Reflecting on Light Night 2017

On Friday 6th October, Leeds glowed with projections, pop-up performances, installations and illuminations of every kind for the city’s annual Light Night event.

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There were no less than 12 Light Night events taking place across campus and Leeds University Library Galleries were delighted to participate.

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery welcomed back artist, Alice Clayden, to teach visitors how to finger knit and French knit. Over a hundred people added their textile creations to a specially built frame. Alice was inspired by the Gallery’s portraits of the Leeds-born Mr and Mrs Marshall who united Leeds communities in the 18th century by employing them in flax-spinning mills and providing education.  We wanted to “thread” the different communities of Leeds together! So, we encouraged our Light Night visitors to write what they liked best about the city and trail their knitting to where they lived on a map.

Over in the Treasures of the Brotherton, we played recordings from the University of Leeds Poetry Centre. We used touch-sensitive LED lamps to illuminate archives belonging to famous poets who are or were related to Leeds in some way. Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill, Helen Mort and the University’s first Professor of Poetry, Simon Armitage, could be heard reading their own work while each of their manuscripts were illuminated. The combination of a dark room with poems glowing in white proved to be an atmospheric, sensory experience. In fact, one visitor was so inspired by seeing some of Tony Harrison’s archive on display that she is considering applying to study a Masters here at the University!

Light Night wasn’t the only attraction. Visitors to the Treasures of the Brotherton, many of them first-timers, were bowled over by the beauty, depth and breadth of the collections on display. The Travelling Library stopped many people in their tracks. One lady, whose children and grandchildren had attended the University, completely fell in love with our exhibitions.

Everything is packed away now but we’re already looking ahead to 2018!

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