Island Light Festivals

Since 2012, ARTiculate have worked with a variety of partners and community members on the Isles of Scilly to create and share a series of wonderful Biennial community arts festivals there. The Island Light festival began life initially as an arts-based community Feast, timed to illuminate and lift people's spirits in the darkest part of the New year, when the Islands can feel very remote, and isolation can be a challenge for Islanders. 

Our most recent ‘LIFE LIGHTS’ Island Light Festival in February 2020 involved hundreds of local people aged from 1 to 90, and celebrated the incredible life preservation heritage of the Islands and the special place this aspect of life plays in their culture.

Supported by Arts Council England, FEAST, Isles of Scilly Steamship Community Fund & Innes Architects, and working with the Five Islands Academy, St Mary’s Library, Scilly Chaplaincy, Islands’ Partnership, Phoenix Studios, St Mary’s Brownies and a host of other community members and organisations, ARTiculate carefully planned and delivered a much-needed two weeks of community and schools arts & creative activity to the Islands, shining a lovely light on Island life during some spectacular stormy weather, and bringing everyone together in a heart-warming shared celebration of their community and heritage. 
A splendid schools Project week involved every child in the school apart from Year 11s, building wearable willow sculptures, researching their Island 
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and with a schools sharing at Carn Gwavas on February 14th with gig racing across the school hall, stories, shanties and rap, 

This was followed by a fantastic illuminated community celebration on St Mary’s on February 22nd, 2020, which brought together hundreds of wonderful local creations, large and small, some of them unique wearable ships, lighthouses, and buoys, for a very special procession through the streets of Hugh Town, and culminating in a fabulous and unforgettable cake finale! 

A history of Island Light Festivals

The Isles of Scilly ‘Island light festival’ was first lit in February 2012 in response to many local requests for an Islanders' event during the long winter months. With financial and practical help from the Council for the Isles of Scilly, Isles of Scilly Chaplaincy, IOS Steamship Company, Five Islands School, St Maray's Library, the Museum, and many local residents, ARTiculate were able to take a small team out to St Mary’s for a week of workshops, culminating in a grand lantern parade through Hugh Town. The festival was so well received that it was agreed by one and all to plan for a biennial event, varying the flavours each year, always around a theme that resounds with the Isles.


In 2014 the Isles were dealing with a huge rat problem that threatened the diversity of the local birdlife - so naturally, this decided the theme... illuminations of a giant rat being chased through the streets by a flock of wild birds! 
We were also joined by members of ‘The Fisherman’s Friends’ from North Cornwall, and Scillonian ‘Bone Idle’ shantymen, who raised the roof of the Bishop and Wolf for a special festival open mic night.


2016's theme was ‘Following their Footsteps’ - looking at migration of all types; another marvellous collaboration with Five Islands school and local mainland illustrator & artist Peter Ursem, and with animation and shadow puppetry playing a great part in the week's celebrations. 

2018 was very lean for funding but local artist Imogen Bone - now a Core ARTiculate artist - stepped up and ran a small, beautifully crafted festival to keep the ILF momentum going.
Since the first ILF we have been able to secure funding from Arts Council England and FEAST Cornwall which has enabled us to build the event up to the 2020 LIFE LIGHTS festival, described at the top of this page, celebrating saving lives at sea; a spectacular collaboration with the Five Islands Academy, which saw a record turnout of stunning creations, and some truly incredible celebratory cake for all! 

We are so looking forward to being able to return, for more inspiration, creation and celebration, with our friends on the beautiful Isles of Scilly, as soon as possible.
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