Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2021 a resounding success

Dec 14 2021

Thousands of Oxonians enjoyed an exciting programme of events and illuminations all over Oxford over the weekend of 19 and 20 November , to mark the start of the festive season in Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival.

In previous years, events were presented entirely in the city centre, but this year’s festival shifted the focus into communities where people worked with artists on their own celebrations of light.

More than 50 organisations and artists supported workshops, activities and displays with many schools and community groups taking part. Well over 2,000 participants were involved in activities and an estimated audience of over 8,000 saw more than 28 events all over the city. As well as the fantastic support in communities, city centre businesses benefitted from a high level of footfall over the weekend.

In a weekend of co-created events, Oxford’s artists, creative organisations, local people, schools and community groups were involved in making beautiful illuminations and displays in creative hubs around the city. Throughout the autumn, numerous workshops and creative sessions were held online, in community spaces and schools in preparation for the weekend. The result was a host of activities that turned neighbourhoods into astonishing, enchanted places: the Glow Your Own interactive installation in Blackbird Leys the Cutteslowe Light Trail; Rose Hill’s Creative Lights; the Finding the Light and Creating on Borrowed Time experiences in Florence Park; the Light Garden at Ark-T; the Oxford Castle son et lumiere; Victorian Christmas Markets and light trails and window displays around the city. All were linked together by an illuminated Festival Bus touring the hubs and bringing more festive cheer to the streets.

Funded by a range of partners including Oxford City Council, Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is brought to you by a group of cultural organisations who, year-round, work in and with communities around the city. These include Ark-T, Arts at the Old Fire Station, Cutteslowe Garden Project, Film Oxford, FloFest/GloFest, Fusion Arts, IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival, LSD Promotions, Museum of Oxford, The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford Castle & Prison, OCM (Oxford Contemporary Music), Oxford City Council, Oxford Preservation Trust, Science Oxford, and TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities). They have been shaping the festival for many months, working together to make unique experiences for the city’s residents to join in. These collaborations have been forged by the hundreds of people making this year’s remarkable moment of celebration.

Paula Redway, Oxford City Council Culture and Community Development Manager said

“It is wonderful to see what can happen when cultural partners and communities are at the heart of organising a major city-wide event. Setting Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival in local neighbourhoods and seeing the number of people who took part from those communities around the city is precisely what the festival is about. The sheer quality of the weekend, and the engagement it had, shows how vital cultural events are to community cohesion, health and growth.”

Sponsorship is a critical factor in creating the festival. Festival sponsor Oxford Business Park extended their support to help fund the Finding the Light event in Florence Park that included lantern displays, light sculptures and a laser light show. Oxford Bus Company and JACKfm collaborated on the illuminated Festival Bus that linked events together as it toured around the city and visited community hubs where festival activities were taking place.

It is clear from the public responses that the weekend’s entertainment was a big success:

“Such a lovely event. Thank you so much for doing this and bringing some light into the community”

“Catered for real life people from every background coming together to enjoy the start of Christmas – magical!”

“This is brilliant, thank you so much! Please repeat!!!!”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Oxford City Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said

“The Oxford Christmas Light Festival has once again proved to be a resounding success. Its purpose is to bring communities together, share creativity and celebrate the city. There’s no doubt that those aims were met in abundance. Let’s build on this winning formula for future years and look forward to Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival 2022.”




Notes to Editor

Contact details

For more information contact Gill Jaggers, Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival
gill.jaggers@gmail.com 07961 922301

About the Christmas Light Festival

Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival was delivered by a consortium of partners: Art at the Old Fire Station, Film Oxford, Fusion Arts, OCM (Oxford Contemporary Music), Oxford City Council and other creative organisations.
Now in its 13th year, Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival was funded by Oxford City Council and sponsored by Oxford Business Park, Oxford Bus Company and JACKfm.
The following contributed to the 2021 Oxford Christmas Light Festival:

• Ark-T
• Arts at the Old Fire Station
• Cutteslowe Garden Project
• Film Oxford
• FloFest/GloFest
• Fusion Arts • IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival
• Headington Action
• LSD Promotions
• Museum of Oxford
• The North Wall Arts Centre
• Oxford Castle and Prison • OCM (Oxford Contemporary Music)
• Oxford City Council
• Oxford Preservation Trust
• Science Oxford
• TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) Humanities Cultural Programme

Aimee Winkfield
Amy Nixon
Amy Peck
Andrew Manson
Catherin Poppensieker
Dee Moxon
DJ James Ussher
Emma Wood
Fran Gardner
Frog Arts Collective Gary Shenton
George O’Shaughnessy
Grace Exley
Groovy Su
Hannah Simpson
Horns of Plenty
Iona Fabian
Jamuna Hokan
Karen Monid
Laura de Moxon
Lois Muddiman
Malcolm Atkins
Michelle Johnson
Miguel Mocho
Paul Batten
Paul Smith
Phil Hanaway
Ramona Bigwood
Ross Ashton
Sarah Beeson
Simon Tipping
Thomas Page Dances
Tulasi and the Nepalese Drummers
Zahra Tehrani

Debbie Dance
Mark Davies
Prof Steven Gunn
Dr Sally Frampton Tom Hassell
Prof Patrick McGuiness
Julian Munby
Oxford Castle Committee Prof Sally Shuttleworth
Prof William Whyte
Prof Wes Williams

Abingdon & Witney College
Activate Learning
Barton Park Primary School
Chilworth Upper School
Cutteslowe Primary School East Oxford Primary School Larkrise Primary Schoo
lNew Marston Primary School
North Hinksey Primary School
St Andrew’s CofE Primary
St Ebbes CofE Primary School St Gregory the Great SchoolSt Nicholas Primary School West Oxford School
Windmill Primary School
Wood Farm Primary School

Community Groups
Ark-T Creativity Camps
Asylum Welcome
Blackbird Leys CDI
Cutteslowe Community Centre
Cutteslowe Community Larder
Cutteslowe Connected Church Choir
FloFest Lanterns
Herspace Rose Hill Junior Youth Club
Name It Project
North Oxford Association
OX2 Collective Youth Theatre
Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre staff and families
Parasol Playbase
Parasol Teens Roarsomes
Rose Hill Community Centre
St Michael & All Angels Church
Syrian Sisters
Wheatley Scout Group

Business Partners
Dutch N’ Such
Oxford Business Park
Oxford Bus Company

Images/extra media

Light Garden at Ark-T (please credit photographer Ed Nix), created by Ark-T with Groovy Su and Ramona Bigwood

Cutteslowe Light Trail (please credit photographer Ed Nix), Created by Cutteslowe Garden Project and the North Wall Arts Centre

Finding the at Light Florence Park (please credit photographer Ed Nix), Created by Flofest/Glofest and Fusion Arts supported by Oxford Business Park

Glow Your Own at Blackbird leys (please credit photographer Ed Nix), Created by IF Oxford science and ideas Festival supported by STFC, Science Oxford, Leys CDI and Fusion Arts

Sone et Lumiere at Oxford Castle (please credit photographer Ed Nix), Created by sound and light artists Ross Ashton (Projection Studio) and Karen Monid (Sound Artists in a collaboration between Oxford Preservation Trust and TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities) Humanities Cultural Programme

Creative Lights at Rose Hill (please credit photographer Ed Nix), Created by Film Oxford, the Frog Arts Collective and the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club

Creative Lights at Rose Hill (please credit photographer Film Oxford BFI student, Anna Bluemel), Created by Film Oxford, the Frog Arts Collective and the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club