Christina Grogan from Open Culture, who organise the late night arts festival said: “Liverpool has come together once more on LightNight to show what this city is really about: community and creative expression. LJMU is our principal sponsor for the festival and truly embraces the values of the Festival by opening up academic spaces to everyone, sharing knowledge, showcasing its hardworking staff and students, and offering platforms for artists.
She continued: “LJMU's support of LightNight is essential, and we hope to continue building on this relationship and celebrate the diversity of the city, sparking the imaginations and curiosity of all our audiences.”
The theme for this year’s event was Time and LJMU used the festival to showcase its fascinating history and evolution from Liverpool Mechanic’s and Apprentice’s Library in 1823 to today’s pioneering modern civic university. At John Lennon Art and Design Building, well over 500 slices of war cake, made by student James Penswick, were consumed, giving a tasty new angle on LJMU’s history as it was based on a recipe by Fanny Calder, co-founder of F L Calder College, one of the University’s antecedent colleges.
Other pioneering individuals such as Tom Reilly and Irene Marsh were also celebrated in a new historical exhibition, which featured audio recordings by Drama students and recent graduates, describing some unexpected facts from the University’s past.
Students work also took centre stage in the Redmonds Building and the 1095 DAYS: Liverpool Screen School annual degree show, which featured immersive video, pop-up drama performances, short films, documentaries and poetry recitals.
At the Aldham Robarts Library, visitors also enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with over 200 donning costumes to become cover models for Jackie magazine as part of the Femorabilia exhibition. Younger visitors were fascinated by a Dansette-style record player, which played some of management cybernetics expert Stafford Beer’s groovy Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Dave Brubeck LPs, while FabLab got on board with the fidget spinner craze to showcase the latest 3D technology.
Val Stevenson said: “It is lovely to get our documents and artefacts out and let people see them. Visitors were pleased that history is being preserved and because LJMU has always been such a major part of the city they really appreciate finding out more about it.”
Fun, interactive installations managed by staff and students from Astrophysics Research Institute, Geography Programme, and Student Recruitment and Admissions helped visitors investigate the distance between astronomical objects and discover what was happening on Earth when light left distant objects in our Universe. They could also experience past climates and peek into the not-so-distant future to investigate the impacts of climate change.
Sports Sciences staff also showcased the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the Time to HIIT the Gym exhibit, with visitors working up a sweat on exercise bikes and many signing up to take part in future research.
PhD researcher Katie Hesketh explained: “Aligning with the LightNight theme, HIIT is becoming increasingly important as ‘lack of time’ prevents many from exercising. Children and adults got involved in the different stations, from Wingate sprints to trying out LJMU’s own Home-HIIT programme. There was considerable interest in our pioneering research, with visitors wanting to know more about how they could incorporate HIIT into their daily lives.”
Two LightNight commissions – Zugswang by the Collective Logan and Wilcox, and Where the time goes by Jonathon Raisin – also helped draw crowds into the campus, providing reflective spaces to directly engage with art and culture – echoing LJMU’s own cultural partnerships agenda.
LightNight 2017 truly was a chance for LJMU to embody its ‘one University’ ethos and this success provides solid foundations upon which to build and plan for next year’s year’s late night festival on Friday 18 May 2018.
Scroll through this timeline for a whistle stop tour of just some of the activities that took place at LJMU during LightNight 2017