Oxford Christmas Light Festival is back next weekend with workshops, exhibitions, light trails and interactive displays in the city centre and local neighbourhoods, so stick the date in your diary and join in with the fun.
Funded by Oxford City Council, from November 17-19 artists and local communities will come together over the weekend with a host of fun activities including music, visual arts and craft sessions for the whole family, extraordinary light sculptures, art, markets and workshops.
From a giant son et lumiere projection from TORCH at the Radcliffe Humanities Building, to Islamic art at the History of Science Museum, illuminating events at the Bodleian Libraries, Diwali celebrations at OVADA, plus dance and fun at Barton Neighbourhood Centre, storytelling at The Story Museum, an Iraqi Women Arts and War exhibition and lantern parades in Rose Hill, West Oxford, Florence Park and Cutteslowe.
On Friday November 17 enjoy a late-night in the city centre museums with an after-hours visit to Modern Art Oxford, Museum of Oxford and the Story Museum.
Catch the stunning son et lumiére light projection ‘Temenos’ from TORCH at the Radcliffe Humanities Building and visit The Victorian Christmas Market and The Covered Market‘s ‘My city, your city’ exhibition, where you might bump into Santa!
Shadowlight Artists return to the Old Fire Station on Friday and Saturday with ‘Journeys’, Flo Fest will be lighting up the trees all over Florence Park in East Oxford with ‘Finding the Light’ transforming it into a spectacular space space filled with light sculptures, lanterns and lasers.
The event opens with a magical lantern procession led by roaming Oxford band Horns of Plenty and continues with a full music programme by various community and city choirs alongside a high energy set from the Sol Samba drum troupe.
On Saturday Florence Park has a community open mic afternoon concluding with an epic DJ laser show.
Take a turn around The History of Science Museum to find an absorbing Islamic family fun and arts exhibition curated by the Multaka Volunteers.
At the Weston Library, lead artist Rosemary Wyatt will be teaching needle writing on fabric panels to make lanterns, or take part in Rose and Robin printing experts to illustrate and print letterpress panels on paper and fabric as part of the Bodleian Libraries’ Christmas decorations.
Over at the Rose Hill Community Centre’s ‘Wondrous Whale Walk’ features a mesmerising mix of lanterns, lights and special effects on the theme of water, whales and the impact of plastics in our oceans and rivers, with Film Oxford and Rose Hill Junior Youth Club.
At Pegasus create their own ‘Glow Gallery’ using lasers, LEDs and phosphorescent boards with IF Oxford and there will be drop-in arts and craft activities for ages 4-8 to enjoy.
In the evening a procession led by a dhol drummer and dancers will progress from the city centre to the OVADA warehouse as part of ‘Diwali Glow’ xreated by artists Harmanpreet Randhawa and Mita Vaghela with a group from the South Asian community and members of the Oxford Hindu Temple and Community Centre.
‘Illuminating Knowledge’ is a special immersive exhibition from Iraqi Women Art & War. Featuring remarkable artworks including paintings, sculptures and digital installations, portraying the resilience and courage of these women. Bring an object to join in discussions, workshops (write your name in Arabic) and hands-on activities for insight into the artists’ stories and experiences. Enjoy Arabic music, Iraqi Baklava and Chai (tea)
And don’t forget to pop along to Bonn Square to catch the Downs Syndrome Oxford Singing Signing Choir and their popular crowd pleasing songs.
The Cutteslowe Light Trail at Cutteslowe Park features a magical lantern display, shadow theatre performances, music, crafts, a sensory disco and Zumba in the dark!
On Sunday visit Cowley’s Templar Square where Ark-T is hosting creative family workshops making festival flags plus music and face painting followed by a Community Meal at The Venue.
Get over to Barton Neighbourhood Centre for ‘Stories of Barton’ to share generational stories and enjoy the lights and glitter of a family disco with Dancin’ Oxford.
On the other side of the city in West Oxford has been creating an illuminated train for an after dark lantern parade. Or try WOLF‘s afternoon workshops where you can make an illuminated crown or a silhouette to appear in one of the carriages. The train will parade under illuminated treed led by the local musicians and dancers of Sol Samba.
You can also decorate your home with lights or window displays, get together with neighbours and be part of your local light trail by registering your street to appear on the Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival.
Film Oxford, Fusion Arts, WOPA, OVADA and The North Wall Arts Centre are working with local artists in lantern making workshop for schools, community groups and at drop-in sessions for families. The lanterns they make may be used to decorate a home, enrich the light trails or appear in lantern parades around Oxford.
“The OCLF is a unique event that brings local communities together. There is no limit to the imagination and creativity that each year makes this festival so exciting and a joy to be part of,” Karen Starr, Festival Coordinator explains.
It’s a lot to take in, so go to https://www.oxlightfest.com for all the information and get planning!