Light Night Leeds 2018 - Centenary Cities Projection Commission

Deadline: 27/06/2018  |  Published: 29/05/2018  |  Venue: The Leeds Library  |  City: Leeds  |  Region: West Yorkshire  |  Country: United Kingdom  |  Abbe Robinson

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As part of the national Centenary Cities project marking 100 years of women’s suffrage, Leeds City Council is looking to commission a new video-mapping and soundscape project for the city’s annual Light Night Leeds event. We are looking for artists to create an exciting and ambitious artwork to re-imagine the façade of the historic Leeds Library building on Thursday 4th & Friday 5th October 2018.

Light Night Leeds is a multi-arts and light festival which takes over Leeds City Centre on two nights in early October.  Now in it's 14th year, it is a highly anticipated event in the city's cultural calendar with over 50 artworks and performances presented across 10 zones in the city.

The commissioned new work will be exhibited on the Leeds Library building on Commercial Street on the evenings of Thursday 4th October and Friday 5th October. The Leeds Library is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year.  Founded in 1768 it is the oldest surviving subscription library in the UK.  For this year's Light Night event we would like to see the creative use of video mapping and sound on this historic building to fit with the overarching festival theme of 'Progress and Innovation'.  In this instance we would like the artwork to focus on social change, specifically the experiences and activities of renowned Leeds Suffragettes Leonora Cohen and/or Mary Gawthorpe.

The work should be durational to be played repeatedly throughout the evening.  We are open to a range of different visual styles including abstract, cinematic or animation.

Examples of previous projection work at Light Night Leeds can be viewed here:

Theatre of Illumination, Civic Hall, 2014 -

The Phoenix in the Stone, Civiv Hall, 2016 -

Out of the Aire, Civic Hall, 2017-

Harlequin, Queens Hotel, 2017 -

Light Night Leeds has a broad and varied audience so the commissioned artwork must have cross-generational appeal and it is important that the work does not include any elements that would cause offence to the general public. 

Expressions of interest to this open call are invited from experienced artists, filmmakers or animators to deliver a new unique work for the people of Leeds and visitors to the city.  

Commission Requirements

  • The commission must be for original work designed for Light Night Leeds 2018.
  • The artwork will be required to run for approximately 3.5 hours each evening (7.30 -11pm).  The work should be designed to be looped over the course of the evening, and the piece should be approximately 5 minutes in duration. The artwork needs to include a countdown clock at the end of the piece counting down to the next showing. This may need to include sponsors and funders logos.
  • Project delivery to take place 4th & 5th October 2017. NB Work must be ready to test on the building on Wednesday 3rd October.
  • Projects must be deliverable within the specified budget and to the agreed timescales.  The Light Night team can provide the successful artist with access to relevant archive material and local / national women's suffrage experts through Leeds Museums and Galleries, as well as technical advice and support in the develoment phase.
  • Artists are expected to be in attendance during the testing and exhibition of the work.  It is essential that you oversee the delivery and work in collaboration with technical teams.
  • Applicants must proactively work with Light Night Leeds and the LCC marketing team to help create a buzz about the commission i.e. participate in press interviews, attend VIP Launches.


  • Applications are open to established UK based artists, animators, filmmakers who can clearly demonstrate experience of producing similar scale projects.
  • Artist will be expected to attend meetings and site visits in Leeds so these costs must be factored into proposed budgets.


  • Deadline for submissions – 5pm Wednesday 27th June 2018
  • Interviews –  Friday 6th July 2018
  • Commission Awarded – Monday 9th July 2018
  • Project delivery – 4th & 5th October 2017


  • The budget for content creation is £7,500.
  • Budgets must include all artistic fees (including all travel / accommodation), project development and content production.
  • Light Night Leeds will be responsible for all technical and infrastructure costs including: technical equipment hire (incl. projectors, media server and PA system), projection tower / venue, event security, power/electrical, fencing/barriers, and Light Night project management.

How to Apply

Please complete this application form and include the following:

  • An outline proposal including images (no more than 2000 words) and/or a video pitch (of up to 5 minutes in length).  Projects do not need to be fully formed at the proposal stage but should demonstrate clear concept and viability. Please provide links to where your video is hosted (e.g. Vimeo or YouTube) along with any password required to view the content.  

  • Please provide a breakdown of the project budget.

  • Background information on the artist(s) and supporting evidence to demonstrate experience of delivering similar scale projects. Applications from organisations/producers should include confirmed details of the lead artists involved

Our Process

Applications will be assessed by the Light Night Leeds team and a panel of judges.

Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview.

The selected applicant will work on the development of the full project plan and evaluation framework in consultation with the Light Night Programmer / Producer and Light Night Production Manager.

Leeds City Council reserves the right to re-open the call or not to make an award if applications are deemed unsuitable.


About Light Night Leeds

Light Night is an annual multi-arts and light festival which takes place every year in early October at numerous venues across Leeds city centre. Hundreds of artists, makers and performers transform the city’s streets and buildings for an unforgettable evening of exhibitions, installations and performances.  It is a celebratory showcase for the huge range of diverse and thriving creative activity taking place in Leeds all year round, and gives visitors free access to art and venues that they might not normally see. In 2017 an audience of approximately 80,000 people attended Light Night experiencing over 50 different events in over 30 locations in the city centre.  2018 will be the 14th annual event.


About Leeds

Leeds is a modern and diverse northern British city.  It is the third largest and one of the fastest growing in the UK and is now home to an estimated 798,800 people.  Leeds is the regional capital and the main economic driver for the counties of Yorkshire with major road, rail and air connections to neighbouring towns and cities, and to national and international networks.  The city’s diversity can be seen in a population which is made up of residents of over 140 different ethnic groups and the fact that Leeds school children speak over 170 languages. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups represent 17.4% of the population. 

A unique and distinctive place, the city of Leeds has a rich industrial heritage. Known as the leading financial and legal centre in the UK outside London, the city is home to some of the largest financial institutions in the country. It has a diverse economy, excellent universities and world-class culture and sport.

Culture, tourism and sport play a key role in attracting people and investment to Leeds. The growth in the number of visitors to the city has been helped by restoring and developing flagship cultural and sporting venues including Northern Ballet & Phoenix Dance Theatre, The City Museum, The Grand Theatre & Howard Assembly Rooms, The City Varieties theatre, The John Charles Centre for Sport, Headingley Stadium, and the First Direct Arena.  Leeds is home to Yorkshire Dance, Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, East Street Arts, Phoenix Dance, Henry Moore Institute, and a wide range of festivals including Leeds International Film Festival and the West Indian Carnival.  The city also has a vibrant independent music scene and a thriving DIY arts community.

Visit and to get a flavour of what’s currently on in the city.

Contact the curator
Who is eligible for this opportunity?
Applications are open to established artists, animators, filmmakers or organisations who can clearly demonstrate experience of leading on successful video mapping projects of a similar nature.

Applicants do not have to be based in Leeds. However artists will be expected to attend meetings with the Light Night team and attend site visits in the city so these costs must be factored into proposed budgets.
When is the deadline?
The deadline for proposals is 5pm Wednesday 27th June 2018
Can I show work which has already been completed?
No, we are looking for new work created specifically for Light Night Leeds.
If I am successful in my application what else will I be expected to do / submit?
You will be asked to attend an interview with the selection panel. The selected artist will also be required to attend a site visit. If commissioned you will need to send us text and images by the copy deadline to ensure your project information is included in the event programme and other Light Night marketing.
Can Light Night Leeds provide travel / accommodation?
Travel (including parking) and accommodation costs should be factored into your project budget. However, in certain circumstances we may be able to provide free hotel accommodation through our sponsors.

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