• Light Odyssey, Blackpool, 2018

    In 2016, I was inspired by Czech digital-art collective the Macula, to create an illuminated, immersive spectacular in Blackpool. On 18th October 2018, to a full house, we transformed the iconic Empress Ballroom in Blackpool into a giant canvas, with international teams of animators creating bespoke 2D and 3D animation to a full orchestral live programme, including Barber's Adagio for Strings and Britten's Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes. Light Odyssey was a ground-breaking partnership with BBC Philharmonic, QED Productions, the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It was made possible with support from Arts Council England. Images: VisitBlackpool. 
  • Squirrel, Kazakhstan, 2018

    A 13 m straw and steel sculpture in central Almaty. Squirrels reflect human migration to cities over the last century - sharing similar challenges in finding a place to call home. Squirrel puts us in the place of our furry friends, inviting us to think about our relationships to each other and where we live.    Commissioned by Akimat of Almaty. Produced by FUNK Creation Agency. Design: Mike de Butts, Eldar Khassarov. Build: Marius Jansen Van Vuuren + a team of 25. Producers: Alessya Nugayeva, Inna Kantemirova, Alexsander Galiev. Exec Producer: Mayra Izmaylova 
  • Artist in Residence, pvi collective, Australia, 2017

    I am pvi's inaugural artist-in-residence, looking at the challenges of making large-scale outdoor participatory work. I spent a month with them in February, and am returning there in November. pvi collective create agitational, participatory artworks that are intent on the creative disruption of everyday life. Every artwork aims to affect audiences on a personal and political level and is geared towards instigating tiny revolutions. 
  • LUTN Light Lab, Blackpool, 2017

    In 2017 Blackpool became the newest member of the Light Up the North network (LUTN), an Arts Council England-funded network for the seven northern light art festivals. From this I set up the LUTN Light Lab – a creative lab for selected northern artists to meet each other and develop new work to be toured regionally, supported by additional funding from ACE. 2017 marked the inaugural lab, with 8 artists, nominated by each of the festivals, attending two week-long residential seminars in Blackpool, ten weeks apart, that I facilitated. The artists received honoraria for participating, and a budget for new materials, with the aim of developing new, regionally-based light work that might tour. 
  • Urban Fox, Bird Hotel, Shanghai, 2016

    In the two years that Urban Fox has stood in Shanghai, pollution in the air has turned the straw black. At the same time, four families of sparrows have made their homes in the structure. I wanted to celebrate their ingenuity for the 2016 Jing’an International Sculpture Project by turning the fox into a Hotel for Shanghai wildlife. The relationship of the birds to the fox can become a metaphor for the relationship of people to the city of Shanghai. We partnered with Museum of Natural History and the Jing’an District government. JISP 2016 runs from September 20 – November 20, 2016.
  • Blackpool Illuminations, Blackpool, 2016

    Blackpool Illuminations first began in 1879 and is the world's oldest free light show, going strong with nearly 4million annual visitors. As Creative Lead my role is to ensure its future through creative innovation. In 2016 we launched the LightPool Festival, October 28 - November 2, with the generous support of the Coastal Communities Fund and Arts Council England. 20-30 light art works transformed Blackpool town centre into a luminous playground for 50,000 visitors, with a nightly programme of light and fire performance art, and a conference to boot. 
  • It’s My City, Bloemfontein, 2016

    Three 8m temporary sculptures built with local artists and communities to represent their relationship to the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa. The public added thousands of messages to the works, expressing their wishes for the future and for their loved ones. After a week the sculptures came to life with three community-led processions, meeting in a fourth location where we set them on fire. It’s My City was described as the largest public art project the Free State has ever seen, involving 6 artists, 20 fabricators, 50 volunteers, hundreds of professionals and thousands of participants. It was the 2016 signature project of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD) a partnership between the Vrystaat Arts Festival and the University of the Free State, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It’s My City is tourable.   See also:   www.itsmycity.co.za   www.facebook.com/itsmycity   Video credit: Rooistoel  
  • Emerge/ncy (collaboration with Tangled Feet), 2016

    An 8m portal appeared overnight in the middle of the city. Over the course of six hours, people emerged from the top, bewildered and displaced. The durational performance by acclaimed outdoor theatre company Tangled Feet was two years in the making, a comment on global inequality and migration. Emerge/ncy showed at the Imagine Watford Festival, the Greenwich Docklands International Festival and the Brighton Festival. Designed and made with Mike de Butts from Shipshape Arts, over two months.
  • Fire Helix, 2015

    Trey Watkins’ wonderful fire piece, a free-standing 14’ double-helix spitting fire in 36 places. People have to work together to make it start, triggering 3-minute programmed sequences. Fire Helix is coming to the UK and to Dubai in 2016. (tourable)
  • HOMEwarming, Manchester, 2015

    The opening festival for HOME in Manchester brought together 28,000 people over five days to celebrate the city’s £25million investment in a new cultural centre, the amalgamation of the much-loved Cornerhouse and Library Theatre companies. Patron Danny Boyle opened proceedings with performances from Juba do Leao and daytime fireworks from pa-Boom.
  • Urban Fox, Shanghai, 2014

    I was invited to present Urban Fox at the Jing’an International Sculpture Project (JISP) in Shanghai, China. JISP is China’s only biennial of public art, with Urban Fox the only commissioned work.
  • Whitworth Weekending, Manchester, 2013

    For the temporary closure of the Whitworth Art Gallery in 2013, I curated and produced Whitworth Weekending, a free festival in Whitworth Park, to say thank you to all the communities who are part of the gallery. 23,000 people attended over three days. The new Whitworth has gone on to become the Museum of the Year in 2015.
  • Under the Baobab, London, 2012

    Under the Baobab stood 15metres tall, next to Waterloo bridge in London. Made with the Masters students of Textile Design at Chelsea College of the Arts (now University of London), the 31 students from 24 countries created 20m of fabric each to represent their migration to London. The resulting work became a colourful icon for peace and community.
  • Festival of the World, London, 2012

    We shaped the conceptual framework for the Festival of the World, Southbank Centre’s outdoor 2012 summer programme, around Pierre de Courbetin’s philosophy. As artist I created Under the Baobab with Pirate Technics, and as producer commissioned nine outdoor sculpture projects.
  • – everything is beautiful when you don’t look down, 2012

    Created by Robots Collective, the giant figures scaling the Hayward Gallery were made from discarded wood with young people at Oasis Children’s Venture. You weren’t sure who was helping whom – similar to the process between teachers and students when it comes to creative work.
  • – Perspectives, 2012

    Trey Watkins Perspectives first appeared at Burning Man in 2009, giant cubes dotting the landscape and lining up to uncover hidden messages. We brought the work to London, flew the cubes between buildings and created a three-month durational work to bring back a feeling of childhood wonder to the middle of the city. (tourable)
  • Urban Fox, Southbank Centre, 2011

    Urban Fox, commissioned by Cathy Mager in 2011, captured people’s imaginations, finding its way into the New York Times, James Bond’s Skyfall and elsewhere. The work symbolized what it meant to be British in 2011, 60 years on from the 1951 Festival of Britain.
  • Pirate Technics 2008-2011

    I started Pirate Technics with Mike de Butts, to build and burn stages for music festivals. We made more than a dozen large-scale installations at Secret Garden Party, Green Man, Shambala, Glade and elsewhere.
  • Belisama, Secret Garden Party, 2008

    I started Pirate Technics with Mike de Butts, to build and burn stages for music festivals. We made more than a dozen large-scale installations at Secret Garden Party, Green Man, Shambala, Glade and elsewhere.