Leicester City Council’s Festivals & Events Department, BID Leicester and creative producer ArtReach, have designed an ambitious new spectacle event that animates the public realm with illuminated, interactive and playable light-based artworks. The festival is seeking 3 new commissions to feature in its inaugural programme in March 2020.


  • Festival dates: 5 – 8 March 2020
  • Install: 2 – 4 March 2020
  • Number of commissions: 3
  • Fee: £4,000 – £6,000 incl. all materials and all other costs
  • Deadline: Sunday 15 December 2019, midnight

1. Brief

Light Up Leicester is a new festival of illumination and connectivity. Over four days it will light up the city centre with a trail of interactive and playable artworks. The festival centres around the theme of ‘connectedness’ – encompassing interactive, playable and ‘connected to the internet’ artworks.

This could mean artworks have an awareness of their environment through light, sound, temperature or humidity sensors; that they have an awareness of people through motion and touch sensors, or they could be connected to the internet and driven by open source data. The festival will consider other interpretations of ‘connectedness’ so long as the artwork meets the rest of the required brief.

Commission applications will need to demonstrate:

• The artwork is illuminated or lit in an interesting, unusual or unique way

• The artwork is sufficiently ‘connected’ in a way that is participatory (for audiences) or interactive (with audiences, or with something else).

• The artwork is of sufficient scale and impact to attract passers-by and members of the public who are not necessarily there to seek it out

• The artwork is new, or sufficiently different from previous presentations of the work

• All artworks will need to be suitable for family audiences and on display for the duration of the festival.

• The artwork is suitable for outdoor presentation.


Light Up Leicester also invites artists to think about…


All artwork will be exhibited outside in the city centre, and we would like you to think about where your piece will be best suited.

Possible artwork locations in Leicester city centre include Jubilee Square, Market Square, Clock Tower, the Lanes, Town Hall Square, Cathedral Gardens, Orton Square.

In addition to high profile locations, the festival also wants to animate some less travelled areas of the city, for example, alleyways, archways and shop fonts.


Artists should think about the impact their work will have on the environment. Low energy artworks are encouraged. Artwork will be presented outdoors, so you will need to consider this when choosing materials. Fabrication processes should be thoroughly considered and detailed in the application.

2. Artist Fees and additional support

Light up Leicester is commissioning three new artworks and is now welcoming fee proposals.

Fee proposals should cover all aspects of concept design, artwork development and delivery, travel and accommodation. There is no additional budget for materials.

Light Up Leicester is working towards a set commissioning budget.

For guidance, we welcome individual proposals of between £4,000 and £6,000.

Light up Leicester will cover the following costs:

• Security

• Access to power

• Basic install / de-rig

Artist of all disciples and experience levels are encouraged to apply. Each selected commission will benefit from up to 5 hours support with Leicester-based International Artist, Researcher and Technologist Sean Clark. This means you do not have to have an intimate working knowledge of the software or technology needed to realise your idea, however, it does need to be realistic, practical and fully researched.

3. How to apply

The deadline for applications is Sunday 15th December, midnight.

Please send the following to beth@artreach.biz, with a subject line of ‘LUL commission proposal’

  1. Artist CV
  2. A detailed description of the artwork with accompanying images or drawings
  3. Outline technical specification: dimensions & footprint, power requirements, build process & requirements (a detailed specification will need to be provided if selected)
  4. A basic risk assessment (a detailed assessment will need to be provided if selected)
  5. A summary budget

4. Timeline

Application deadline: Sunday 15 December 2019, midnight

Commissions awarded: Friday 20 December 2019

Commissions announced: w/c 6 January 2020

Site visits: 13 – 17 January 2020

Detailed tech spec provided: 3 February 2020

Installation: 2 – 4 March 2020

Light Up Leicester: 5 – 8 March 2020

De-rig: 9 & 10 March 2020

5. Contact

For enquires related to Light Up Leicester commissions contact beth@artreach.biz