You know how it goes: it’s Friday evening and your housemate suggests checking out a new place he’s seen advertised. Next thing you know, it’s Saturday afternoon and you’re covered with paint in an abandoned tai chi studio.
So as to get the disappointment out of the way early doors, no I’m not about to shock and amuse you with tales of reckless debauchery and a city painted crimson, for it so happens that I’m actually helping prepare Lightspace Leeds for its grand opening.
Established by Leeds-based freelance photographer Tim Dunk as a spin-off of a similar venture in Sheffield, Lightspace is a creative co-working space in Meanwood, Leeds. With space for some twenty-odd creative freelancers, as well as being a perfect spot for events, Lightspace really is a timely addition to a community on the up.
A hub for creative industries, Leeds is home to thousands of designers, photographers, florists and more. As someone who by his own admission was sick of working alone in his kitchen, Tim knows a thing or two about the soul trader’s solitude.
“I was going mad on my own in my kitchen and thought others would be feeling the same, so I thought it’d be better to all go mad in a big room together”, he tells me.
One truism of mankind is that if a person has experienced something, the likelihood is that another person will have had the same experience.
As one of those people, I empathetically returned to my work and thought a little about what it was that inspired me to sacrifice my Saturday to paint doors for a stranger.
The answer to that – in the most basic of terms – is…
…an Instagram post.
Of course, it was Tim’s open-handed approach in his appeal that turned my passive intrigue into active involvement, but it was the content of his Lightspace Leeds Instagram feed that clearly displayed the fact that he was trying to do a bit of good in the community. In my community, living as I do a mere three minute stroll from this splendid venture.
In our modern world of Insta-famous eHippies and smug yoga couples, it’s easy to dismiss a primarily visual social media platform such as Instagram, seeing it as a magnifier of humanity’s most narcissistic qualities.
Our perspective shifts when we see those like Tim, who use such platforms to assist in pursuit and realisation of personal goals and social enterprise, giving weight to the old adage that “it’s not what you’ve got, but how you us it”.