Photo: Steph Barlett
On April 16th 2022, Rolling With The Girls (RWTG) along with artist/skateboarder Harry Meadley, support from Leeds 2023 and hosts Leeds Playhouse worked together to put on the city’s first ever organised and permitted street skating session – a session exclusively for female and gender minority skateboarders. After undertaking a large-scale survey and census of skateboarders in Leeds, it was discovered that 25% of all skaters in the city were female or non-binary – a number not visibly reflected in the city’s main skateparks, let alone skate spots.
Seeking to alter this and to work towards establishing safer and more inclusive street skating spaces in the city, this inaugural event at Leeds Playhouse was a celebration of not just of the female and minority gender skateboard community (which is certainly was), but of the possibility of civic and cultural institutions working together with skateboarders to bring about positive change for all. Not only that, but as an artistic and creative act in itself, the event was also an occasion to support and encourage more female and gender minority skateboarders to gain experience with filming – an area of our community still overwhelmingly male dominated. Please enjoy the video edit of the event by Hilda Quick below.
The next Playhouse × RWTG event will take place on Saturday 30 July. Please follow @rwtgleeds on instagram for updates.
Photos: Steph Barlett
“I thought it was a great day not just to skate with other people but to meet and talk to loads of new people about skating. I’d never been to the playhouse before so I didn’t really know what to expect but I thought it was a great area and everyone there was so nice.
I really hope that events like this can continue to happen as it can be very intimidating going to skate parks and other places to skate alone and by having a community of people to go with it diminishes all of the fears I had and by having a Playhouse event it really highlighted the fun of skateboarding and the communities it can build.” - Millie
Photos: Ben Powell
“As a husband, father (of a daughter) and a skateboarder, I thought it was fantastic. Something which needs to be repeated often…Access and visibility are everything - events like this provide both.
It is a striking testament to the work put in by groups like Girl Skate UK and Leeds' own RWTG that the state of the UK female and minority gender skateboard scene is as vibrant as it is currently. By 11am on the day of the Leeds 2023 x RWTG Playhouse skate event, there were more women skating together than were skating in the entirety of the nation only a decade earlier. Where we go next truly is uncharted and events like this one are vital in creating further visibility and acceptance of the huge evolution of a once male-dominated subculture that is finally approaching gender parity. More cultural investment like this please!” - Ben Powell
Photos: Steph Barlett
“The event was amazing! It was really nice to see all skaters of different abilities attend. As a beginner skater I was super nervous to come thinking all the experienced skaters would intimidate me, but they were all so lovely!
Having events like this continue is important to meet skaters and to build confidence! Skating on the street is very different to in a skate park so it was very useful to get used to skating on different surfaces.” - Hana
Polaroids: Jess Melia-Hill
“It was amazing! The atmosphere was so supportive and the whole day was so much fun. Events like this really help me to feel connected with other skaters in my community.” - Rose
Photos: Jess Melia-Hill