and culture. Irish History Month has quickly grown and is now celebrated in cities throughout Britain.

IAF is based in the Arts & Education Centre of Leeds at The West Park Centre on Spen Lane.