Category Archives: Events

Light Up Poole - Weather Machine

The final countdown to Light Up Poole

From a giant water screen in which passers by can see their faces in a million drops of water, to a fully functioning weather machine, by way of a poetry robot and musical lamp posts, this year’s Light Up Poole festival of light art, which runs after dark from Thursday to Saturday next week, can promise experiences like no others.

As well as hosting four world premieres of new works and a European premiere, the festival will also present highly acclaimed pieces by some of the UK’s most influential and innovative light artists shown alongside artworks and installations made by members of the community and local schools.

New media light and sound artist Andy McKeown has worked with Year 9 and 10 students from Carter Community School and local artist Sandie Elkins to realise Digital Ripples, a ground breaking multi-layered digital installation co-commissioned by SoundStorm Music Education Agency. Students have sampled the sounds of Poole and sculpted an aural ‘breadcrumb trail’ heard through glowing speakers placed on lamp posts along the High Street and Quay to the Shambles where Sandie Elkins’s electronica soundtrack can be downloaded.

The trail culminates at the Dolphin Quay flats under the shopping centre where Andy’s ever changing WeatherMACHINE installation will be confounding expectations and inviting visitors to join in the mix of sound, light projections and immersive audio.

Andy McKeown’s practice is predominately based on interactive and reactive new-media light and sound. His works range from intricate multi-projector interior installations to large-scale outdoor light works such as StarGate, which will be outside Poole Museum projecting fleeting images of passers by onto a vertical water surface filtered through continuously moving liquid oil projections.

“Andy has been instrumental in Light Up Poole being able to deliver such an ambitious programme this year – not only showing his own works, but also mentoring our young and emerging artists,” says Libby Battaglia of festival directors Audacious.

The streets of Poole’s Old Town and Quay after dark will be shared by some unusual creations, not least Nyx, Dutch artist Gijs van Bon’s tidal light writer named after the Greek goddess of night that writes light-emitting poetry in the darkness. Also on the prowl will be the stilt-walking Celestial Beings of Elixir Circus Arts ready to strike up conversations and explain who ate the holes in the moon.

As part of its engagement programme, Light Up Poole has also facilitated projection mapping workshops in local schools with the results being shown at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts; while the town’s first Light Art Symposium – Artists, Industry & Community – brings artists and agencies together with Poole’s tourism, business and technology communities.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, manager of Poole BID, the festival’s lead partner and sponsor, adds: “Light Up Poole is illuminating the unique link between the arts, business, technology and tourism in the town. The scope of this year’s festival is hugely impressive and I hope it goes on to reach even higher in the future.”

Light Up Poole - Harbour Glow

Latest updates from Light Up Poole

With four world premieres, a European premiere and a raft of newly commissioned works the Light Up Poole festival of light art has thrust the town firmly in the twin spotlights of art and science.

The festival marks the first participation of cutting edge French engineering company MINUIT UNE as sponsor for the premiere of Harbour Glow, an ambitious site-specific work that will see Poole’s dockside and cranes illuminated by moving light to create a uniquely immersive experience.

MINUIT UNE’S products are the first lighting concept specially designed for experience. Lightweight and incredibly versatile they produce stunning architectural displays with innovative shapes and décor that envelope the audience. The very definition of seeing Poole in a new light Harbour Glow has been made by James Smith, the Poole-based international lighting designer, and local company Wolf Lighting with festival directors Audacious supported by Poole Harbour Commissioners and MINUIT UNE.

“We’re bringing the dock to life,” says James. “It is very much a working dock and quite beautiful in its own way, but we’re using colour to change how we see the dock, to bring some magic to the space.

“We’ll be using the sky and the water surface so that it is as complete an immersive experience as it can be – we will literally make the harbour glow. It’s a new piece, so a world premiere, and MINUIT UNE’s products have never been used outside in this way before.”

James Smith and Wolf Lighting have also designed Reach for the Stars, a large beacon of light at the Fish Shambles that accompanies the electronica soundscape of Sandie Elkins.

“I’m from Poole, went to school at Poole High, lived here all my life, but as a theatrical lighting designer I travel the world and there are light festivals all over the place. What we are creating with Light Up Poole is very special; it’s a big thing for the town and there are some incredible pieces to see.”

After the success of his playful piece Juxtapose at last year’s Light Up Poole, Bournemouth University graduate Ashley Wilkie has brought it back this year alongside the first showing of his new work Ebbs and Flows. An architectural projection mapping of Poole’s iconic Guildhall, it uses the sweeping double stairway as a backdrop to a journey across the world’s oceans.

Award winning light and sound artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of the Projection Studio are premiering their experimental immersive interior projection piece Zenith inside St James’s Church; simultaneously projecting another new work Horizon on the outside of the church. Produced in collaboration with NASA scientists and the Ordered Universe team, it was unveiled last month at Napa Lighted Art Festival in California and will be seen for the first time in Europe in Poole.

To support these ground breaking works Professors Giles Gasper (History) and Brian Tanner (Physics) from Durham University host Where Medieval Meets Modern, a community talk at Lighthouse on 23 February that will introduce the medieval scientist and thinker Robert Grosseteste whose ideas and research inform Horizon and Zenith.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, manager of Poole BID, the festival’s lead partner and sponsor, adds: “It’s incredibly exciting to have such high calibre artists in Poole premiering their work during the festival, and also for the science, technology and engineering companies to showcase cutting edge products for the first time.”

The other world premiere hosted by Light Up Poole is Sonic Tides, Karen Monid’s multi-channel audio installation in the ground of Scaplen’s Court. A unique translation of local research into sound it immerses listeners in soundscapes informed by the history of 16th century Poole.

The festival has also commissioned new work from teenage light artist Seren Birtles, who made her debut at last year’s first festival. A nest of plastic stretched from floor to ceiling with projected light inspired by the ocean, Eyrie invites the audience to consider how mankind places itself above other species in the name of consumption and possession.

Seren is one of the local artists selected for GLEAM, the Audacious talent development programme for regional light artists, and the company has also produced the community event Tidal Remedies for this year’s festival in which visitors are invited to share soup and have a chat in a pop-up street café on the High Street.

“This year we have set out to showcase how technology can enhance art and make it more accessible to audiences,” says Libby Battaglia of Audacious. “With artists working alongside scientists, engineers and academics we hope Light Up Poole is something the town can be really proud of, that enchants local audiences and attracts lots of people to visit and discover for themselves.”

* There are further opportunities for local people to get involved in Light Up Poole as volunteer stewards to work with the Culture Volunteers from Poole Museum. It’s helpful but not essential to have some experience of arts events and to be enthusiastic about public engagement in the arts. To find out more email

Light Up Poole - Horizon

Light Up Poole – a festival of light

As long as people have lived in what we now know as Poole they have stood on the shores of the harbour and pondered what lies over the horizon.

That quest for knowledge is just one of the ideas that inspired international acclaimed award winning sound and lights artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid to create a new work called Horizon as one of the centrepieces of this year’s Light Up Poole festival of light art to be projected on the outside of St James’s Church.

Sponsored by Poole BID and funded by Arts Council England, from 21 to 23 February Light Up Poole will see more than twenty light art spectacles transforming the Old Town as some of the world’s leading practitioners join local groups and artists to respond to the theme of ‘Tides’.

Horizon is quite a complex piece, but basically it’s about what we see of the Earth and universe at different points in history,” says Karen Monid. “We’re looking at the medieval view of the universe and where they understood our place to be in it. And then we’re looking at the modern take on the same thing and showing them in parallel using content provided for us by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA.”

The piece, a European premiere for Light Up Poole, has been produced in collaboration with Napa Lighted Art Festival in California and is juxtaposed with the world premiere of another new piece, Zenith, being made by Ross and Karen to be shown inside the church. It uses beams of interrupted light projected on a mirror ball to create an immersive sensory experience.

Ross, whose work has illuminated iconic buildings such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the Shanti Stupa at Dhauligiri in India, explains: “On the outside of the church we’re talking about how we look back on the Earth and on the inside we’re talking about looking out into the universe as these light beams shatter into the stars – we’re kind of turning things inside out.”

Horizon deals with the idea that human understanding has always been bounded by things we can see that we extrapolate from to make sense of things we can’t see. In that sense the questions we ask today are similar those our forebears asked, but from a different point of view now that we can reach the stars.

From the global and universal to the intensely parochial, Karen’s immersive soundscape Sonic Tides has been created specifically for the garden at Scaplen’s Court where it takes audiences on a journey back to the Poole of the 16th century.

“It’s a multi channel audio piece based on research done by local volunteers,” she says. “It’s looking at the life of the property through the lens of the 16th century, a period when Poole was quite successful in terms of trade so it would have been a quite lively town.

“The idea is you walk through the garden and it is dark, things are transformed and you’re immersed in that world so you’ll hear voices from behind trees, there may be some French speaking, the sound of horses, whatever it takes to allow the research to speak.”

Ross and Karen are just two of the international artists showing work alongside emerging artists and students from Bournemouth and Southampton universities and Arts University Bournemouth, as well as Poole schools, as Light Up Poole sets out to challenge and inspire young people’s creativity.

“We are showing work by world class artists as well as young local practitioners so there are clues here for young people who feel the creative urge but wonder what their futures might look like,” says Libby Battaglia of festival directors Audacious.

A cornerstone of this year’s programme the Light Art Symposium led by Bournemouth University will consider creative and commercial opportunities presented by cultural events, such as their contribution to the regeneration of places by developing tourism out of season.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, Poole BID manager, comments: “Light Up Poole is great news for the town and shows that we can rise to the economic challenges that lie ahead by developing cultural and out of season tourism. It all helps to put Poole on the map as a destination to visit throughout the year.”

Rhizome 4

Light Up Poole – A festival of light

Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 February
Poole Quay & Old Town

Transforming Poole’s familiar townscape after dark with an ambitious programme of more than twenty light art spectacles that respond to the theme of ‘Tides’, next month’s Light Up Poole is set to make an international statement.

Sponsored by Poole BID and funded by Arts Council England, the three-night festival of light incorporates three world premieres and a European premiere as well as site responsive versions of works by leading European artists such as Gijs Van Bon’s poetry robot NYX, Tom Dekyvere’s treetop Rhizome installation and the Celestial Beings illuminated stilt walkers of Elixire Circus Arts.

French engineers MinuitUne will provide revolutionary new technology and work with Poole-based Wolf Lighting to illuminate the dockside cranes and create Harbour Glow, a bold new work by light designers James Smith and Audacious that shows the urban industrial space of the Harbour in a new light.

But the festival’s global vision is most apparent in Horizon, a signature projection by artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid on the outside of St James’s Church that has resulted from their partnership with Napa Lighted Art Festival in California. Horizon juxtaposes medieval texts by 13th century English polymath Robert Grosseteste and 21st century imagery from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to illustrate how the things we can and cannot see shape the extent of our knowledge.

‘We’re very proud to have built this link between Poole and Napa and we really hope both festivals will be able to extend connections from one country to another – especially in the light of what’s going on at the moment with Brexit,’ says Ross.

A key part of this year’s festival is a Light Art Symposium led by Bournemouth University to consider creative and commercial opportunities presented by cultural events, such as their contribution to the regeneration of places by developing cultural tourism out of season.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, Poole BID manager, says: “It’s great to see Light Up Poole returning for 2019 after last year’s event was well received by everyone and certainly encouraged participation. There are some really interesting installations in store for this year’s event that we’re looking forward to seeing come to life.”

As well as artists of international standing, Light Up Poole also showcases emerging artists and students from Bournemouth and Southampton universities and Arts University Bournemouth, as well as Poole schools. A cornerstone of the festival’s programming is to challenge and inspire young people’s creativity.

“We are showing work by world class artists as well as young local practitioners so there are clues here for young people who feel the creative urge but wonder what their futures might look like,” says Libby Battaglia of festival directors Audacious.

With the launch of the festival’s new GLEAM Talent Development Programme, Light Up Poole now offers a direct progression route for emerging and local artists, connecting them to industry.

Teenage light artist Seren Birtles was commissioned on the success of her first installation shown at last year’s festival as part of her A-level Art at Blandford School. This year she is being mentored by new media light and sound artist, animator and programmer Andy McKeown from Wild Strawberry and will show a new piece called Eyrie in St James’s Church Hall.

In addition there’s a Young Film Makers competition, student showcase exhibitions and the return of the phenomenally popular Silent Disco.

Among the many highlights of Light Up Poole 2019 are:

Rhizome – Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere’s light installation in the tree space on Orchard Plaza uses sound and vision as metaphors for nature and technology.

Horizon – Award winning British artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid map the outside of St James’s Church with images and sounds to tell the story of how humankind has always reached beyond what it can see to answer questions about its very existence. European premiere.

Zenith – Ross Ashton and Karen Monid play with the physics of light in a dynamic illumination of the inside of St James’s Church. World premiere.

Eyrie – This projection mapping by teenage light artist Seren Birtles in St James’s Church Hall is her first professional commission, the result of her showing at last year’s inaugural Light Up Poole.

Ebbs and Flows – Bournemouth University graduate Ashley Wilkie has been commissioned to make this architectural projection mapping on the Guildhall.

Weather Machine – Wild Strawberry’s hugely popular creation where audiences interact, dance and play with projected seasons and props at Dolphin Quay.

Harbour Glow – A moving light installation by James Smith and Audacious will illuminate the dockside cranes using cutting edge technology by MinuitUne.

Sonic Tides – World premiere of this immersive multi-channel soundscape project by Karen Monid will invoke the sounds of 16th century Poole in the lit garden at Scaplen’s Court. World premiere.

NYX – Amsterdam artist Gijs Van Bron’s poetry robot leaves words in its wake as it travels a loop around the Old Town and Quay.

Tidal Remedies – A characteristically ambitious community conversation piece by Audacious in which people who have not necessarily met before are invited to sit down over a cup of soup and have conversations around topics that emerge from workshops, discovery walks and interviews conducted by Dorset artist Gemma Aldred.  World premiere.

* There are further opportunities for local people to get involved in Light Up Poole as volunteer stewards to work with the Culture Volunteers from Poole Museum. It’s helpful but not essential to have some experience of arts events and to be enthusiastic about public engagement in the arts. To find out more email

Annual Meeting 2019

Poole BID annual meeting

Poole BID’s levy paying businesses are invited to attend its annual meeting, taking place on Thursday, January 31 in Function Room 2 at Lighthouse, Poole.

The meeting will run from 6pm until 7pm and includes presentations from Justin Hundley-Appleton, Poole BID manager, and Adam Keen, Poole BID chairman and general manager of morebus. There will also be a chance to speak to the board of directors as part of a roundtable discussion.

Businesses are encouraged to attend to discuss any issues they may have faced in 2018, along with looking to what 2019 will bring to the town centre.

Adam Keen, Poole BID Chairman, commented: “We want to encourage the levy paying businesses to further engage with the BID and its board of directors. This meeting is the ideal time to come and ask questions, make suggestions, and get involved in the future of the high street.

“The BID has successfully delivered much of what it set out to do in the business plan but the remainder of the term would benefit from further input from local businesses who feel they have something to contribute.”

Levy paying businesses can RSVP to to book a place.

Poole's Mayor, Cllr Sean Gabriel, takes on the zombies

Poole Zombie Fest takes over the High Street

The town’s first ever Zombie Fest took place in Poole on Saturday, October 27. The free, family-friendly event ran all day, with activities from 10am until late.

More than 300 zombies, ghosts and ghouls took part in the Zombie Parade, rounding off the day’s activities. Running from Falkland Square to Town Quay, and led by the Dolphin Marching Band, families and visitors of all ages were able to show off their costumes.

Attractions on the day included face painting and special effects make-up artists, pumpkin carving workshops, a pop-up escape room, VR games, an arts and crafts bus, provided by Cuddles Nursery, and entertainment from Jamie Jigsaw and Krazy Kev.

Following the day’s activities, Quayside Emporium hosted a free Hallowe’en party for families, and The Project Climbing Centre offered a night of UV climbing, live music and performances from Secret Circus.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, Poole BID manager, commented: “We are so pleased with how the first ever Poole Zombie Fest turned out. The feedback we’ve had so far has been excellent, everyone really seems to have enjoyed the event and we’ll be reviewing everything to see what improvements can be made when we look at planning for Hallowe’en 2019.

“We’ll be announcing the winner of our ‘Worst Dressed Zombie’ competition on social media this Wednesday so be sure to keep an eye out.”

The Poole Zombie Fest is coming for you

Countdown to Poole’s Zombie take over

The town’s first ever Zombie Fest will take place in Poole on Saturday, October 27. The free, family friendly event will run all day, with activities kicking off from 10am.

Attractions on the day include face painting and special effects make-up artists, themed stalls and traders, entertainment for the whole family, and a competition to find the ‘Worst Dressed Zombie’.

Head down the High Street for pumpkin carving workshops, opposite Café Nero, available until 2pm. Workshops are free and will last approximately 15 to 30 minutes – get your own pumpkin to carve and take home ready for Hallowe’en.

A free pop up escape room will be running between 10:30am and 3pm, with sessions bookable in advance on the Poole BID Facebook page and on Eventbrite. Enter ‘Checkpoint Alpha 42: Decontamination Zone’ to find the antidote to save yourself and Patient X.

The main Zombie Parade will gather in Falkland Square, outside the Dolphin Shopping Centre, at 3:30pm. Everyone will set off down the High Street at 4pm, ending up at Town Quay by 4:45pm.

A free bus service, known as Route 666 and provided by morebus, will run from 4pm circling the town between Poole Rail Station and Town Quay for all to use.

Quayside Emporium will be hosting a Hallowe’en party after the event for those looking to stay on Town Quay, complete with themed music, party games, mulled wine and cider, and spooky snacks. Free for all spooks and open 5pm until 8pm.

Alternatively, head to The Project Climbing Centre, located in Dolphin Shopping Centre, for a Blacklight UV Zombie Climbing Party. Running from 6pm until 11pm the event features live music from The Chicken Brothers, Diamond Faces will be providing UV face and body paint, and The Lookout Café will be running a bar in the main hall.

Tickets can be booked on Facebook and Eventbrite, ranging from free (for those not climbing, and the Project’s monthly and annual members) to £12 for non-members who would like to climb. There is a limit of one alcoholic drink per person if you wish to climb on the night.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, Poole BID manager, commented: “The final preparations are now underway ahead of the event. We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone into the High Street for the day, there’s so much to do for people of all ages we’re sure that everyone will have a fantastic time.”

Justin Hundley-Appleton, BID Manager, Jonathan Sibbett, Sibbett Gregory, Steve the bus driver and Adam Keen, morebus

Route 666 bound for Poole Zombie Fest

Local company morebus has arranged a free Route 666 bus to run during the evening’s festivities of Poole Zombie Fest, taking place in Poole town centre later this month.

Poole Zombie Fest is a free, family-friendly day of spook-tacular activities taking place within Falkland Square, in the Dolphin Shopping Centre on Saturday, October 27, starting from 10am. All visitors are encouraged to wear zombie fancy dress and visit the special effects stand, where experts will be on hand throughout the day to add the perfect finishing touches to their costumes ahead of the day’s festivities.

Adam Keen, general manager of morebus, commented: “We wanted to do something fun for the first ever Poole Zombie Fest and what better way than providing a free of charge route for all the zombies with our own ‘Spooky Steve’ behind the wheel.”

Route 666 will run from 4pm until 12am making stops throughout the town centre starting at Poole Rail Station to Lagland Street (for High Street), Lower High Street, and Poole Quay (Lord Nelson) every 20 minutes, with return journeys back to Poole Rail Station.

The free-to-enter Zombie Parade will begin gathering at Falkland Square at approximately 3:30pm and will travel along the high street to end at Town Quay at 4.45pm. Prizes will be awarded on the day for the ‘Worst Dressed’ zombies.

Justin Hundley-Appleton, BID manager, said: “We’ve got some great things planned for Poole Zombie Fest and are really looking forward to seeing everyone come down and have fun. There really will be something for everyone, no matter what your age.”

For the latest updates follow on Facebook and Twitter using #PooleZombieFest.

Actual Reality Arcade

Turning Poole Inside Out

Biennial arts festival Inside Out Dorset returns to the county in September, with its launch event sponsored by Poole BID.

The festival takes place from Friday 14 to Saturday September 22, and the opening weekend on Poole Quay will feature the following free installations and performances:

  • …sodade…, Cirque Rouages (France), 7.45pm – at twilight, French company Cirque Rouages present an enchanting show with endlessly turning wheels, tightrope performances and acrobats telling a story of migration and memory.
  • The Actual Reality Arcade, Matthew Harrison (UK), Friday 4pm – 9pm, Saturday 12pm – 9pm – inspired by classic arcade games, this is an interactive game zone. Pilot a spaceship across the galaxy to survive an onslaught of aliens in Defender, or shoot them down in the Space Invaders Gallery.
  • Rock the Boat Street Guitars, Friday 4pm – 9pm, Saturday 12pm – 9pm – five old sailing dinghies have been up-cycled into mini-stages and will be set up along Poole Quay. The boats provide sculptural shelter for acoustic guitars and ukuleles for passers-by to take part in impromptu performances.

Kate Wood, co-artistic director from Inside Out, commented: “We are looking forward to welcoming artists from all over Europe to perform in our distinctive county. The opportunity to present so many premieres by companies that have never worked in the UK before is very special. And with a host of new commissions it makes this year’s a festival not to be missed.”

Justin Hundley-Appleton, manager at Poole BID, added: “We’re really looking forward to the return of Inside Out this year, it’s always a quirky event on the calendar and it’ll be great to see some interesting installations throughout Poole Quay for everyone to get involved with.”

Other performances and activities will be taking place in Weymouth, Boscombe and Dorchester during the week-long festival of arts. Visit for more details including performance times.

FREE Staff Training and Development Opportunities

Locomotivation is an established training provider based in Poole, delivering Apprenticeship and other staff development opportunities across all service-based industries.

Locomotivation have partnered with the Serco Group to deliver the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme, developed to upskill employees within all businesses in Dorset. We provide recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses to enhance your employees’ skills, increase the competitiveness of your business and boost the local economy.

Businesses can select full qualifications or mix and match individual units that are directly relevant to your current training requirements. The courses range from a few hours’ training, to units of NVQ or other qualifications. Because the programme is co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), you can support your workforce at no extra cost to your business.