Giant open air gallery lands in Leeds to illustrate the global impact of Co-operation

November 20, 2012

A giant open air street gallery of photographs is set to land in Leeds as part of a national tour to illustrate the history, scope and impact of co-operation world-wide.

Displayed in The Headrow, Leeds, between 19 November - 14 January, the 24 images on three metre high installations tell how co-operatives rose from the poverty and harsh working conditions of the mid 19th century and, from such humble beginnings, grew into a global movement with an estimated 1.4 million individual co-operative enterprises and almost one billion members.

The free outdoor exhibition, illuminated at night, explores the diversity and reach of member-owned enterprises from football clubs to farming, pubs to performing arts and, retail to renewable energy.

The gallery has been compiled by The Co-operative – the UK’s largest member-owned organisation - to mark the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. A year dedicated to highlighting the contribution of co-operatives to world-wide socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, community cohesion, employment generation and social integration.

David Luckin, The Co-operative’s Membership Manager in Leeds, said: “The UK is witnessing a resurgence in community-led solutions with people once again seeing the benefits of self-help and mutual ownership as a means to addressing the unprecedented challenges facing our economy, society and environment. The gallery illustrates how everyday people are not only predisposed to co-operation, but are making it happen in communities the world over.”

To mark the arrival of the street gallery, a free event is being staged on 19 November, between 6pm – 8pm, at Leeds City Art Gallery. Tickets can be secured by emailing or, call 0191 411 2346. All guests will receive a free copy of the new graphic novel, The Co-operative Revolution. The event will enable the general public to explore co-operation with a panel of speakers including; radical cartoonist Paul Fitzgerald, author of The Co-operative Revolution graphic novel; Paul Chatterton of the University of Leeds and founder member of the LILAC initiative – Low Impact Living Affordable Community and, Cath Muller of Footprint, a co-operative and ecologically minded Leeds-based printers.


Additional Information:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies over 50 commitments in these areas. The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at

For more information about The Co-operative Revolution: A Graphic Novel visit

Contact Information:

Andrew Torr
The Co-operative Press Office
T: 07702 505551