SHINE Emerging Artist Programme 2021

Light Up the North (LUTN) is a network of 6 light festivals across the north of England. In 2021, four of the festivals are joining together to award funding to emerging artists working with light, to produce and exhibit new commissions at  their 2021 light festivals.

The SHINE programme aims to nurture and develop new talent, giving artists the opportunity to exhibit or perform new work at four of the LUTN festivals (Light Night Leeds, Light Up Lancaster, Lightwaves at Salford Quays and Lightpool in Blackpool). Up to two artists or collectives will be awarded substantial commissions of up to £10K to realise ambitious new artworks.  Some basics – the artwork(s) will need to:

  • Be suitable for outdoor winter light festivals
  • Be artistically challenging/interesting and of high quality
  • Be structurally resilient enough to withstand the winter weather at multiple festivals (October – December) and transportation across our festival network

For 2021, the successful commissions will also need to:

  • Focus on environmental sustainability in their design and embody best practice in their delivery
  • Be of mid/large scale – they are encouraging ambitious proposals
  • Be created for audiences to enjoy/experience even with social distancing restrictions in operation

As well as financial support, each artist will also receive a full induction to the programme, as well as training and mentoring from across the LUTN partnership. They will work directly with commissioned artists to support their development, with guidance in areas such as marketing, finance, production, risk assessments and fundraising. This will all be delivered safely following government pandemic guidelines.

To be eligible to apply to the SHINE programme you must be a UK-based artist who is perceived as an emerging talent (regardless of age) with the ability to achieve their ideas to a high quality. Please read the full information and FAQs before submitting your application via lightupthenorth.com/shine2021

The deadline for submissions is 5pm Tuesday May 4 2021

What can you create?

LUTN are specifically looking for artists with bold, fresh ideas that may also have the potential as light artworks to be enjoyed as a ‘roaming’ or ‘multi-site’ experience for audiences.  Proposals must be for work of a contemporary nature, possibly utilising digital technology, where the creative use of light is the basis for the idea.  The artwork needs to be weather-proof, able to withstand strong winds, be structurally sound (if applicable) and be suitable for presenting outdoors at our locations and timescales.  They are especially interested in work which can cater for large socially distanced audiences, and activities or events which are accessible to families.

The LUTN festivals where you will be exhibiting:

Light Night Leeds (Leeds) – http://www.lightnightleeds.co.uk

Lightpool (Blackpool) – https://www.visitblackpool.com/things-to-do/festival

Light Up Lancaster (Lancaster) – http://lightuplancaster.co.uk

Lightwaves (Quays Culture at Salford Quays) – http://quaysculture.com


The festival programmes vary and their themes for 2021 are quite broad and you will not be expected to specifically address them. For example, Light Night Leeds has a wrap around theme of ‘nature and the environment’ while Light Up Lancaster’s ‘Flights of the Imagination’ simply invites artists to do just that and transport us all into a magical never-never land through light art.

NB Each festival will provide standard infrastructure support for your arriving artwork, however all artists fees and artwork production costs must be factored into your commission award.


How LUTN assesses your application

A panel of LUTN partners involved with curating SHINE 2021 will assess all applications.  They aim to ensure the selected commission(s) will be high-quality work and afford the best experience for artists, audience members and locations.  They will assess the applications based on 4 areas:

  • Artistic quality – the strength & quality of the idea and the artist’s previous work.
  • Public experience who it is aimed at and how will the public engage with it?
  • Financial viability – can all elements of the activity be delivered effectively within budget?
  • Project management – can the piece be created within the time available?  Is the work durable enough for the festival dates? What materials are you using when considering the environmental impact and outdoor display?


When will you find out?

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday May 4 2021.  LUTN will shortlist and arrange interviews with artists where applicable in the 2 weeks following, with a provisional interview dates during w/c Monday May 17 2021.


Things to consider when completing your application:

  • Be clear about your project aims and the artistic idea behind the work.  How can you demonstrate quality through examples of your previous work?
  • Be specific about who your work is aimed at.  Can the public engage with your work in an interesting way while social distancing? What do you want the audience to get out of your work, and what impact will it have?
  • Demonstrate how your project can be realised for the budget available. If you require match or additional finance for your project let us know which funding schemes or sponsorship you plan to apply for.  (Please bear in mind that the festivals are partly funded through Arts Council England and you therefore may not be eligible for additional funding through any of their schemes.)
  • Give a clear indication of how your project will be managed from start to finish including the type of location(s) you would like to use and how work will be delivered on the night.

Each festival is currently in planning phase for 2022 so they are always interested to hear of exciting, distinctive proposals from artists that are likely to exceed the available budget for SHINE 2021 and/or require a longer development period.



Our festival activities generally take place in the evenings, for the dates/periods listed below. You must produce an artwork that can exhibit for this period of time and tour to all 4 of the commissioning light festivals. You will also need to consider your install / de-rig schedule.


Leeds: 14 – 16 October for Light Night Leeds

Blackpool: 15 – 30 October for Lightpool

Lancaster: 5 & 6 Nov for Light Up Lancaster

Salford: 3 – 12 December for Lightwaves


Note: There is a small overlap in dates for the Leeds and Blackpool light festivals. As such, Blackpool has agreed to flexibility in dates for presenting the SHINE commission(s) there.



The SHINE commission will include all artist fees and materials. If needed, you can apply for match funding from other sources, but ensure you have planned and prepared to do this.  Funding will be given to artists based on the quality of their idea and will need to include all technical, installation, operational and material costs, although reasonable travel and transportation costs will be considered separately .  Accommodation can be provided by the host festivals if required. Other costs such as meals and general overheads must be factored into the commission.


Terms and Conditions

By applying to be a SHINE artist you agree:

  • Your project/activity will be ready for exhibition at all four 2021 festivals
  • Your work is deliverable within the timescale of the programme and will be delivered on budget.
  • To attend an initial induction, production meetings and site visits where reasonably required.
  • You must have relevant Public Liability Insurance for your activity, to a minimum £10 million cover.
  • To supply, in advance, copy and images for marketing purposes as and when required
  • To provide evaluation feedback on completion of the commissioning fund, in line with the framework provided



LUTN can offer successful applicants:

  • Production advice and practical support, including technical and producing support
  • Training and mentoring
  • On-site production support including security, event staff and volunteer stewards
  • Profiling through festival PR and marketing campaigns

Key Project Dates

  • Tuesday May 4  – Deadline for submissions
  • w/c Monday May 17 – Interviews for shortlisted artist(s)
  • w/c Monday June 21 – SHINE induction day – potentially via Zoom
  • July – September – Development period for commission(s)
  • 14 – 16 October – Light Night Leeds, Leeds
  • 15 – 30 October – Lightpool, Blackpool
  • 5 – 6 November – Light Up Lancaster
  • 3 – 12 December – Lightwaves, Salford Quays
  • Dec 2021/Jan 2022 – Evaluation


NB: SHINE commission(s) are subject to each festival receiving Arts Council England funding


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