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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - The Potentialities of Light Festivals

13th March 2014, 18:00 to 19:00, Fisher House, Ustinov College, Dr Timothy Edensor, Manchester Metropolitan University


This lecture examines the increasing use of lighting festivals in regeneration programmes, place branding strategies and place-making endeavours. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of light festivals across the western world and beyond. Lighting is increasingly conceived of as a way to re-enchant place and generate more enduring night-time economies. These festivals mobilise a diverse array of practices and aesthetics that include the production of extraordinary spectacles in central urban areas, more inclusive strategies to illuminate marginal areas of the city, the transformation through illumination of rural settings, and large scale vernacular participation that involves lighting. Dr Tim Edensor will draw on selective examples that span large scale spectaculars and smaller, vernacular events, including Durham’s Lumiere, Lyon’s Fetes des Lumieres, Perthshire’s Enchanted Forest, Matlock Bath River Boat Illuminations, Slaithwaite’s Moonraking Festival and the floats and rituals of Bridgewater Carnival. He will explore the ways in which festive lighting transforms nocturnal space. Dr Edensor will discuss how lighting can enchant space that is habitually apprehended by residents, consumers and workers, transforming, defamiliarising and dematerialising familiar structures, and producing symbolic cultural resonances with other times and places. He will then discuss the particularly rich potential for lighting to generate emerging atmospheres that combine emotion, sensation and affect in concert with the practices of participants and the affordances of space. Finally, Dr Edensor will explore how illumination can engender a rich sense of place by producing a shared conviviality, highlighting symbolic and unheralded features, and alluding to historical processes and events associated with place.

Directions to Ustinov College

Map - Ustinov College is denoted as building No: 52

This lecture is free to attend and open to all.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.