University of Aberdeen to help light up city centre

The University of Aberdeen is set to be part of this year's Spectra festival, which takes place in the city centre this week (13-16 February).

Organised by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with arts producers and placemakers Curated Place, Spectra lights up the winter nights offering an extraordinary experience of light and sound.

Spectra brings together artists, thinkers, musicians and businesses with the public to experience the city at its best with interactive sculptures, architectural projections and experimental music inspired by Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Water.

The University, which is one of the sponsors of this year’s event, has supported the work of visiting scholar Dr Monica Germana who will work alongside Doubletake Projections to create a sea monster themed large-scale projection that will be part of a spectacular light display in Marischal Quad.

University of Aberdeen Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor George Boyne said: “Spectra is a fantastic vibrant event which makes art and culture accessible for everyone in the region to enjoy.

“As the University marks its 525th anniversary this month, we were keen to be part of the event as part of our year of celebrations. As an institution, we pride ourselves in being open to all and I feel this ethos is very much at the heart of Spectra. The opportunity to sponsor the event and have one of our visiting scholars work alongside artists to show how research can be translated into art is very exciting and I can’t wait to see the work shown in Marischal Quad.”

Susan Curran, Exhibitions and Public Programming Manager of the University’s Museums and Special Collections, added: “I am sure members of the public will be bowled over when they see the University and Monica’s contribution to Spectra! We worked with Monica giving her access to various materials and images from the special collections and it will be thrilling to see how these are interpreted into such a large scale light installation!

“The Friends of Aberdeen University Library, which funded Monica's research,  will also host a special event on Saturday where she will talk about her project and the inspiration behind it. Before the talk, those who come along will also be able to see the materials that inspired the piece close up, which will be fantastic for those who have seen or are planning to go and see the display in Marischal Quad.”

Andy Brydon, Director of Curated Place commented: "All of us at Curated Place are extremely excited to be working once again with the University to bring the work and insights of their staff, students and researchers to the city centre.

“Building on our work with the collections team and academics that saw us create the first Spectra projection map on Marischal College in 2015 "Faces of Aberdeen" that celebrated the work of Aberdonians such as James Clarke Maxwell, we're now being introduced to the spectacular and strange shared mythology that ties Aberdeen to its Nordic neighbours thanks to the work of Dr Germana tracing shared mythology of the sea - providing stunning material for a light and sound show to remember." 

Dr Germana’s talk ‘From sea creatures to Polar flora: Scottish and Arctic narratives from the North of the World’ will take place at 2pm on Saturday, February 15 at the Sir Duncan Rice Library. The talk is free to attend.