What’s in a name?
In 2003, 20 organisations collaborated under the banner ‘Together for Peace’ to produce a multi-media festival in partnership with Bradford Peace Festival. The organisations wanted to help people and groups in Leeds to engage with and work towards all that the word ‘peace’ means. In 2005 the festival grew to 60 partner organisations.
T4P no longer host festivals, but the original purpose and way of working holds good. We aim to learn with others about how to make a city and a future that is good for us all, and the planet.
From humble beginnings
Together for Peace began in 2002, initiated by a small group of people who saw the need for a non-partisan initiative that could build relationships across difference in our diverse urban context in Leeds.
For 15 years a core team of three (Ed Carlisle, Jill Mann and Mike Love) worked on a diverse portfolio, always in partnership with other organisations. We began running bi-annual peace festivals, which soon offered opportunities for ongoing work through the year. To give some examples… ten years active involvement in the annual Leeds Peace Poetry competition, the In One City series of five films about Leeds (with Lippy films) as well as helping to coordinate Leeds Peace Jam, part of an international youth movement and education programme that seeks to tap into young people’s innate sense of justice and inspire them to become a new generation of peace-makers and active global citizens.
Collaborating with others and engaging with people across the matrix of our richly mixed society, from grassroots to government, was core in how T4P operated. We always sought to develop projects and events that built bridges between people, often using the arts. A good example of this was the Planet Leeds festival, which we ran for five years from 2007, working with a range of organisations, groups and volunteers to host events & projects, especially city centre street festivals.
T4P also hosted the first two Leeds Summats in 2009 & 2011, working alongside a number of partners and community volunteers. These popular all-day gatherings featured a range of activities, including headline speakers, workshops, networking, food, music, arts, film, sport, and much, much more. (Since then, we’re delighted that our friends at Leeds for Change have picked up the baton and now host the Summat)
Alongside coordinating events and initiatives such as those mentioned above (and a long list of others) a core part of T4P’s work has facilitated and supported a range of dialogue, learning, and creative initiatives, focusing on fostering connections between people and nurturing relationships across and between people from different cultures, communities and life experience. Examples of this include:
- facilitating the Active Citizens programme for the British Council;
- hosting dialogue spaces with communities in Leeds experiencing marginalisation, such as geographical communities in Gipton, Holbeck, Beeston, the Lingfields, Harehills and Little London;
- convening and coordinating a Jewish-Muslim dialogue group (which involved over 35 people during its four-year lifespan and included a shared ‘learning journey’ to Israel-Palestine with ten participants).
So now what?
Having worked in this way for 15 years, it felt time to review, do some focused learning and see how we could adapt for the future. As a result, we decided to explore a different way of working, integrating more people into the team which has expanded our potential to bid for work, alongside developing particular initiatives of our own.
This has brought us to today. We now operate as a group of associates who pool our time and resources to work together on areas that matter to us where we can make a difference.