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Kirkwall Festival of Light Feasibility Study

Innes, Malcolm


Malcolm Innes


The study was commissioned by Kirkwall Business Improvement District (BID) Ltd, a not for profit company established to support and promote businesses located in Kirkwall town centre, capital of the Orkney Islands. The original scope was to consult on the creation of a winter lighting event to generate an increase in business activity in Kirkwall Town Centre by local people.

However, it was clear from the study and the examples of other European centres who have established light art festivals that there is significant potential to attract a national and international audience. This would generate income for a wider range of local tourism businesses and hoteliers at a traditionally very quiet time of year.

A desk study included collation of contemporary and historic maps of the town to identify potential routes and sites for light art installations. Four site visits were undertaken, including two tours with clients. This process identified a number of potential sites and other opportunities that could be explored in any light festival events.

Although not part of the original brief, a plan for active public engagement was devised whereby light art workshops would be run alongside the event to produce community created light art installations to be used within the main festival. A workshop structure and an event management company experienced in running light art workshops were identified and approached about the proposals. Initial discussions identified what was feasible and agreed workshop formats that would deliver the project aims.

The project was funded by an SFC Innovation Voucher along with in-kind support from the client and The St. Magnus Festival. The final output was the presentation of a private report to the clients. The project did not progress further as the client (Kirkwall BID ltd) was forced to cease activities due to lack of volunteer staff.


Innes, M. Kirkwall Festival of Light Feasibility Study. Kirkwall BID Ltd

Report Type Confidential Report
Deposit Date Apr 2, 2019
Pages 1-12
Keywords Orkney, festivals, light art, tourism.
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