Illuminate 2017

I had the opportunity to be on the VIP guest list for Illuminate 2017, which took part at Royal William Yard on 24th November. What is ‘Illuminate’ you may ask?  Well it marks the anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower for America, which set sail from Plymouth in 1620, which reached (the later named) Plymouth, Massachusetts. With the ties of both these places growing stronger each year, 2020 will be the 400th anniversary.

A few days before the event happened, I got invited by Onshore Media to Royal William Yard to meet other student bloggers, who are Plymouth based. We got to socialise drinks and over a meal at Las Iguanas, talking about what they blog about and what they are up to right now, this being a courtesy of the manager of the restaurant and Onshore Media. We then got a ‘backstage tour’ of what would be happening on the Friday opening of the event. We also got to see some previews of some light installations as well as projects which looked fab as a preview and amazing on the actual night.


When it came to the actual night, I got to go to a VIP area before the actual event started, where there were some talks about projection mapping and what this weekend long event is about. My partner and I took the opportunity to make this into a date night, by having a look at the light installations and taking part of the audience performance of the ‘xylobands’, which are commonly used in Coldplay’s concerts. These wristbands light up in different colours according to whoever has the control for them, which synchronised with a dance and music performance by locals. After participating in these events, we ended the night with some Wagamama’s and a little walk to an archway leading to the waterfront.



What I really liked about this event is that it shows art in a different aspect. The most common time ‘light’ is talked about is in photography and not really for anything else. Having some experience in projection mapping, due to my course, and getting an industry point of view about it was of interest and I really wish a lot of people do get to know what it is. Using architecture that you can find and creating projections that fit with it perfectly, brings a whole new life to what you see. One of my favourite exhibitions at Illuminate was by Paige Alexander called ‘Ray of Light’ which showed strands of a yellow spectrum of colour. It stunned so many people and I’m not sure how Paige came up with the idea of this installation, but it was magnificent!


I see a lot of big, bright and beautiful things that can happen in this light festival in the future. There is so much space for artists to create and project their work, so I’m looking forward to what is next in store for the next #illuminate!