Oxfords Christmas Light Festival-Freelance Contract

Sep 08 2020

Oxfords Christmas Light Festival
Celebrating our communities…


Festival Background
The Christmas Light Festival is a free arts festival that takes place in Oxford in November and
marks the start of the festive season for the city. The festival is usually city centre based,
with events taking place over a weekend in outdoor spaces across the city and in indoor
cultural venues. The first day of the festival always coincides with the city centre Christmas
Lights coming on and a lantern parade involving over 450 participants winding its way
through the city centre streets. Thereafter, audiences experience spectacular light
installations, festive markets, performances in outdoor locations and stunning projections
onto some of Oxford’s most iconic buildings.
Historically the city council has commissioned and produced the festival in close partnership
with over 20 cultural organisations on behalf of communities across the city. In 2019 the
festival brought together 82 different delivery partners and performance groups to deliver
over 140 performances and events across the weekend. Collectively festival partners
worked with 5,979 people participating in 174 workshops and during the hours of the
festival the city centre saw an increase in footfall of over 50,000 with 94% of people taking
part in our public survey, rating the festival as ‘good or excellent.’
For a more visual taste of what the festival involves visit our website gallery:


The festival in 2020
In 2020 we will be bringing activity out from the city centre into the residential areas of our
local oxford communities with creativity that spills out of people’s houses and streets.
Our words of inspiration for this year’s programme are: real life heroes, the light that moves
us forward, build back better, green recovery, new beginnings, my community, being
We’ll be creating lots of resources to help people get involved and to help them make their
street come alive over the weekend of 20 to 22 November 2020. There will be social media
campaigns using the following hashtags, #bethelight #locallighttrail, #ourlightparty
supporting individual households and streets to create that same sense of wonder with local
trails and doorstep challenges that will enable everyone to take supporting individual households and streets.

We hope people will feel uplifted and inspired and that our communities will feel a sense of
local pride in where they live and in their city.
The 2020 festival is being led by Oxford City Council on behalf of and with a consortium of
partners: Fusion Arts, Film Oxford, OCM (Oxford Contemporary Music), AOFS (Arts at the
Old Fire Station) and Tandem Arts Collective.

The evaluative context for this year
We have embarked on a journey in 2020 to radically change how the festival is delivered
and how it is led. We would like our evaluation to begin to address the following questions:

 What has worked this year in terms of our ambition to enable communities and
partners to take more ownership of the festival?
 How is the new leadership consortium developing the organisations involved?
 What is there still to explore in relation to alternate leadership models for a festival
of this kind?
 How do we measure success and tell the story of the festival’s impact on participants
and audiences?
It is expected that our evaluation of 2020 will provide the foundations for a funding bid to
continue developing the leadership and delivery model of the festival so that we can do
more to achieve our agreed aims, which are to:
 Ensure the festival reflects and engages more with grassroots organisations and
 Build a sustainable vision and organisational structure for the future of the festival
(breaking the yearly fundraising cycle currently identified as a key challenge)
 Offer opportunities for genuine collaboration between key arts organisations in the
leadership of the festival
 Establish the festival as a catalyst for change – place, space or state of mind
(incorporating creative consultation within the festival programme)
 Create opportunities to experience inspiring art and to be creative

 Raise awareness of environmental issues and move the festival towards a more
environmentally sustainable way of working

Freelance Contract Details
 From beginning of October 2020 until end-January 2021,
 To produce an evaluative report by end January 2021
 There is a fixed fee of up to £3,500 available for this work
 Christmas Light Festival takes place 20-22 November 2020 for which it is expected
you will be available
To apply
If you are interested, please submit both a C.V and a proposal document (no longer than 3
sides of A4) to Rachel Capell rcapell@oxford.gov.uk by 29 September 2020.
Your proposal should include;
 Fee quotation based on the maximum fee indicated and number of hours envisaged
 Details of what tasks you would undertake in order to gather evaluative material for
your report and any additional resources or support you would anticipate needing
from the festival
 Details of how your experience would enable you to deliver the areas of work listed
Your C.V should include the contact details for 2 referees.