The complete schedule for this year’s BD:is LIT Festival has been unveiled. It promises an extraordinary weekend of events in Bradford city centre on the 3rd and 4th of November, along with details of illuminations occurring throughout the district.
The Bradford District is set to come alive this autumn, celebrating the return of BD:is LIT with a captivating array of hyper-local activities, including the much-anticipated biennial light extravaganza.
On the 3rd and 4th of November, the heart of Bradford will play host to BD:is LIT, a luminous festival featuring captivating sculptures and performance art that pay homage to Bradford’s culturally rich heritage and architecture.
The festival weekend will feature 25 engaging and interactive experiences designed to animate the city, crafted by artists from the local, national, and international scene. From custom projections to inflatable parades and fiery circus performances, this family-friendly festival offered free of charge, provides something for everyone during the Bonfire Night weekend.
Among the astounding experiences and light installations are:
The return of Colour Project’s remarkable projection mapping creation, Luminarium, which will bring Bradford’s City Hall to life, commemorating the iconic building’s 150th anniversary.
Audiences will have the opportunity to explore City Hall in a way never seen before with Rosie Freeman’s Hearth, a captivating audio experience that takes over the Civic entrance, narrating stories and anecdotes from the building’s past and present (ticketed event, advance booking recommended).
The internationally acclaimed PictoFacto will infuse the city centre streets with life through Lampadophores—large inflatable light structures that will parade through the streets, spreading love and light.
City Park will be a sight to behold with giant bubbles appearing across the Mirror Pool, created by artists Atelier Sisu. Deepa Mann-Kler’s Illuminated Sheep will also grace nearby green spaces, seamlessly blending rural life into the urban landscape.
Bradford’s acclaimed theatre company Common Wealth will be at Bradford College, presenting a new performance and installation; Fast, Fast, Slow. A unique experience exploring fast fashion and its impact on the environment.
Theatre in the Mill at the University of Bradford will offer an array of experiences, including the newly commissioned Cloud Songs by artist Shabina Aslam. Alongside this, the program will feature Salt Eaters, a site-specific multi-sensory experience by Mez Galaria, and Wish You Were Here, a series of VR bicycle experiences featuring binaural sound technologies, photography, and poetry, immersing you in new worlds.
This year’s festival boasts 9 UK premieres and 21 installations that can only be experienced in Bradford this Autumn. So make sure not to miss out!
Beyond the main festival weekend, Bradford Council, in collaboration with Bradford 2025, The Leap, and The National Science and Media Museum, has commissioned 10 light projects to illuminate various areas across the district, aiming to bring joy and light to communities during the darker months of 2023.
Throughout October and November, people can partake in the district-wide BD:is LIT activities, some of which include:
Lister Park Lantern Parade by Cecil Green Arts, scheduled for Friday the 27th of October. This event will illuminate the iconic park with wonderfully designed puppets and lanterns created by Cecil Green Arts and local communities.
Neon the Night by United Art Project will offer a range of workshops in Peel Park, shining a light on the park during the weekend of the 3rd of November.
The Wall of Peace, created by artist Shiraz Ali, will breathe life into Laisterdyke Library in BD3, spreading peace and light throughout October and November.
A Winter Wonderland will emerge across East Bowling and the wider BD4 communities as George Taylor collaborates with local communities to illuminate windows, shops, and community spaces during the weekend of the 11th of November.
Letty McHugh brings Joy In Unexpected Places to Keighley, celebrating the often overlooked beauty of Keighley and capturing the spirit of the district’s people.
Shipley will witness an array of unique works popping up during November, including Dr. Rob Eagle presenting Walk This Way, a site-specific sound and light installation for Shipley Market, while Summat Creative presents Speed of Light. This installation takes over a dark and vacant shop front, challenging the crowd to pledge for a sustainable future.
With such a diverse range of uniquely Bradford experiences to witness and capture, Bradford residents have the opportunity to immerse themselves in light art during the darker months.
Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of the National Science and Media Museum said: “We are delighted to be supporting this year’s BD:is LIT. This festival is a true celebration of the creativity and innovation on offer here in the Bradford district and it provides a fantastic opportunity to see the district’s unique venues, iconic buildings, and landscapes quite literally in a whole new light.”
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places said: “This is a fantastic way to celebrate the Bonfire Night weekend, lighting up the district with unique and fun activities and installations for all the family to enjoy. Don’t miss out!”
Guides, routes, and event information can be found on the Visit Bradford website and BD:is LIT social media pages.