Artist Development

Spark

Introduction

The SPARK programme aims to nurture and develop artists working with light by supporting new and emerging artists through a bespoke package of opportunities provided by LUTN members, and focused on increasing inclusivity and diversity in the sector.

SPARK is an opportunity for early career artists wanting to develop their practice in light based and digital work for light festivals. Across 2 weekends the project will offer up to six artists the opportunity to be supported through a bespoke programme of workshops, networking events and talks scheduled to compliment two LUTN partner festivals.

SPARK - Artist Programme 2023

The SPARK 2023 has proved a magnetic attraction for new and emerging light artists.

The programme, which aims to nurture and develop artists working with light through a bespoke package of opportunities provided by LUTN members, drew interest from across the UK and the final seven participants come from a geographic spread taking in Brighton to Cumbria!

These early career artists, hoping to develop their practice in light based and digital work for light festivals, are benefitting from a specialist programme of workshops, networking events and talks scheduled to compliment two LUTN partner festivals – Light Up Lancaster (2-4 Nov) and Lightwaves Salford (7-10 Dec).

The artists, selected through an open call, each receive 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 the light art festivals, where the programme of activity take place.

The experience gives tailored insights into the key elements of making successful light art as well as collective support from a core group of LUTN creative producers. The personal touch is an important factor too as the SPARK artists have attended informal networking events with experienced light artists, launch events and artistic director led festival tours in Lancaster and Salford.

Organisers hope the current edition will prove as successful as SPARK 2022 which saw 75% of the participants creating new, digital and light art work this year.

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