This summer, the Great Exhibition of the North will take over Newcastle Gateshead.

Over eighty days, the city will host dozens of events that celebrate the ‘pioneering spirit’ of the North of England, including live music gigs, visual arts installations, and demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies. More than three million people are expected to attend the Great Exhibition of the North over its three month run.

Included in the programme are several events that explore the North’s deep connection to lighting development, and some that incorporate LED lighting into impressive, large-scale works of art. Read on to find out all about these events and when you can see them as part of the Great Exhibition of the North 2018.

A Light Bulb Moment

You may not realise it, but the North of England is closely linked to the development of lighting over the last 150 years.

‘A Light Bulb Moment’ is an exhibition that will explore that history, starting with the work of Sunderland’s Joseph Swan who, in 1880, demonstrated one of the first ever incandescent light bulbs in Newcastle’s Lit & Phil. Visitors will have the opportunity to ‘find out more about the man behind the invention’ in that very same building.

The exhibition will then move on to talk about graphene lighting, which uses a new ‘miracle material’ developed in Manchester. Graphene is 1 million times thinner than a human hair and 200 times stronger than steel, and it can make LED light bulbs even more energy efficient.

A Light Bulb Moment runs from 22nd June – 9th September 2018.

Get North Water Sculpture

The UK’s largest water sculpture will be in full flow during the Great Exhibition of the North. The enormous, 80-metre long fountain will reach the height of the Tyne bridge and will be accompanied by three specially commissioned soundtracks.

At night, the water sculpture will include an incredible light display that takes in the landmarks around the bridge, featuring projected images that celebrate the North’s cultural heritage.

The Get North Water Sculpture will perform hourly between 10am and 11pm every day of the exhibition. 

Ryan Gander – To Give Light (Northern Aspirational Charms)

The latest work by conceptual artist Ryan Gander will highlight ‘the North’s ongoing contribution to global innovation.’ It will take the form of a giant charm bracelet, and each charm will have a historical link to the North of England, such as Joseph Swan’s incandescent light bulb, and the Geordie Lamp. Each of these concrete sculptures will be linked together by a huge maritime mooring chain.

The exhibition runs between 22nd June – 28th August at Gateshead’s Baltic Square.

Tim Etchells – With/Against

Artist and writer Tim Etchells is known for his large-scale neon and LED works, including A Stitch in Time, a 22-metre long, 2-metre high artwork made up of hundreds of white LED light bulbs that was commissioned for the Lumiere Derry-Londonderry. The work is now permanently installed on top of old Rosemount Shirt Factory.

Etchells’ latest work will be exhibited at the Great Exhibition of the North, where it will overlook the River Tyne, and will ‘playfully expand on our understanding of local dialect and phrases.’ It is sure to be one of the most eye-catching works of the exhibition.

With/Against runs between 22nd June – 28th August.

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