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Our story

Inspiring, supporting and empowering people from all backgrounds to study arts and humanities at university. 

Educational Engagement and widening participation 

Faculties and schools at the University of Leeds have been running outreach events with the public for over a century. Schools outreach at Leeds is now managed by a dedicated department, Educational Engagement (EE). EE was established in 2012 with the mission to open access to Higher Education to students from all backgrounds.

Leeds has a strong tradition of widening participation to the university, and the University’s Access and Participation Plan (APP) sets out how we will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education. Educational Engagement currently prioritises work with students from low participation neighbourhoods and widening participation backgrounds, as well as those students from ethnic backgrounds who are not proportionally represented at the University of Leeds. 

The Arts and Humanities Outreach Team 

The award-winning Arts and Humanities Outreach Team is just one of a group of teams within EE dedicated to engaging students from schools and colleges in subject specific activities and events. Our diverse and inspiring programme of outreach activity mirrors the extensive portfolio of courses in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. 

Our team works closely with academics, post-graduate researchers and undergraduate students in the Faculty to curate an outreach offer that showcases the importance of arts and humanities and their value to society. Our rich and varied programme encourages students to explore and analyse the world around them, as well as develop their critical thinking and creativity. Delivered by experts in their field, our activities will provide tasters of university study, information about how these subjects will support future careers, and insights from current students who are passionate about their degree subjects as they share their higher education journeys. We also offer opportunities to visit campus and explore our practical and specialist spaces, lecture theatres, libraries and accommodation, to allow students to get a real experience of university life. 

Many of our activities are targeted, so that we reach and support those students who are underrepresented at university in our subject areas, aligning with our APP commitments to the Office for Students.  

Who we work with 

Alongside the academics in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, we work with cultural partners and institutions to showcase the opportunities and cultural value that an arts and humanities degree can offer. These include The Hepworth WakefieldLeeds PlayhouseLeeds MinsterRoche Court Educational Trust and Leeds Museums and Galleries. Students who engage in our activities not only interact with the experts from these institutions, but often have the opportunity to visit the venues and explore their spaces. 

We also work closely with local and national teacher networks, including Leeds Cultural Education PartnershipLeeds Learning Partnership and the Plan, Prepare Provide network, to ensure that we’re developing activities that support schools’ needs. Our range of teacher conferences and CPD workshops offer an opportunity for teachers to network with colleagues, explore ideas to take back to the classroom and support their students to progress in the arts and humanities. 

How we help 

We collect feedback following all of our activities, in order to evaluate and continually improve our outreach offer, ensuring that it meets the needs of our participants and teachers. 

Students involved in our outreach activities overwhelmingly report: 

  • A greater understanding of the different career routes that arts and humanities subjects can lead to 
  • A greater understanding of what life would be like if they went to university 
  • A greater awareness of the arts and humanities subjects and courses available at Higher Education 

 You can read comments from our participants and their teachers below: 

 “Thank you so much! I had such a great time at Linguastars. I'd always questioned if languages were for me but now I know that they definitely are. I'd love to one day attend Leeds Uni and hopefully help and inspire younger linguists how you and the student ambassadors did” - Linguastars 2019 participant

“THANK YOU!!!!!!  the best CPD that I have had in 27 years of teaching. Relevant, motivating, inspiring, reflective.... genuinely powerful” - Plan, Prepare, Provide: Art Teachers Residential 2021 participant  

“This was a fantastic talk for our students to understand the variety of paths that taking an Arts subject at GCSE could take them. It was inspirational for them to be able to hear first hand from your students their experiences. The talk was energetic, informative and promoted our subjects passionately.” Teacher feedback for a Creative Arts Student Ambassador Talk, March 2021 

"A really engaging presentation for our students about careers in the Music industry. The speaker had a range of different experiences for a post graduate student that meant that not only was she able to provide great insight into the music industry but she was also able to engage the students as a role model not too far beyond their years.”  - Teacher feedback from a Music subject taster workshop 

“It was fantastic to have direct access to a History postgrad student and to hear of the different paths that a degree in History can open up.” - Teacher feedback from a History careers workshop