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Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival - celebrating our communities

Community-based event takes place around the city and online

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Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival has traditionally been a major event drawing people into the city centre for a weekend of extraordinary activities for all. This year, from 20 - 22 November, the festival will take place in a safe, socially distanced way, both in communities and online.

The Festival launches on Friday 20 November at 4pm with the streaming of a film by regular festival artists Luxmuralis with Fusion Arts. Inspired by the collections of our leading museums, the film will be projected onto some of Oxford's iconic buildings. It can be watched on digital platforms and via the festival website from the comfort of home, marking the start of Oxford’s Light Festival 2020.

More people can take part in an updated version of the lantern parade by creating their own illuminations along with projects to design illuminated window scenes. IF Oxford, the festival of Science and Ideas and Fusion Arts, are running a series of six weekly online workshops to make programmable light displays. Further ‘create and make’ resources will be shared on the festival website and households are being encouraged to decorate their windows, doors, balconies and gardens for local light trails over the weekend. Once registered via the website, streets will feature on a map of outdoor local light trails for people to safely share in their neighbour’s creations!

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Minister for Culture and City Centre said:

“This year’s Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is an important opportunity for our local communities to share in a moment of uplifting creativity. The wonderful ideas and activities being offered under the festival banner mean we can all enjoy the fun and spectacle in our homes and around our local areas. Bringing the festival out into the community this way is inspiring and I hope everyone will get involved."

Other festival projects will be taking place around the city’s districts created by Oxford’s leading cultural organisations, including a roving artwork travelling around the city by bike, an illuminated collection of instruments playing tweets and a majestic stained glass window offering messages of hope. As well as the ‘make and create’ activities there will be live streamed work including a collection of dance performances by 28 groups from Oxford and twinned cities Ramallah, Perm and Grenoble. Many organisations will be working with community groups in specially adapted workshops and offering online activities.

There will be three strands of activities that families and individuals around the city can get directly involved with: Make an illumination; Local Light Trails; Doorstep Celebration.

Encouraging as much public involvement as possible there are ideas to inspire, based on thoughts that have very much been with us over the past months: The light that moves us forward; Build back better; Green recovery; My community; Real-life heroes; Being thankful.

The festival website will be a hub of information showing how to get involved locally and includes resources, how-to videos, galleries of images showing what people have made and details of what’s happening in local communities.

The festival has spread over the whole city with opportunities for everyone to get involved. To find out all the details visit oxlightfest.com

All images Courtesy of Jeff Slade.

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