Aberdeen to switch lights on at SPECTRA

SPECTRA, the festival of light held in Aberdeen, is back after a missing an edition in 2019. It runs from 13-16 February under the theme ‘Scotland’s Coasts and Waters’.

Begun in 2016, Aberdeen City Council (ACC) skipped the 2019 edition in order to, “develop the event in a sustainable manner and increase its international stature in the years ahead.” For its return SPECTRA has five new commissions and 12 works in total.

“Aberdeen is a city inextricably linked to the sea through our heritage, industry and culture,” noted ACC culture spokesperson Marie Boulton, “so it’s exciting that this year’s theme celebrates Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters and I’m really looking forward to seeing that reflected in the artists’ work.”

There’s also an offer for arts professionals, with the third edition of the SPECTRA Catalyst Conference taking place on 14 and 15 February. Under the provocation ‘What is culture’s hidden contribution to a city’s sustainability?’ it will welcome delegates from the fields of culture, tourism, heritage, music, diplomacy and business. Adele Patrick (founder, Glasgow Women’s Library), Imandeep Kaur (co-founder, Impact Hub Birmingham), Tom Freshwater (head of public programmes, National Trust), Helene Ødegaard (arts advisor, Stavanger Smart City), Kate Craddock (founder, GIFT Festival) and David Henckel (artist and composer) are among the speakers.

As for the light sculptures, highlights are Designs In Air’s work Creatures from the Deep, featuring giant inflatable animals; Ship of the Gods from duo Heinrich and Palmer, which explores Norse mythology; and interactive light and sound installation Eloa of the Digital Forest by Steve Symons.

Steve Symons setup
Steve Symons setup

Host venues and locations include Marischal College Quad, Broad Street, Upper Kirkgate, Schoolhill, Marischal Square, John Lewis’s window on George Street, Look Again Project Space, St Nicholas Kirkyard, The Kirk of St Nicholas, and Aberdeen Art Gallery.

SPECTRA is produced by Curated Place.