e-Luminate returns to the city on 9 February and for six glorious nights, some of our most iconic buildings will be bathed in mesmerising light installations.
For Festival Founder, Alessandra Caggiano, inspiration struck as she walked home through the dark Cambridge streets one evening in 2012. “All this wonderful architecture around me was unlit,” Alessandra tells me, “and I felt it was such a missed opportunity.” Teaming up with business partner, Hugh Parnell, together they set up a community interest company.
“We decided to hold the Festival in February because that’s when we’re all craving light,” says Alessandra, “and the timing also fitted well with the city’s busy event calendar.” They researched light festivals across the world, talked to light artists, consulted with local stakeholders, built a board of advisers, wrote a business plan, obtained funding and put on the first e-Luminate Festival in February 2013.
That pilot event may have been small but it proved their concept and they were able to grow the project year on year. Since September 2016, the Festival has been run under the umbrella of Cambridge Live Trust, which Alessandra believes was the natural next step forward for this very popular event, of which she is now Artistic Director.
This year, the theme of the Festival is “Colour” and Dr James Fox has joined the team as Guest Curator. An art historian, BAFTA nominated broadcaster and Fellow of Gonville & Caius College, James brings his knowledge of and interest in the theme of colour, to explore the complex relationship between light and colour from various perspectives, combining art, science and technology.
Some of Europe’s top light artists and designers will be creating light installations at key buildings in the city, including the Guildhall, King’s College and the Fitzwilliam Museum. A varied programme of events and workshops includes “Let’s Glow Cambridge” (sports and fitness sessions held under UV lights) and a Wine Tasting Experience with Hotel du Vin, during which you can experiment with light and taste to discover whether lighting conditions influence our perceptions of wine. You can even become part of a light installation yourself by joining the “Trail of Light”. Details of all the light installations, these events and more, plus a booking facility, are on the Cambridge Live website.
To get more involved with the Festival, why not volunteer your time as a Light Maker? A variety of roles are available, working on both indoor events and outdoor installations but as I write this post, the team is particularly looking for help on launch night and with the “Trail of Light” events. To find out more and register your interest, please go to www. cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/e-luminate/opportunities
This is such a fun event and the light installations on our beautiful historic buildings are breathtaking as they highlight architectural details and show us new perspectives. So wrap up warm, take a stroll around the city and you will truly see Cambridge in a new light.
The Festival runs from 9 – 14 February at multiple locations across the city.