Back in January, I posted a piece on the e-Luminate Cambridge Festival and tonight it opened, with fabulous light installations illuminating some of the city’s most iconic buildings.
It’s a really cold night here in Cambridge but I wanted to get some photos, just taken on my phone, to give you a flavour of the event.
Firstly, Senate House with its installation “I See”, created in collaboration with The Ordered Universe Project.
In Bene’t Street, another moving image projection, “Bright Lights – The Colours of the Brain”, has been created by artists working with Cambridge community groups in a series of workshops.
Gonville & Caius College is looking glorious with its installation “The Colours of Caius College” created by artist Patrice Warrener using the Chromolithe technique that he developed thirty years ago.
At The Fitzwilliam Museum, projection artist Ross Ashton has created a colourful projection which shows some of the most iconic artefacts held in the Museum’s collection.
You’ll find more installations outside King’s College Chapel, at Trinity Hall and at the Guildhall. Full details of all these are on the event website. It may be freezing out there but it’s really worth wrapping up and getting out to see the city in a whole new light.
The Watersprite International Student Film Festival returns to the city from 23 -25 February, showcasing the wealth of emerging talent in student short film making from around the world and offering a springboard for the film makers of the future as they start their careers.
This year, the organisers have received around three hundred and ninety submissions from ninety five countries. Fifty nominees have now been chosen for a dozen award categories, including fiction, documentary, animation and original film music – you can find their details on the Watersprite website. Overseas nominees will be flown into the UK to attend the Awards Ceremony at the Fitzwilliam Museum thanks to the continued support of Red Arrow Studios, the Festival’s official Film Maker and New Talent partner.
The prestigious Film Maker of the Future award will go to a film maker who tackles modern day issues in the world, creating a film that tries to make a difference or presents to us a story that we haven’t heard before. Part of that prize is the opportunity to participate in a producers’ workshop in Cannes, enabling the winner to network within the film business. In fact, the Festival gives all the entrants a chance to collaborate with other film makers and to forge new creative partnerships.
Aside from the screenings, there’s a packed schedule of talks and workshops led by leading professionals in the film and TV industry. Films will be showing at various venues across the city but most nominee screenings will be held at King’s College while talks and events will happen at St John’s College Old Divinity School where you’ll also find the Festival hub.
The Festival started life in 2010 as Cam’era and Film of the Year was awarded to Will McGregor’s “Who’s Afraid of the Water Sprite?”. Will has gone on to make a very successful career as a screenwriter and director, working in film, TV and commercials. With producer Hilary Bevan-Jones, the Festival’s Patron, Will has developed his short film into a feature film, “The Dark Outside”, which is currently in production. And in honour of that first winning film, the Festival was renamed “Watersprite” in 2011.
The Festival is open to everybody. It is entirely free for film makers to enter plus all the events and screenings are free thanks to sponsors such as Decca Publishing and Fox Networks Group. Local companies also get involved. Jocks and Peers, a beer brand recently launched in the city by three Cambridge alumni, is sponsoring drinks at one of the event’s ceremonies. Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite or you can just turn up at an event or screening and if there’s room, you’ll get in.
Have you seen that movie “Night at the Museum”? And wondered how it feels to wander round a museum after hours? Well, wonder no more because now’s your chance to find out as Cambridge University Museums’ “Twilight at the Museums” event invites you to explore fourteen local museums and collections after dark, from 4.30 – 7.30pm on Tuesday 13 February.
There’s a wealth of events to enjoy. At the Polar Museum, you can meet some of the characters that have made polar history. Or why not become a geological pioneer at the University Library, discovering rocks, fossils and extraordinary maps at the “Landscapes Below” exhibition. Join the Eclipse Expedition at the Whipple Museum and follow in the footsteps of historic explorers on a scientific trail as you gather vital equipment and travel across distant lands to observe a rare solar eclipse.
At the Fitzwilliam Museum, a stunning building that is home to a world-class collection of works of art and antiquities, there’ll be a Kaleidoscope of Colour. See if you can touch, hear or taste colour and find out if it can change the way you see things. Enjoy special demonstrations, musical performances, interactive play and dazzling projections as you experience the collection through a range of colour. Head to Kettle’s Yard to pick up your Twilight Trail and discover the newly opened gallery spaces. Visit the glasshouses at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden to hunt for orchids and to find out more about these amazing plants. Full details of these and the many events at other venues are on the Cambridge University Museums’ website – details at the end of this post.
Richard White, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, tells me that the museums will all be colourful this year, with special lighting so that you can explore their collections in a different way. It’s also a great opportunity to discover a museum that maybe you’ve been meaning to visit for ages as well as to learn some amazing facts.
“Twilight at the Museums” is a free family event and children of all ages are welcome. You won’t go hungry either as there’ll be pop up food stands at the Downing Site (outside the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) and the cafes at the Botanic Garden, the Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettles Yard will be open too. Most of the venues are just a short walk apart so wrap up warm and bring a torch to help you explore those darker corners ….. who knows what you’ll find amongst the shadows??!!
Well, we’ve almost got through a very grey and murky January so here’s the what’s on listing for February. It’s an eclectic mix of events that come to my attention so if you know about an event that could be included, please get in touch via my Contact page. I’ll update this listing through the month, so it’s worth checking back every so often.
Kate O’Neill has always loved Shakespeare. In fact, she comes from a long line of Shakespeare lovers ….. her maternal great grandfather was a drama teacher and producer who wrote his own plays and ran residential Shakespeare courses in the summer holidays. Kate’s childhood visits to The Globe Theatre in London with her grandmother left her spellbound by the language, theatricality, history and costumes that she found there.
Fast forward a few years and the adult Kate, now living in Hertfordshire, enjoyed taking part in historical re-enactments at Kentwell Hall in Suffolk, an experience which fuelled her interest in taking on a character. “You see a different side to people when they’re dressed up and in character,” Kate tells me. Together with a group of friends, she went on to hold a very successful read-through of “The Tempest”.
Having recently moved to Cambridge, Kate now plans to replicate that here as a way to get like-minded people together in a collaborative spirit. This will be a very informal group, meeting maybe three or four times a year and it’s for everybody, whether you’re a total Shakespeare nut, a keen drama person or if you don’t know much about any of that but would like to find out more.
The first meeting is on Saturday 3 February at the Salisbury Arms. Kate’s had a good response already and she’s looking forward to finding out which of Shakespeare’s plays people like and to arranging a date and venue for a read-through. Think “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Kate’s pretty courtyard garden or, should anyone in the group have a property with a balcony, “Romeo and Juliet”. So many possibilities ….. and as The Bard himself wrote, “All the world’s a stage”.
Facebook: Cambridge Shakespeare Read-through Group
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” as the song goes. Well, I’m not so sure about that but I do know that I can never walk past this gorgeous shop in Green Street without pausing to admire the jewellery in the window. And then, quite by chance, I met Harriet at a party over Christmas and she told me her story.
Harriet learned to make jewellery with her father, a doctor who was also a talented goldsmith. With his help, she designed and made her first ring aged four and was hooked from that moment on. In an early sign of her entrepreneurial streak, at the age of eight she and her sister were making earrings from gold wire which they sold initially to friends and later at an artist friend’s stall in Covent Garden. Harriet is dyslexic, although this wasn’t identified until adulthood. Drawn to art, maths and science, she took a degree in Industrial Design and went on to work in the film business, but she never stopped making jewellery in her spare time, working in a shed at the bottom of the garden. When her waiting list got to thirty three people, all of whom had found her by word of mouth, Harriet made the decision to switch career into bespoke jewellery.
Harriet had two aims when she set up her business 20 years ago and they remain her aims today. Firstly, she wants to make bespoke jewellery reachable, offering high quality at affordable prices. The team that you meet in her shops are all designers and delight in telling a customer’s individual story through each commission. There’s also a ready to wear collection which features one off rings and very small runs of pendants, necklaces, earrings and other dress jewellery.
Secondly, for ethical reasons, Harriet prefers to work with fairtrade gold and has been a trailblazer in this field. Having located a gold mine in Colombia which operates on fairtrade principles, she met another jewellery activist and then the Fairtrade Foundation who asked her to advise them on how their process could work for jewellers in the UK. This movement works against child labour, for safety in the mining process and supports women’s rights, education and environmental issues. In buying fairtrade gold, you are supporting artisanal miners who receive a fair price for gold and extra money for their communities, which they are empowered to spend as they wish.
In 2011, Harriet and the Association launched fairtrade gold, now used by around three hundred UK jewellers as well as internationally. The majority of the jewellery in her shops is made of fairtrade gold. She buys diamonds direct from Botswana and Namibia and thoroughly checks the provenance of these and coloured gemstones to ensure that she meets the highest ethical standards possible.
2018 is shaping up to be another busy year for Harriet. As well as her Hertfordshire HQ, a beautiful converted barn with glass walled workshop, showroom, coffee shop and garden, and the Cambridge shop/design studio, Harriet is launching another shop with a design studio in Primrose Hill, north west London later this month. It’s an area she knows well as she and her husband, Tim, used to live there and with the neighbourhood’s mix of independent specialist businesses, it feels like a natural fit. Then there’s the design and production of the new ready to wear collection, pieces from which you can see in the photos through this post.
And Harriet has written a book about starting a creative business. It’ll be published in September and is inspired by her voluntary mentoring of creative businesses, during which she notices common threads with successful entrepreneurs as they combine creativity and innovation to build a viable business. Harriet has received many business and jewellery industry awards in recognition of her innovation and success and I, for one, can’t wait to see what she does next.
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.