Update: Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival - celebrating our communities

Published: Monday, 9th November 2020

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown measures, the Oxford Christmas Lights Festival has had to adapt some planned outdoor events into a digital format.

You can view the original press release on the festival.  Please note the following changes made below:

  • Festival projects that had been planned to allow limited ticketed entrance are now being live streamed and shared via the festival website. Some projects, including Car Park to Bright Spark – involving a roving bike and trailer housing a public inspired installation – are being postponed for a future festival year.

Festival Highlights are now as follows:

Glow Your Own is a workshop series that uses a simple LED coding kit to create a personalised digital light display. Members of the public can take part in these workshops to learn how to make programmable illuminations for showing during the festival (Make an illumination). The workshops are taking place through October at the IF Oxford Festival and via the festival website in November. Kits are available to buy and the public can Buy One Give One Free for distribution to low income families.

Local Light Trails are community based events. Local street champions can register for their street to take part and even apply for a grant of £50 to organise resources for residents to make displays and illuminations for the trail. All the registered streets and illuminations will appear on a light trail map on the festival website. 

Doorstep Celebrations are an opportunity for local communities to show their creativity and, in an echo of the Clap for the NHS, bring people together for a moment of caring and sharing. The timing for these events will be organised locally through street champions.

Cultural partners have found many exciting ways to capture the spirit of the festival without gathering large crowds.

Global Film captures the energy, dynamism and spirit of the dance communities in Oxford and its twinned cities Ramallah (Palestine), Perm (Russia) and Grenoble (France). Dancin’ Oxford, who have presented a packed programme of dance on stage during past festivals, will be working alongside 21 groups - 7 of which are international groups - and celebrating our international ties on screen.

Chirp & Drift from OCM and audio-visual artist Kathy Hinde, is an interactive, digital experience of a flock of moving, glowing, musical sculptures that perform a dusk-time chorus. The morse code chatter of these bird-like instruments will be generated from the bird-themed street names of Blackbird Leys, and real-time tweets from the viewing audience.

A Festival Bus will tour Oxford over the weekend. Its journey is illuminated by starry lights and stained-glass window designs by students from City of Oxford College with street artist Mani. The Oxford Bus Company open top bus, sponsored by Oxford Business Park and JACK fm, will be playing fun Christmas tunes plus messages of thanks from businesses to Oxford residents.

Creatures of the Night from Oxford University Museum of Natural History highlights the importance of moths as part of our ecosystem. Following a series of workshops in October, members of the public will be able to study the diversity of moths in the museum’s collection online. Using resources on the festival website members of the public can create a moth hotel or make a moth themed window decoration to display.

Windows of Kindness is a large-scale installation created by The Roarsomes, a collective of six young disabled artists. Their piece will feature a massive LED lit window sharing messages of kindness to be displayed in Cowley. Since the lockdown in March, The Roarsomes have been unable to meet in person, some are shielding due to health conditions, but have gathered weekly online to learn new skills and work with artist Groovy Su. They are supported by Cowley Road Carnival.

Luminous is an exhibition by Film Oxford Shadowlight Artists, a group of seven artists with learning disabilities based in Oxfordshire. The exhibition features painting, photography, animation, dance and a sculptural installation and can be viewed online during the festival weekend.

For more information on activities and trails please visit the Oxford Light Festival website.