The Light Up the North network hosted our third Light Festival Conference. The theme for 2020 was Why Light? Funded by Arts Council England, delivered virtually over 2 days the 7 sessions included artists, academics and festival organisers, international and from the UK. The programme started with Why Light? A provocation from festival producers on why light festivals are important, followed by how they inspire communities, we got a perspective from light artists in an Artists View. The first day finished with an informal networking drinks and catch up zoom call. On the 2nd day we started with the History of Neon and learnt about how neon art is being still created, we shared our experience of emerging artist programmes and finished with a panel of professionals from the sector discussing The Future of Light Festivals with three breakout rooms focussing on funding, producers and artists. 

With 23 speakers and 811 tickets requested for the 7 sessions the aim of the conference was to provide inspiring content that we can share with the whole sector, provoke and examine new thinking, generate new ideas for collaboration and connection. Whilst providing networking opportunities and a space and a time to re-examine our relationship with the light festivals by inspiring and offering leadership examples by providing provocation, debate and keynote challenges.


Anne Wishart

Arts Development Manager, Leeds City Council & Chair of Light up the North 2017-2021

Ann has worked in the field of Arts Development for over 20 years, she has previously worked at the Sydney Opera House, Pilot Theatre & Northern Ballet. In her current role as Arts Development Manager for Leeds City Council, she provides strategic support for the city’s cultural organisations through the arts@leeds programme and manages the Arts Development team who produce events including Light Night Leeds & Holocaust Memorial Day, Armed Forces and other city initiatives.

Ann was the chair of the LUTN network from 2017 – 2021, representing six light festivals from the North of England. Supported by Arts Council England, the aim of the network is to nurture artistic ambition through artist and producer development and co-commissioning and was on the board of ILO – International Light Festival Organisations supporting 30 Light Festivals across the world from 2019-2020.

Ann supports many initiatives through her role and is on the board of Leeds Arts, Health & Wellbeing Board (LAWHN), Sustainable Arts in Leeds (SAIL) and is on the steering group for the Age Friendly Leeds Partnership.


by Light Up The North