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Light and the Creative Economy

Light Up the North National Conference

Time & Date: Thursday 18th October to Wednesday 19th September

Light and the Creative Economy Light Up the North National Conference

Venue: Winter Gardens Blackpool
Dates: Thursday 18 & 19 October

Register here

Hosted by the Lightpool Festival, the Light Up the North Network (LUTN) of leading northern light festivals presents its second national conference in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, 18-19th October 2018.

The conference aims to bring together funders, cultural businesses, artists and producers to explore and debate the creative economy,  light art and festivals, alternative forms of finance in the sector and the social and environmental sustainability of our festivals and cities. Using light festivals as case studies, we will share expert insight as to their impact on audiences, local economy and cultural infrastructure development.

The conference will be a marketplace for artists and creative producers engaged with light to meet and share ideas. Through the Thursday and in the morning of the Friday we’ll be hosting structured networking sessions, to make the most out of the time we have together. We are also welcoming representatives from leading European light festivals.

With the Arts & Culture Finance Fair, you will develop an understanding of the possibilities for financing cultural activities beyond grant funding, learning how repayable finance can be used to drive forward creative and cultural ventures, creating ideas for new projects and collaborations.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Arts Council England: Francis Runacres – Executive Director of Innovation and Enterprise
  • Arts Council England: Jane Tarr, Director of Resilience
  • Artist: Mark Titchner
  • BBC Philharmonic: Simon Webb – Manager of BBC Philharmonic
  • Great Exhibition of the North: Carol Bell – Director
  • Inside Out Dorset: Bill Gee – Creative Producer and Artistic Director
  • Interference, Tunis: Bettina Pelz – Curator, Artistic Director
  • Light Up the North : Ann Wishart – Chair
  • Ocubo, Portugal : Carole Purnell – Founder/CEO


Even Itinerary 

Thursday 18 October (10.00-17.00) 

10.00: Registration
11.00: Conference and Arts & Culture Finance Fair
17.00: Networking reception
19.00: Light Odyssey presented by Lightpool Festival (discounted tickets will be available for participants of the conference)

Friday 19 October (10.00-14.00)

10.00: Facilitated networking for artists and creative producers interested in light art and festivals
12.00: Conference ends

Light and the Creative Economy – artist micro commissions

Open to artists based in the UK, funded by Arts Council England we would like to invite 5 artists to create new work in response to the themes and content of the conference in creative and innovative ways. We are looking a range of creative responses that use light as the medium to communicate, interrogate, explore or play with the content or themes of the conference. These responses could happen on the day of the conference itself, or afterwards at LUTN partner festivals. The brief is here budget £1,000.

Deadline for application is 27th September.

Light Odyssey presented by Lightpool Festival

Thursday 18 October  (19.00)

Following the Conference we would love you to stay with us for the launch event of the Lightpool Festival – Light Odyssey – a once-only performance with BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and international teams of animators, bringing the Empress Ballroom to life in jaw-dropping 3D. Tickets for the Light Odyssey can be purchased from the Winter Gardens website (participants attending the conference will be offered reduced entry)

For more details on Light and the Creative Economy Conference go to LUTN or contact:

Light Up the North Network (LUTN)

The network is made of seven northern light festivals which have come together to share their collective expertise to support both the development of the partner festivals and the wider sector. Through regional, national and international networking and collaboration LUTN nurtures artistic ambition through artist and producer development, co-commissioning and joint fundraising. The capacity and depth of cultural practice within the network enables LUTN to support emerging artists, explore technical innovations and create aspirational work to deliver a compelling offer for audiences. Supported by Arts Council England.

Blackpool Illuminations: 31 August–4 November

LightPool, Blackpool: 18 & 25-27 October

Light Night Leeds: 4 & 5 October

Light Up Lancaster: 2 & 3 November

Enchanted Parks, Gateshead: 4-9 December

Lightwaves, Salford Quays: 7-16 December

Lumiere, Durham 2019


Nesta is an innovation foundation based in the UK. The organisation acts through a combination of practical programmes, investment, policy and research, and the formation of partnerships to promote innovation across a broad range of sectors.


Winter Gardens Blackpool
97 Church St