University collaborates on new Art and Light Festival to transform Portsmouth into a night-time gallery

a ship made up of light projections in red

The free event will see local and national artists take to the streets for three nights of art and light installations

  • 25 October 2021
  • 5 min read

The University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries is a main collaborator on We Shine Portsmouth! Art and Light Festival taking place in November.

The free family-friendly event, led by the arts group Portsmouth Creates, will see local and national artists take to the streets for three nights (18–20 November) of art and light installations.

Opening on Thursday 18 November alongside the Commercial Road Christmas light switch-on, visitors can stroll through the city soaking up the sights as the streets and buildings of Portsmouth are transformed into a night-time gallery for the three-night event.

Lighting up the city

Nationally recognised light artists Heinrich & Palmer are set to wow audiences with their stunning mythical installation ‘Ship of the Gods' at St Mary's Church, Fratton. Originally commissioned for Hull Minster, the project was inspired by the Norse myth of Skidbladnir, a magical shape-shifting vessel which was large enough to carry all the gods and their equipment yet could also be folded up small enough to fit inside a pocket. Using 3D laser scanning technology, a voile screen, film, sound, and lighting effects the artists creates an impressive life-size 3D model which attracted an audience of over 40,000 people in four nights at Hull Lumiere.

This offers a wonderful opportunity for local communities to engage with the vibrant arts and culture that make our city such an amazing place to live, work and visit

Trevor Keeble, Dean of CCI and Professor of Design

Visitors will also have the rare opportunity to visit Victoria Park after-dark and witness a series of illuminated art pieces giving visitors a fresh perspective on a familiar space. While back in the town centre, popular Portsmouth artists Foursandeights and Pompey Banana Club will be collaborating with members of the community on a brand-new supersized project that will culminate in dazzling large-scale projections.

To add to this, there will be huge painted murals, large-scale light installations, dance performances, a lantern parade from Fratton Big Local, and much more to see as visitors stroll across the city.

Dean of CCI and Professor of Design Trevor Keeble said: “We are very pleased to be supporting Portsmouth Creates to deliver We Shine Portsmouth. This offers a wonderful opportunity for local communities to engage with the vibrant arts and culture that make our city such an amazing place to live, work and visit.”

CCI contribution

The CCI faculty has been heavily involved in We Shine for 2021 and its Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR) has collaborated with a wide range of artists to create the Audio Trails around the City, which have been integrated into an app. CCIXR is hosting visually impaired artist Clarke Reynold’s piece "To see the stars" within the Eldon building, and are collaborating with him on this piece. The Centre is also working with Thomas Buckley on his immersive installation project that will see butterflies (coloured by young people from around the area) come to life digitally.

a ship made up of light projections in white

Pippa Bostock, Business Director for CCIXR and a Director of Portsmouth Creates, said: “I'm delighted that CCIXR has been able to collaborate on a number of projects for We Shine 2021, working with communities and artists to bring the city to life in a new and unexpected way. We have worked on audio trails, apps, immersive experiences and light projection - and that's just a small taste of what the festival has to offer. I can't wait to see We Shine light up the skies in Portsmouth, and this is just the beginning – plans for We Shine 2022 are already underway.”

Alongside the amazing art and light installations, We Create Market will be back for its Christmas edition. Brimming with local makers, designers, and artists the pop-up market known for utilising unused urban spaces will return – location TBC. Open for late-night Christmas shopping from 5.00pm–9.00pm on Thursday and Friday and from 12.00pm9.00pm on the Saturday, it's the perfect place to stop by and shop local in time for Christmas.

I'm delighted that CCIXR has been able to collaborate on a number of projects for We Shine 2021, working with communities and artists to bring the city to life in a new and unexpected way

Pippa Bostock, Business Director for CCIXR and a Director of Portsmouth Creates

A spokesperson from Portsmouth Creates, the arts group behind the event and the We Create Market said: “We’re so excited for We Shine Portsmouth. Bringing cultural events and opportunities to Portsmouth is what we are all about. Lots of cities benefit from art & light festivals and we thought it was about time Portsmouth enjoyed one too.

“We’re working with a fantastic host of people including Arts Council England, The University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth City Council and the team behind Victorious Festival to create the event and we really hope it becomes a staple in the event calendar for the people of Portsmouth and beyond to enjoy.”

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