Parkour champion counts down to Year of Culture

World Champion parkour athlete David Nelmes boosts LEEDS 2023’s campaign to let culture loose across his home city, with one year to go to a year of culture.

In one year’s time, LEEDS 2023 will begin. Twelve months packed with events, large and small, across communities and in the city centre that celebrate the culture of the city through its people, art, sport and food. To start the countdown to this major milestone for the city region, the team behind LEEDS 2023 have created a new short film featuring World Champion parkour athlete and Leeds local David Nelmes.

LEEDS 2023 will take place across the city and will encompass a wide definition of what culture means to the people of Leeds in particular. In this specially commissioned short film, Nelmes – who is originally from Cross Gates in east Leeds, takes the viewer with him up and over Leeds landmarks, vaulting over walls and leaping through windows, meeting different creative individuals and communities along his route.

“It feels amazing to be part of LEEDS 2023” says David Nelmes “To be an ambassador for the city as well as for Parkour is a big deal. I hope that when people watch the film they are able to appreciate the sport as well as all the places we went and people involved. I hadn’t been to many of these spots before and so it made me more aware of just how much there is going on in Leeds. I think LEEDS 2023 is going to be incredible and I’m really excited to be part of it.”

The film challenges the usual definition of culture in Leeds with a mix of locations and organisations featured ranging from Kirkgate Market to Bramley Baths, the Northern School of Contemporary Dance to the Howard Assembly Room. If you watch carefully you will see David vault a piano in the concert room of The Holbeck club. LEEDS 2023 will feature work across the 33 wards of the city and the artists featured in the film are just some of those already preparing for the year of culture which promises to be transformational.

Over the last 18 months LEEDS 2023 have been working with artists and organisations across the city, commissioning and encouraging those in or connected to the city to develop projects that could take place during 2023. 65 artists or groups have already received funding to develop seed commissions for LEEDS 2023, while there are at least another 50 conversations still taking place on more projects.  Eight projects linked to LEEDS 2023 appear alongside David Nelmes in the film:

  • DJ Verity Watts filmed at Eiger Studios, south Leeds
  • AGEOFTHE, a Queer Working Class Drag Collective, with member Hollie filmed at Kirkgate Market, city centre
  • Brazilian Dance Class students at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Chapeltown
  • The Life Aquatic Bramley Mermaids group, filmed at Bramley Baths
  • Visual artist Suman Kaur, filmed at Leeds Beckett University, city centre
  • Musician Ntantu, performing in the Howard Assembly Room, city centre
  • Leeds Rhinos’ Jamie Jones Buchanan, Harry Newman and Ash Handley, training in Kirkstall
  • Arthur France, founder of Leeds West Indian Carnival, filmed at the West Indian Carnival Centre, Sheepscar Road

Kully Thiarai, Creative Director for LEEDS 2023, said:

“This time next year we will be presenting to the world our Leeds, a city that is vibrant and bold and full of exceptional, creative people. This film is giving us the chance to start shouting about LEEDS 2023 from the rooftops, about what we’ve already been doing and what’s to come. This next year is when we put everything together to make sure that LEEDS 2023 is a celebration in every LS postcode, that every child in a Leeds’ school can be part of this year of culture and that we make the most of the 365 days in 2023.”


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of LEEDS 2023

Photo: DJ Verity Watts filmed at Eiger Studios