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City of Oxford College students to shine bright at Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival

19 November 2020

City of Oxford College students will get creative at this year's Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival with a variety of captivating virtual performances and artwork installations.  

The annual festive celebration traditionally welcomes thousands of Oxford locals and visitors to events across the city centre between the 20 - 22 November.   

With Covid-19 and national lockdown restrictions in place this year, many events will be safely streamed online. As an official event partner, Activate Learning’s Creative Industries students will get the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and passion for the arts in celebration of the three-day festival.  

Adam Goldstein, Work Experience Coordinator at City of Oxford College, said: “This year we are particularly proud to have so many students involved despite the lockdown rules making things tricky. In total, 16 art, 16 dance, 22 music and three media students have all worked hard to produce original work for the festival. 

“It is wonderful that every year our Creative Industries students are so involved with the Oxford’s Christmas Lights Festival and long may our involvement and the festival continue!”  

Visual art and design students at the college have worked alongside celebrated local artist Mani (The Big Orange M) to create artwork for the Be the Light Bus Tour. The students have decorated stained-glass windows on an open-top double decker bus.  

In addition to their work, the bus will feature bright lights and upbeat Christmas songs as it travels across Oxford city from 5–8pm on the 20 and 21 November. 

Keira Hunter, visual art and design student at City of Oxford College, said: “This has been a very interesting challenge and the end result really does look fantastic.” 

Dance students will also put on a virtual performance and have taken part in a pre-recorded show alongside 19 other dance groups in Oxford.  

Global Dance Film has been produced and edited by Dancin’ Oxford. The four-minute dance film premiere will be streamed online from 4:30pm on 20 November.  

Ruth Jones, Dance Tutor at City of Oxford College, said: “It has been a great way to keep the diverse dance community in Oxford connected and motivated. All groups had to respond to the same music to be collated into the Global Dance Film.  

“I am proud of the way second year students took ownership of the project and led the new students.” 

Abigail Feek, dance student at City of Oxford College, said: “It's important to keep dancing and keep our spirits up in the circumstances. We are used to dancing on stage, but considering the coronavirus situation, it has been a really nice idea to keep the festival going in some way.” 

Seven bands from the college’s music Department have also rallied together to support the festival, performing a selection of their own original songs for the festival’s Music Stage

Lara Payne, music student at City of Oxford College, said: “When we were told we were going to be working with the media students to have one of our original songs recorded for the Oxford’s Christmas Lights Festival, as a band, we were nervous and excited. 

“Sharing your own material is both a nerve-wracking and exciting prospect, so to be part of the virtual festival this year feels like quite an achievement. Pre-covid, Christmas events are some of the biggest events of the year, so to be part of this is a really cool experience, even though things are running a lot differently this year.  

“The filming and audio mixing process was really fun, and it was interesting to work with other students and to look forward to viewing the finished product - which we were really happy with. Overall, I think this was a unique experience and a great opportunity to finish off the year. I hope that the members of the public enjoy these videos as much as we did!" 

Media students at the college recorded and edited the Music Stage footage in preparation for the event which will be shown live from 4pm on 20 November.  

Gary Force, Media Tutor at City of Oxford College, said: "The three students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to film a multi camera event.  

“They specifically liked learning how to properly use a gimbal which is quite an advanced skill and they did very well.” 

This year's festive theme at Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival is ‘Be the light’. Over the three-day festival, people will be invited to discover the best of Oxford with free online events, make and create workshops, doorstop celebrations and local light trails.   

Find out more about Creative Industries programmes at City of Oxford College by visiting the Activate Learning website or calling on 0800 612 6008.