Light London

Workshop in partnership with Art in the Open to explore the use of light in the public realm as part of the Light London Initiative.

Key Project Information

Partners: Art in the Open, London Development Agency/Design for London
Participants: 15 young people aged 12-19
Format: 1-day workshop

Project Overview

The Light London initiative, was a partnership between Open-City's Art in the Open programme and London Development Agency/Design for London.  The intention of the initiative was broadly to influence the capital’s public realm and its artistic opportunities through the theme of light. Light can change the quality of our public realm significantly – affecting how we experience and navigate the city, particularly in the longer London winter nights. It has many cultural, social and environmental meanings and artists have historically used light as a concept, subject, material and form. 

Whilst ‘art’ can be dismissed as unimportant, or seem off-putting to those who have less experience of working with artists in the public realm, ‘light’ was seen as a unifying subject that allows creativity to be discussed with different audiences (virtually all public realm improvement projects have light as a component). The Light London Youth workshop gave My CIty Too ambassadors the opportunity to take part in this debate.


Light London aimed to:

  • Inspire more creative approaches to light in London
  • To embed these approaches and the Light London principles of good practice in both policy and future projects in London.
  • To influence and support a range of stakeholders including young people in affecting and producing high quality light and lighting for London’s public realm.

Project Detail

The young ambassadors manifesto lists ten key areas for change and art in the public realm and lighting are two of them:

‘We want lively streets with better and more creative lighting’
Busy, well-lit areas will help us and everyone else feel safe on our streets

‘ We want playful signs, bright colour schemes and changing public art’
Give our local areas a stronger identity and make them places that we are proud of

Light London: Youth was a workshop in which the ambassadors were taken on a tour of public art and creative lighting projects in Southwark, south London, and had the opportunity to work directly with artists to explore these two themes in more detail.

Artist Jane Watt led a day’s walking tour (direct experience of art in the public realm) and workshops with 15 My City Too young ambassadors to explore art and light in public space. Importantly, the workshop were followed-up with an opportunity for the ambassadors to share their views with some of Art in the Open’s key stakeholder audience, in particular Design for London (the mayor’s advisory body for architecture and the built environment).


Ideas and messages from the young ambassadors My City Too! Forum influenced the structure of future forums and the Light London Principles. The subsequent Light London forums have been very successful in bringing together and inspiring a wide range of people, including influencing key individuals at the GLA and LDA.

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