Lightpool Creative Conference

Lightpool Conference

Get ready to be inspired! You have the chance to connect with experienced light-creation professionals and take part in a dynamic program full of symposia, presentations, learning opportunities, and meetings with the organising teams of light festivals and Arts Council England. This is your chance to discuss current topics and open yourself up to fresh approaches and new sources of inspiration.

To help you and your organisation achieve success with a more audience-focused approach, our keynote speakers will dive into the topics that matter most to you right now. They will share tips and insights, as well as offer their expertise on a range of topics, including

  •  establishing a light festival,
  •  working with local communities,
  •  creating opportunities to sell your ideas and artwork to festival producers.
  •  Laura Daly – The Storm Cone, a case study
  •  representation in the art world
  •  ACE funding for Artists and Organisations

We have handpicked an amazing lineup of speakers who will guide you towards unlocking new insights to take your work and organisation to the next level. So, mark your calendars and get ready for an amazing event that will leave you energized and motivated!

Who is it aimed at
Artists, creative producers and organisations in the creative and cultural industries who have a connection to light.

Saturday 21 October 10am – 5pm

The Imperial Hotel, Promenade, Blackpool, FY1 2HB 

1: Welcome

  • Phil Holmes – Artistic Director Lightpool,
  • Chair LUTN,
  • Jennifer Cleary – Director, Combined Arts and North, Arts Council England

Why light – what makes it so popular with audiences.

The intro presentation will identify what is to come over the period of the conference identifying key themes that are of common interest and benefit to conference attendees. We will also talk briefly about LUTN to a wide audience.

2: So you want to run a Light Festival

Hosted by Abbe Robinson – Co-chair Light Up The North

  • Rachel Wood – Creative Programmes and Event Manager, Oldham Council
  • Gemma Saunders and Jude Jagger – Things That Go On Things
  • Julie Brown – Creative Producer, Light Up Lancaster
  •  Kate Doyle – Lightwaves

Get ready to ignite your creativity and spark your passion for light festivals! Join us for an exciting session where you’ll discover the magic behind 4 of the bright light festivals in the Light Up the North Network – Light Up Lancaster, Lightwaves, Illuminate Oldham, and Light Night Wigan & Leigh.

You’ll hear from the creative producers who have delivered outstanding achievements over the years, and they’ll be sharing their invaluable experiences on how to get started and create a spectacular light festival. As an artist, you’ll also learn how to get your artwork programmed into these amazing festivals. Get inspired and let’s bring more light and wonder to our world!

3: The Light Experience

Hosted by George Harris – Producer Light Up Lancaster


  • Ander Ugartemendia and Jone Vizcaino, Hotaru Visual Guerilla
  • Stephen Newby, Studio Vertigo
  • Axolotl
  • Angus MacKechnie, Director, Outdoor Arts UK

By attending this session, you will have the opportunity to gain insights from leading experts, and new artists, in the field of light art; both internationally and here in the UK.

Light festivals have the power to transform ordinary spaces into extraordinary environments, evoke powerful emotions, and bring communities together in magical ways. During this panel session, you will discover how artists utilise light to create stunning displays that leave a lasting impact at large-scale events, provide a calming atmosphere for relaxation, or an intimate experience for audiences.

We will also discuss the crossover between the more performative side of outdoor arts and the light night sector, as creative exchanges become more commonplace.

Whether you are an aspiring artist or simply intrigued by the impact of light, this session is bound to be an enriching experience for all. Join us now and immerse yourself in the transformative and magical world of light art.

4: The Grundy at Lightpool

Chaired by Paulette Brien, Curator – Grundy Art Gallery


  • Laura Daly (artist – The Storm Cone),
  • Shezad Dawood (artist, Island Patterns),
  • Lindsay Taylor (Curator of Salford Art Collection).

An opportunity to find out more about the work of the artists, the process of bringing their works to life, an insight into their career journeys and how their work aligns with Grundy Art Gallery’s curatorial programming. A chaired conversation followed by Q&A.

5: Light Up Equity

Chaired by Shanaz Gulzar – Creative Director of Bradford 2025


  • Akeelah Bertram
  • Ajay Chhabra, Nutkhut

Light up Equity is a series of provocation’s, conversations and discussions around diversifying the light art sector. How do we connect with new artists from the global majority? What are doing to support artists with disabilities? And how do we continue to diversify the light art sector so its reflective of the communities we seek to reach.

6: Arts Council Funding for Artists and Organisations

David Gaffney and Karen Cody will talk about how the Arts Council supports artists, and what sort of projects can be funded, with a focus on Project Grants and Developing Your Creative Practice. 


  • David Gaffney – Senior Relationship Manager, ACE
  • Karen Cody – Relationships Manager, ACE

7: Pitch Your Idea in 15mins

LUTN Partners

  • Abbe Robinson – Principal Arts Project Officer, Light Night Leeds
  • Rachel Candler – Producer, Lightwaves
  • Phill Hargreaves – Cultural Programmes and Event Manager, Bradford Council
  • Carolyn Primett – Head of Arts, Blackpool Council
  • Richard Williams – Manager, Blackpool Illuminations
  • George Harris – Producer, Light Up Lancaster
  • Rachel Willis – Director, Stella Creates
  • Lynsey Stephenson – Director, Stella Creates
  • Rachel Wood – Creative Programmes and Event Manager, Oldham Council
  • Neil Harris – Business Manager Culture, Arts & Heritage · Wigan Council

Let’s get creative! Light Up The North and its members are thrilled to invite passionate artists and organisations to submit their proposals for exciting new commissions. This is an extraordinary chance for artists to shine a light on their remarkable work and showcase their skills at the biggest light festivals in the North!

We are on the lookout for new, original and unique pieces of light art that will captivate the public and bring light art to an even wider audience.

We anticipate high demand for this session, so places must be reserved when making your conference booking. Sessions are restricted to a maximum of 10minutes to pitch, 5 minutes Q&A, and 2 representatives from your organisation. A briefing document will be forwarded following your booking.

8: In Conversation with Chila Kumari Singh Burman MBE

Hosted by Paulette Brien -Curator – Grundy Art Gallery

Award-winning artist, Chila Kumari Singh Burman will be in conversation with Grundy Art Gallery Curator, Paulette Brien. Together they will unpack some of the key concerns at the heart of the artist’s work and discuss how her work have evolved over the four decades of her practice.

In conversation followed by   Q&A

9: Light Entertainment: Different Community Perspectives

Hosted by Melanie Whitehead, TESP Artistic Director, Lead for the Old Electric


  • Tina Redford – Artistic Director, LeftCoast
  • Leon Patel – CEO Global Grooves
  • Sabir Musaji – Community Development Manager, The Leap

Light Festivals are shining a light on innovative ways to transform communities and attract tourism. By using light as a medium, these festivals ignite creativity, encourage active participation, and bring people together. You can play a crucial role in tapping into the power of community engagement and art.

Our speakers will inspire you to create a programme of work that fosters positivity and delivers tangible benefits to your local community. Together, we can illuminate the power of community-driven art projects and create a brighter future for all.

10: One to One National Lottery Project Grant (NLPG) Development Conversation


  • Deborah Best – Relationship Manager, Combined Arts
  • Angela Chappel – Relationship Manager, Combined Arts 

The one-to-one National Lottery Project Grant (NLPG) development conversations are for those who are planning to make an Arts Council England application for up to £30,000, and are first time applicants.

The Development conversation will be with a Relationship Manager and will be no more than 20 minutes, for a maximum of 2 people at each conversation.

The development conversation will be allocated on a first come first served basis.  

To request a NLPG development conversation we would like you to make your request and provide basic details of your project no later than 5pm 13 October 

To get the most from the time allocated for a development conversation we recommend you include the basic information in the form that will be sent after you have made the booking.  

The information you send will be made available to the Relationship Manager you will have the development conversation with, in advance of the 21st October.

Before attending the one-to-one meeting please read the NLPG Making an Application Guidance on the Arts Councils website

11: That’s a wrap!

Phil Holmes – Artistic Director Lightpool,
Carolyn Primett – Head of Arts, Blackpool Council

We Are Blackpool

Share to Social Media