University’s next generation of artists take the lead in Illuminate 2018

Students, alumni and staff from the University will play a leading role in Plymouth’s spectacular light festival Illuminate, which returns to the city’s Royal William Yard this week.

The festival will offer visitors a dazzling and immersive experience, with projections and light installations set out across the Yard, and many opportunities for crowds to interact with the work and the artists.

As Illuminate builds towards Mayflower 400 in 2020, and beyond, this year’s festival is to be bigger and better than anything that has come before. Extended to run over four days, from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 November, Illuminate 2018 features high-profile international artists, and new technologies that will see art formed of light and colour projected onto sea as well as land.

At the heart of Illuminate 2018 are students from the University, along with peers from Plymouth College of Art and City College Plymouth, who have all been working on original light art installations. BA (Hons) Fine Art students Eliza Newman, Jaydan Alexander and Bethany Thomas will showcase their works – ‘Our Journey’, ‘Iridescent’ and ‘I Hope They Remember You’ respectively – in Ocean Studios, while University alumni Juliet Middleton-Batts (BA (Hons) Fine Art and MA Contemporary Art Practice) and Paige Alexander (BA (Hons) Fine Art) also make a return to Illuminate this year. 

Associate Professor in Fine Art, Phil Power, has created an installation involving the Yard’s iconic Stothert and Pitt cranes, and BA (Hons) Media Art Associate Lecturer Rachael Allain’s piece, Epipelagic Drifters, highlights the importance of plankton for the wellbeing of the environment, and the impact of marine plastic on the oceans. It features voice-overs from leading marine researchers at the University.

Media Arts Associate Lecturer Tim Mills and students Rebecca Brown, Sira Eriksen, Harry Foreman, Danielle Knight, Rufus Scott and Phoebe Summers have also worked to develop a response to the themes of Rachael’s work, and Illuminate more widely. The results will be shown alongside Epipelagic Drifters in Ocean Studios.

Professor Chris Bennewith, Head of the School of Art, Design and Architecture and a member of the Illuminate steering group, is also part of an internationally renowned art and design collective working with light – Squidsoup. He said: 

“Light festivals around the world create wonderfully vibrant and engaging social events for cities and their citizens to enjoy. They are a fantastic display of a city’s creativity and a great, fun, family event that gives people something to look forward to during the dark winter months.

“We are excited to be able to show off some of the region’s excellent creative talent, and excited that so many of our artists this year have links with the University and the other institutions in the city. Something to be really proud of.”

Illuminate project manager Claire Honey, from the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) said: 

“It is fantastic to see so many students from different institutions across Plymouth want to get involved in this year’s festival. Illuminate is committed to supporting the next generation of artists in Plymouth, and to helping the creative industries grow.” 

Illuminate is delivered by Made in Plymouth Community Interest Company (CIC) – a collaboration between the University, RIO, Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth Culture – with support from Urban Splash, Plymouth City Council and Visit Plymouth.

Illuminate is free to attend, although there is a nominal charge for some of the workshops. For more information, visit Illuminate Light Festival.

Fine art students’ work lights up festival

Experience Bethany Thomas’ animated ‘I Hope They Remember You’, which makes us consider how we want to be remembered. Eliza Newman’s light and sound installation, ‘Our Journey’, focuses on sensual responses when sharing a physical experience. While Jaydan Alexander’s installation ‘Iridescent’ features a front bumper of a car with headlights resting upon the top, as if the car is coming out of the space around it.

Alongside these current BA (Hons) Fine Art students, Phil Power, Associate Professor in Fine Art, also exhibited a piece involving the Yard’s Stothert and Pitt’s cranes, as part of his work to turn spaces into places.

Find out more about their work at the festival

‘Our Journey’ by Eliza Newman