Emerging Artists – Light Up the North Conference Session

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This section will introduce examples of Emerging Artist programmes from across the network including the BRILLIANT programme hosted by Durham Lumiere, SHINE programme initiated by Leeds Light Night and adopted across the LUTN network. 

We will also discuss how Higher Education collaboration can enrich light festival programmes and hear about future plans of the LUTN Light Lab.

Speakers include:

  • Louise Dennison – Artichoke
  • Diane Watson – BRILLIANT artist
  • Abbe Robinson – Leeds City Council
  • Gemma Wood – SHINE artist

Louise Dennison – Producer for Artichoke

Louise is a producer with extensive experience of developing and producing learning and participation events, projects and programmes, working in a variety of arts organisations and across artforms. She is currently Producer at Artichoke with responsibility for the learning and community engagement programme and producing large scale outdoor events and festivals including Lumiere Durham, Lumiere London and PROCESSIONS. Artichoke specialises in producing high profile, unique, large scale outdoor arts and culture events which are enjoyed by millions of people both nationally and internationally.

She previously worked as the Head of Learning & Participation at live music promotors Serious, delivering a year-round national music Learning & Participation programme and producing live events such as EFG London Jazz Festival.

Prior to this Louise worked for Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts encouraging schools in disadvantaged areas to engage with arts organisations across the UK. She also produced the Participation & Engagement programme at Norfolk & Norwich Festival, increasing the opportunities for audiences across Norfolk to attend events engage with artists, performances and participate as part of the artistic programme.

Diane Watson  – Artist 

Diane Watson was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1968, developing an early fascination with pattern and colour inspired by the wallpaper sample books brought home by her painter and decorator father. Diane went on to study Ceramics at Loughborough and later a degree in Textiles, which led to a teaching post at CCAD where she eventually became course leader for Fashion and Textiles. Diane also has an MA in Ceramics, graduating from Sunderland University in 2009. 

After leaving teaching, Diane has thrown herself fully into her own practice, taking long contemplative walks along the beautiful north east coastline with her rescue dogs Bobby and Finn, to inspire her environmentally-themed work. These have borne many discoveries, starting out as a quest for interesting flotsam and jetsam but culminating in an awareness of the extent of damaging impact of plastics which are washed up on the seashore. 

Diane’s current work focuses on the myriad of plastic items washed up by surge tides along the North East coast. Her collection of thousands of plastic tops, toys, bottles, lighters and other discarded items are used to create kaleidoscopic patterns reminiscent of the 1970s wallpapers of her childhood.

Abbe Robinson, Artistic Director / Producer, Light Night Leeds

Abbe Robinson is a Principal Arts Project Officer for Leeds City Council and has curated and produced Light Night Leeds, the city’s annual free multi-arts and light festival, since 2014. In that time she has developed the festival significantly to become the UK’s largest annual light festival and the biggest city centre event in Leeds’s cultural calendar. In 2019 the event attracted an estimated 150,000 visitors across two nights and showcased the work of hundreds of local, national and international artists. As part of her role, Abbe initiated the SHINE programme which is now a LUTN project, mentoring and commissioning a range of emerging light artists. Despite the challenges of 2020 Abbe adapted Light Night Leeds to present a range of light art across the winter season including Laser Light City by Seb Lee-Delisle. Abbe’s background is in film production and she has also worked as a Programmer, Producer and Artistic Director for a range of film and arts festivals across the UK.

Gemma Wood MA – Visual Artist

Gemma Wood of ‘being nowhere’ has recently completed a Masters degree in Creative Practice at Leeds Arts University. Her research explores well-being, connection and mindfulness. She has created growing installations and immersive environments for festivals and collective exhibitions including Artwaves 2017,18,19 and (planned 21) Yorkshire Hub, Thought Foundation, Space Invaders York, Art&2018 contemporary Art Show. Leeds Light Night, Light UP Lancaster and Lightwaves Salford Quays as part of the shine programme.

Gemma has teaching experience and provides school workshops bringing contemporary art practice to the classroom, that also encompasses the wider curriculum. She investigates engagement and participation from the production stage during workshops to immersive environments at events, gathering data about impact.

The work is transformative, using philosophy, science and spiritual knowledge to encourage participants to question and rethink their relationship with what it means to be human in this time and space.

Annabeth Robinson – Programme Leader BA(Hons) Animation, University of Salford

Annabeth is an Electronic Artist and Filmmaker based in Leeds, predominantly using screen based virtual worlds and game platforms since 2005, to explore multi-user interactive artworks and education experiences. Her research into serious games – was jointly with University of Leeds, Department of Earth and Environment – producing a virtual mapping game for the Geology Dept. She has co-presented this project at conferences including ALT-C in September 2015 and JISC Digifest 2017. The project won a Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Digital Innovation in Teaching or Research 2016. It also was shortlisted for the Guardian Higher Education Awards – Digital Innovation 2017.

Previously a lecturer at Leeds Arts University ( formerly known as Leeds College of Art ) for 15 years, teaching across HE Courses in Animation, Design for Digital Media, Photography & Digital Imaging, Visual Communication and MA Creative Practice.

As a freelancer, Annabeth has created visuals and animated video backdrops theatre, arts installations and community shows including Ya Devi – at the Stage, Leeds – May 2015 – an Arts Council funded Dance Theatre show devised by Devika Rao. She was also involved in film-making and projection aspects of Mermaids Tale, an immersive theater project at Bramley Bath’s November 2015, devised by Yorkshire Life Aquatic, and funded by Arts Council and Heritage Lottery.

This session is part of Why Light – The Future of Light Festivals. Join us for the third Light Up the North conference being held online on Weds 9 and Thurs 10 December.

If you’re a festival producer, event manager, artist, practitioner, curator, local authority, funder or other organisation interested in light art festivals then this conference is for you.

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