Artist Development



The SPARK programme nurtures and develops artists interested in working with light. In supporting new and emerging artists through a bespoke package of opportunities provided by LUTN members, SPARK is positively focused on increasing inclusivity and diversity in the sector.

SPARK is a great opportunity for early career artists wanting to develop their practice in light based and digital work for light festivals. Across 2 weekends in November, the project will offer up to ten artists the opportunity to be supported through a specially designed programme of informal workshops, networking events and talks scheduled to compliment two LUTN partner festivals – Light Up Lancaster (7-9 Nov) and Light Night Wigan (21-23 Nov).

SPARK - Artist Programme 2024

Ten artists, selected through an open call, will each be awarded bursaries of £300 to participate in the SPARK programme, with additional funds of up to £800 each, allocated to cover travel, accommodation and subsistence costs to attend Light Night Wigan & Light Up Lancaster, where the programme of activity will take place. 

The whole programme is designed to be welcoming, accessible, relaxed and friendly. SPARK artists will also be invited to share their current area/s of research and development and workshops will be tailored to key elements of making successful light art. Previous SPARK programmes have shown that participants really benefit from peer to peer sharing as well as collective support from the core group of LUTN creative producers. Where feasible, artists who are presenting work at Light Night Wigan/ Light Up Lancaster will deliver workshops for the SPARK participants.

SPARK artists will also be invited to attend rewarding, informal networking events and meetings arranged by the host festival, eg artists brunch, launch events, festival tours, and talks by key figures reflecting the diverse range of artists and makers who make up the art and light art sectors.

LUTN is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. This open call actively encourages submissions from artists from demographics currently under-represented in the light festival sector. We welcome applications from anyone regardless of their age, disability, ethnicity, heritage, gender, sexuality and socio-economic background. Adjustments will be made to meet any access requirements you have.

A Producer will coordinate the project.

Applications may be made in non-written formats, such as a short video or audio recording. (maximum 6 minutes).

How to Apply

Please send a very short CV, examples of your work and covering letter (or video or audio equivalent), outlining your interest and relevant artistic, light art, digital art skills and experience. We actively encourage applications from artists whose enthusiasm for taking part may exceed their current experience in light art. Please ensure your covering letter is no longer than 2 sides.

All applications will be treated in confidence.

Applications for SPARK 2024 are now closed.

Upload application. Acceptable file types, Word document, pdf, mp3, mp4. Maximum file size 10mb

Key Dates

Closing date for applications: 5pm, Friday 24 May 2024

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via zoom during w/c June 3

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application no later than Monday June 10

Please consider completing our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form which is entirely anonymous and not connected to your application. This will help us to understand whether we are reaching a diverse range of applicants.

To be eligible to apply to the SPARK programme you must be a UK-based artist who is perceived as an emerging or new talent (regardless of age). Submit your application via the form above.

2024 Equal Opportunities form no link to enable people to complete

LUTN 2024/25 Festivals

  • Leeds: 24-25 October – Light Night Leeds
  • Blackpool: 18-26 October – Lightpool
  • Lancaster: 7-9 November – Light Up Lancaster
  • Wakefield: 15-17 November – Light Up Wakefield
  • Barnsley:  tbc November – Barnsley Bright Nights
  • Wigan: 21-23 November – Light Night Wigan
  • Salford: 5-8 December – Lightwaves
  • Oldham: 21-22 Feb 2025 – Illuminate
  • Hull: 22-23 March 2025 – The Awakening
Lightlab 2017

Lightlab Artist Development

LUTN Spark artist development, was originally called Lightlab.

With public funding from Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, the Light Up The North network ran its first Light Lab in Blackpool, between March and June 2017. LUTN members nominated seven light artists who met together for two residential seminars, ten weeks apart, to develop new light work and respond to creative briefs pulled together by the LUTN members.

The Lab was facilitated by Blackpool Illuminations’ Creative Lead Alex Rinsler, with input from LUTN producers, visiting industry specialists, cultural influencers in Blackpool and Catherine Mitchell, ACE senior relationship manager.

The seven participating artists were: Aether + Hemera (Gloria Ronchi and Claudio Benghi); Mick Stephenson; Debi Keable; Fixed Grinn Collective (Tom Skinn and Rob Harrington); Chris Paul Daniels; Dave Lynch and David Ogle

Additional local partners included LeftCoast and The Grundy Art Gallery, which hosted an exhibition of the artists’ work developed in the Lab as part of the autumn show Paper, Canvas, Neon.

‘I have learned more about the Northern festivals, their aims, their challenges and the way their producers and curators operate. The Lab has provided a platform for us artists to critically discuss our intentions when producing a new piece of light art, deepening our practice and finding the common denominator between our aims – as artists – and the producers’ aims’

Gloria Ronchi – Aether + Hemera