Kirklees Council Announces Ground-breaking Investments to Uplift the District’s Cultural Sector for Kirklees Year of Music 2023

Kirklees Council’s plans to enhance the area’s cultural and heritage offer have had a big boost thanks to significant investments from Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

The funding will support culture and heritage in Kirklees, including Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOM23), a year-long initiative highlighting Kirklees’ unique musical ecology and bringing communities together through music. 

Arts Council England's significant contribution of £800,000 will enhance the diverse and ambitious programme of events and activities not only to bring the benefits of music to more people but also support music education and the local music industry in Kirklees. 

This National Lottery Open Week, Kirklees Council is also delighted to announce that thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, an investment of £99,785 has been awarded by the Heritage Fund  for a dedicated heritage strand, Sing & Sew, which will run through KYOM23 and the area’s biennial textile festival WOVEN.

Sing & Sew will tell the story of Kirklees' industrial heritage: from being a centre of heavy woollen manufacturing in the 19th-21st centuries, to becoming a textiles innovation hub today. Sing & Sew will uncover the music, cultures and stories of migrant communities who made their homes in the area to work in the textiles industry. 

By working with local young people to revive forgotten music traditions and teach sustainable textiles skills, this special year of cultural programming in Kirklees will encourage people to explore and celebrate their heritage.

HERD is one of the major initiatives brought to life through this investment in Kirklees culture. This KYOM23 flagship project is a groundbreaking artistic collaboration involving the Kirklees community inspired by and celebrating the diverse musical traditions and industrial history of the region. Devised by composer Orlando Gough and produced by leading arts production company, Artichoke, HERD will take place around Kirklees during July 2023. 

The project includes hundreds of local schoolchildren and many hundreds more members of music groups including brass bands, folk, choral and gospel choirs, boliyaan music, a Ney-anbān player, Carnatic singing and many other musicians. The soundscapes will be “sung” by a flock of 23 large-scale musical sheep sculptures, which will appear in different locations across Kirklees 11-16 July 2023. The sheep have been designed by Huddersfield-based artist Dave Young, working with heritage craft practitioners, each with its own unique identity.

HERD will conclude with a finale in St George’s Square, Huddersfield on Sunday 16 July, bringing together all the hundreds of participants in a day of celebration. The project  is a unique collaboration between artists, musicians and hundreds of schoolchildren and community members.

Meanwhile, WOVEN’s summer festival will connect people with traditional textiles skills through intergenerational workshops, education and a ‘Make Do and Mend’ Roadshow.

This investment from the Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund will strengthen Kirklees' music and textiles ecology from its roots and bring together its diverse communities, venues and businesses. Through KYOM23 and WOVEN, it will promote the region's rich heritage and significantly contribute to the local economy. 

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: ‘We are thrilled to receive such significant investment into Kirklees.  Which will mean we can progress our ambitious plans to showcase our rich cultural heritage on an international scale. Creating tangible new career pathways for budding talent in the region. We are grateful to Arts Council England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support helping us to realise our vision.’

Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture at Kirklees Council added: “This new funding will bring a range of exciting projects to Kirklees as part of both Kirklees Year of Music and WOVEN. HERD will not only help secure our place on the cultural map in the UK, but also provide amazing opportunities for local communities to be part of something truly spectacular.”

Pete Massey, Director Yorkshire, Arts Council England said: “Arts Council England is delighted to be supporting The Herd and other Kirklees Year of Music events. The district has a rich musical heritage and remains a vibrant centre for contemporary music across many genres. We are delighted to see both the local authority and the Mayor of West Yorkshire also investing in what will be an amazing year which will bring many thousands of people together to make and enjoy music.”

Helen Featherstone, Director England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be supporting Sing & Sew, a fantastic project that by working with local young people will celebrate the important cultural and industrial heritage of Kirklees, and contribute to an amazing year of activity. We know heritage has a huge role to play in instilling pride in communities, and this project is a wonderful example of how that can be done.’

Natalie Walton, WOVEN Curator said: ‘WOVEN is delighted to be supported by The National Lottery Heritage funding in 2023. The Festival has grown from 3 years of community conversations, and the passion that the people of Kirklees have for their industrial textile heritage. This year’s festival balances the story of our textiles heritage, with themes of environmental care for the future of our planet. Our Mission to Mend is a call to action to look to the past of “make do and mend”, but to think about how these traditional skills can help us consider the future of textiles as makers and consumers.’


Helen Marriage, CEO / Artistic Director, Artichoke, said: ‘After more than a year in the planning, we are delighted to be able finally to begin speaking publicly about HERD. Thousands of local people and schoolchildren are involved in the creation of this ground-breaking project, which will celebrate Kirklees’ industrial and musical heritage and people as part of Kirklees Year of Music. HERD was central to the grant applications to Arts Council England and The National Heritage Lottery Fund, and their success is a strong endorsement of the project. HERD will be a musical mashup of epic proportions, and will transform for ever the way sheep, sound and Kirklees are imagined.’





Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £440 million of public money from Government and an estimated £93 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.  


Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies responsible for administering the Government’s unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund of which we delivered over £1 billion to the sector in grants and loans. Find out more at

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspirelead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.  

Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund.

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK.

About Artichoke

Founded in 2005, Artichoke is one of the UK’s leading creative companies and a registered charity, and is part of Art Council England’s National Portfolio. The company’s aim is to work with artists to create unique, large-scale experiences that appeal to the widest possible audience and to use art to disrupt the everyday to create a new kind of world that we’d all like to live in. They believe the arts should not take place behind the closed doors of theatres, concert halls or galleries. Instead, they work in the street, public squares, along the coast and in the countryside across the UK, bringing communities together through learning and participation work leaving a legacy of skills and new-found potential behind. | @artichoketrust |

About Kirklees Year of Music 2023 (KYOMO23)

Kirklees Year of Music in 2023, is a unique, place-based, cultural change programme initiated and led by Kirklees Council, part of the wider cultural offer in the region of West Yorkshire over the coming three years.  2023 is designated as a Year of Music for the district and, through investment in the district’s diverse music talent, communities and businesses, the year-long programme of events and projects, will strengthen the music ecology of Kirklees from its roots.  2023 will celebrate the richness and diversity of Kirklees music heritage, the music created and performed today, and the ambition for the future, inclusive of all music genres, all communities and in all forms. 

Kirklees is a place where everyone can hear world class music through festivals and programming; where children and young people have access to high quality musical experiences and education; and where the next generation of musicians and music professionals can build and sustain a high-quality career, with access to the very best industry advice, career opportunities and performance routes.

@musicinkirklees | #kirkleesyearofmusic | #YearOfMusic2023 | #kyom23 |


WOVEN is a biennial festival that began in 2019, with the next event running from 3rd June to 9th July 2023.

WOVEN was created and funded by Kirklees Council, but is owned by everyone, including community groups, textile businesses, cultural and educational organisations, artists and heritage sites across the district.

WOVEN’s theme focuses on generations of innovators, connecting West Yorkshire’s Kirklees’ strong heritage with today’s innovative developments in industry, university research, a strong arts and crafts scene and the creative expression of the district’s rich and diverse communities.

Though the big festival event will happen in June every other year, there will also be long term projects and smaller events happening in between.

Sign up to our mailing list to be kept up to date on events and ways to get involved.

#WOVEN23 #GrowingColourTogether Website|Facebook page|Instagram @WovenInKirklees|Twitter @WovenInKirklees

About Kirklees Museums & Galleries

Kirklees is home to 4 council run museums and galleries ranging form the stunning 16th Century Oakwell Hall, furnished as a family home from the 1690’s to Tolson Museum which tells the story of Huddersfield and its people throughout the ages to the present day. Then, there is the uniquely wonderful Bagshaw Museum where you can take a trip around the world thanks to its unusual collection of exhibits and artefacts;  finally, there is Huddersfield Art Gallery, currently residing in an airy space withing the Piazza shopping Centre whilst work takes place to create a new cultural heart in the centre of the town.

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