Last Friday I took over the @ljmuphoto Instagram account and explored Liverpool city centre for my first ever LightNight. The streets were vibrant with groups of people singing and dancing on most corners, it was a fantastic, lively atmosphere which made exploring the city and all of the different events such a fun experience.
Student Opportunities city crawl
I started my journey for LightNight with the Student Opportunities team who were running a city crawl. We all met at 4pm in the John Foster Building and set off visiting all of the key locations, where members of the team revealed some fun facts about each location, along with the best events to visit there.
Bombed Out Church food hub
After a truly exhausting city crawl around the city, I headed over to the Bombed Out Church food hub to get something to eat and replenish my energy. The food hub had such a positive vibe, it was warm, sunny and there were a variety of live bands and music playing. There was a wide selection of food and drinks, covering most food genres, making it so hard to choose. Eventually, I got a ham and mushroom Panzerotti pizza from Fritto, which was delicious and then got a fresh juice from a drinks stand, before taking some time out on one of the public sun loungers to absorb the amazing atmosphere.
Before I left, I managed to catch a bird show which included endangered species of birds that people of all ages wanted to get involved in, not just the kids! The food hub really had the perfect social atmosphere, as it catered for all people in terms of performances, food and activities.
This was focused on recalling your daily rituals by drawing out digital maps from when you first wake up in the morning and realising how integral checking our phones are to us.
Technology is completely embedded in to our lives and it worried me how checking my phone in the morning is the first part of my own daily ritual. This was a creative yet thought-provoking exercise that made me feel I wanted to make more of a change in my daily digital life.
Fact also had Drag Queen Story Time, targeted at people of all ages which really championed queer identity through storytelling. I didn’t get to see the full show however, I did get to speak with the storyteller who was effortlessly glamorous and a pleasure to meet.
Walker Art Gallery
Music, Movement, Ritual and Adornment
Walker Art Gallery houses the largest art collections in England outside of London and is regarded as the National Gallery of the North, and one of the finest art galleries in Europe. The Gallery holds beautiful paintings, sculptures and decorative arts that span over six hundred years, which gives an overwhelming sense of grandeur as you make your way around the building.
On the second floor I watched a performance from LIPA students, wearing incredible garments made by students from LJMU School of Art and Design. The gallery backdrop really set the scene with a violin playing, which I found quite chilling. It was great to see the process LJMU students went through when creating the garments, which was playing on a screen projector in the main room while dance performances were going on. This was a great collaboration between LIPA and LJMU students.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Personally, this was my favourite part of LightNight as for me it really connected with my own thoughts of lights at night and the theme of rituals.
For thousands of years people have connected with the skies and stars, and the exhibition uncovered the most beautiful images of the stars in our galaxy and beyond. One hundred images from The Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 competition were displayed, out of more than 4,200 entries from amateurs and professionals from 91 countries.
This exhibition is in World Museum until 1 September and is free entry, and I recommend anyone who hasn’t seen this to visit.
St George’s Hall
I rounded off my LightNight with the Big Brass Singalong at St George’s Hall, where The Salvation Army's Liverpool Walton Band ignited a mass singalong of Sweet Caroline, Amazing Grace and the ultimate Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone. This performance was aimed at the rituals surrounding music and attempted to recreate the atmosphere communal singing brings to a football ground.
The main hall was completely packed out and everyone was squished together, joining in the singing. It put me in such a positive mood to round off my first ever LightNight and it felt like a true celebration of such an amazing city! Can’t wait for LightNight 2020.