Illuminate 2019

Toshiko Terazono, lecturer in architecture in the School of Art, Design and Architecture discusses how the Illuminate light festival inspires her students and creates a proud legacy for the city.


Going live

“Having a real, live project, such as Illuminate, and using it to connect multiple parties from different disciplines creates a clear goal for everyone. 

Over the years, we have been trying to embed multidisciplinary and team working elements into our teaching. 

It is always one of the most difficult parts of our teaching and skills development.

When running live projects it seems, once the project is finished, students become incredibly reflective about their own experience and what they learnt from the project. 

With this type of project, the working environment is encouraging students to communicate with each other and establish a working relationship. Learning processes and development has to happen at a faster pace compared to a normal studio environment that we are familiar with.”

Unlocking creativity

“I had a potential design project idea as part of BA (Hons) Architecture year one module. The brief and context of Illuminate was a perfect match for the students' brief. I worked alongside the Real Ideas Organisation and Professor Chris Bennewith to bring the student project to reality.”

Our collaborators:

Professor Chris Bennewith
Chris Bennewith

Our shelter

“Our project invloves 140 students from across our School of Art, Design and Architecture courses, together with 60 students from Yealmpstone Farm Primary school in Plympton.

They have been working together to design and make small shelters to be displayed at the Mount Edgcumbe festival site. 

We separated a total of 200 students into 11 teams and asked them to make a small shelter for children called ‘the village of shelter’. 

The idea of the project is to highlight the recycling of our waste as future building materials. 

Visitors to the festival can go inside all the shelters and look at the space from inside.”


“With any live project I run, architecture students feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Illuminate cropped 
Royal William Yard Illuminate
Illuminate 2016

“I believe IIluminate leaves a positive impression of Plymouth, and the festival makes people more aware of the city's natural beauty and its surroundings.”

Illuminate 2019
Illuminate 2019
Illuminate 2019

A festival for all

“The Illuminate festival is definitely for everyone. All of the installations are accessible – whatever your age. 

Even if you are a tourist and struggle with the English language, you can still enjoy all the light installations.

Work created by Paige Alexander for illuminate 2017

Illuminate light festival

Marking the countdown to Mayflower 2020

Illuminate, a spectacular light festival that connects the Mayflower 400 destinations across the UK and internationally, returned to the historic Royal William Yard and other venues during November/December 2019.

The festival offers an immersive experience, with projections and light installations, live performances and opportunities for audiences to interact with the works.

Find out more about Illuminate

Illuminate 2019