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Camden Spotlight

What a festival! Looking back on Light Up Kilburn

We enjoyed an awe-inspiring season of light and creativity
A green metallic robot and a blue metallic robot reach their arms to each other with a red tree backdrop
Light Up Kilburn brought you light, art, sound, music and creativity.

This was the first festival of its kind in Kilburn transforming the winter's evenings.

  • When: 9th to 24th February 2024

  • Where: Along and around Kilburn High Road and Kilburn Grange Park

We provided workshops in local schools helping school children to explore their creativity. There were workshops in half term to keep the kids occupied and a giant puppetry workshop introducing puppetry performance skills.

Artworks lit up windows along the High Road every evening from 5-9pm. On 24th, we had a closing extravaganza with a giant puppet parade, artworks lighting up the park, a night market with food and local crafts, music and more.

Did you come along? We'd love to hear from you.

Local-focussed festival

We first started engaging the local community with open calls inviting artists and creatives to be part of the festival working on a number of paid artworks. They helped create window activations along the High Road, artworks that lit up Kilburn Grange Park, a designer who created a map of the festival, light projections and more!

Along the High Road

Walking down Kilburn High Road, you could take in artworks along the way throughout the festival. This is what could be seen every evening 5-9pm (with map below):

1. Kaleidoscope for Kilburn (Loose Ends 263). Andy Welland created a window installation that fused the spirit of the Kiln Theatre; people coming together and a true fusion of Kilburn’s identity.

3. Tiled Flowers. At Beit Alwared Café, Paige has drawn inspiration from the culture of tiles, patterns and colour in her window installation. At night the piece came alive with light.

4. Gaumont State Cinema Illuminated. This historic landmark brightened up winter evenings as it was illuminated in fluorescent purple. On the closing night, Masha Rozhnova's projections came to life with musicians moving across the building.

5. Our Song-less Wonderers. Kerry Lemon created an urban re-wilding on Kilburn High Road. Our Song-less Wonderers is a collection of three hand drawn butterflies. Using gobo lights, these ethereal drawings were projected onto the pavement.

6. Gleaming Illumination through Textile Art. At Traid Artist Auda Sakho created a window installation focusing on fabric reuse.

A thick diagonal pink line from the top left to bottom right represents Kilburn High Road on an illustrated map with transport links and a few buildings listed
Over 250 joined us for creative workshops

We put on workshops for local schools, encouraging school children to embrace art and making. On top of that, there were community workshops open to all.

Upcycle Workshop

We provided the lights, they brought the magic! Children and parents brought a plastic bottle to upcycle. Artists Luisa Mascaró and Sarah Chalkie Cloonan led the workshop, showing participants how to make and upcycle bottles into lanterns and bug hotels to give them new life.

Seedlings Workshops

Local artist, Lavinia Cascone hosted two magnificent lantern making workshops. They combined ancient traditions of paper lanterns and withies craft making, representing a seed of light, marking the new season and offering wishes for the year ahead.

Giant Puppetry Workshop

We were joined by multi-award winning theatre company, Smoking Apples for a half day giant puppetry workshop. It included an introduction to puppetry performance, followed by learning how to operate their giant light up puppets in preparation for the closing parade.

All Aboard Workshop

One of Brent's local artists Yasmin Braunhofer delivered a workshop exploring textiles and print. They created a communal piece of art paying homage to the Tin Tabernacle's colourful history.

A grand finale!

On the closing night, we kicked off celebrations with a giant puppet parade. Smoking Apples theatre company led a procession through the roads of Kilburn with two giant puppets and a music band. The rest of us followed as neighbours and locals looked on, clapped and joined in.

After a spectacular arrival at Kilburn Grange Park, there were light artworks and a night market for all to enjoy.

Lighting up the park were:
  • Gaylene Gould's The Well Keepers. A light installation inspired by London’s ancient and forgotten healing wells, connecting women from the African diaspora. Gaylene also gave a moving spoken word performance considering the people in all our lives who care for us.

  • Linnet Kamala's Bass Tone Regeneration. This celebrated Kilburn’s connection to popular music and sound system culture in the UK taking inspiration from Sonny Roberts who opened the first Black owned recording studio in the UK.

  • Yasmin Nicholas's Familiar Territory, extracts from ‘Home Is’. These projections illuminated the pathways with visual light poetry. Extracts from the poem 'Home Is' were projected onto the floor. The piece considered what does home mean to you and where is it?

  • Raphael Daden's Time for Change. An interactive installation where visitors used tree leaf templates to leave positive messages about their connection with nature. Exploring the environment and how we can collectively create a positive and lasting impact. 

  • Michael Speechley's Resilience: The Earth that Lies Beneath our Feet. Taking passers by on a visual journey through an urban maze this work highlighted our remarkably resilient and exposed biodiversity, giving us pause for thought for the earth that lies beneath our feet.

As we wandered around the park discovering each artwork, we also enjoyed the market stalls and music. Crafters and artists were selling handmade cards, jewellery, cakes and art. There were also three stages with diverse musical performances.

What a thrilling festival celebrating Kilburn and creativity. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Huge thanks to Hive Curates, Brent Council, One Kilburn and all who helped make this happen.

Text says 'One Kilburn' in yellow and again in red making a circle
The word Brent in black letters with a colourful logo to the left