Shine a Light

Using the power of community to illuminate possibilities

As we face the stark realities of the climate and ecosystem crisis, fear can isolate us. It’s hard to act or hold on to hope when we’re terrified, overwhelmed and lonely. Now, more than ever, we need the strength of community.

Over 3 weeks in November 2019 we created a chandelier from plastic bottle tops collected in Jubilee Library and along the Brighton & Hove seafront. It will hang the middle of the library until the end of January 2020. Beneath the chandelier is a space where people can gather to have informal conversations, learn, and reflect on how we can find courage and make changes to support each other and our natural world.

Because Shine a Light is about using the power of community to illuminate possibilities. It’s about sharing our fears, our grief and our stories so that we can rediscover reality-based hope and how differently we could live if we put our minds to it. Together, we can shine a light on an alternative vision for the future, and draw on our community’s collective courage and creativity to start building it.

under the chandelier

During January 2020, you’re invited to join us for a series of facilitated Conversations Under the Chandelier. In these informal themed chats you can hear what other people are feeling, thinking and doing about the climate crisis. Share your ideas and connect with others in the community working to change the way things are now.

Wednesdays 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th

Jubilee Library

Wed 8th: ME and the climate crisis

In this first Conversation Under the Chandelier, we’re starting with ourselves. How can we face this crisis and do what is needed? How do we start to confront our fear and the potentially paralysing feeling of helplessness?

Joining us will be Tamsin Bishton and Charlie Peverett, organisers of Five Minutes on the Apocalypse, a local meet-up “born out of their own need to take the time and space to look ecological disaster in the eye from time to time”. And Jane Glezinska, an ecopsychologist who facilitates Ten Steps Towards Personal Resilience and Empowerment in a Chaotic Climate. This programme aims to help people collectively process grief and anxiety related to the climate crisis, and build community connections.

Wed 15th: FOOD and the climate crisis

Join us for the second Conversation Under the Chandelier where we’ll be talking about food. The way we farm, eat and shop now causes a huge amount of waste and uses a lot of natural resources. How can we change things? 

Joining us under the chandelier will be Thomas Daniel from Old Tree Brewery and Helen Starr-Keddle from the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. We’ll be chatting about how we can connect with what we eat, empower people to grow and cook more of their own food, and develop food systems for a healthy and fair future. One where communities, rather than multinational corporations, have greater control over how food is produced and sold, and where there is no food poverty. 

Wed 22nd: THINGS and the climate crisis

How do we use less things and make sure the things we do buy last longer?  How can we challenge the existing system where things are designed not to last? And the existing culture of ‘needing’ to own more and more things? Join us at this week’s Conversation Under the Chandelier to talk about the things we buy and use.  

This week we’re joined by Victoria Jackson and Sam Jarman from the Brighton Repair Café and Jo Godden, founder of RubyMoon, a local ‘not-for-profit Eco and Ethical activewear brand’. We’ll be chatting about everything from the circular economy, the sharing economy and the revival of crafts and making , to restart parties and our right to repair and enhance our electronic devices.  

Wed 29th: PERSPECTIVES and the climate crisis

Imagination is the greatest resource we have in the face of the climate crisis. Yet our imaginations are constrained by  our Western perspective. In our final Conversation Under the Chandelier, we’ll be discussing how we might begin to change that.

This week we’ll be joined by artist and producer Persephone Pearl from ONCA GALLERY and Peruvian documentary filmmaker, Ernesto Cabellos who has directed award-winning films that chronicle over 15 years of conflict between communities and mining companies in Peru including Hija de la laguna – Daughter of the lake. Together we’ll discuss how creativity and stories are critical to our shared survival, help to build bridges and to expand the playground for our imaginations. 

Making the chandelier


Bottle tops were threaded to make the chandelier


Volunteers helped us make it in a series of 4 workshops


The number of days it took to assemble the chandelier


Ceremony to come together as a community that cares

The back story

Shine a Light follows on from A Drop in the Ocean. This original plastic-collecting, awareness-raising, conversation-starting project resulted in a colourful 50-metre wave of plastic bottle tops on the Brighton & Hove seafront. But not all the bottle tops collected during the project’s lifespan could be used on the fence.

Project organiser, Irene Soler, wanted to use every one of the 29,684 tops. As it was a statement about our throw-away culture, A Drop in the Ocean wouldn’t be complete unless everything that was collected could be put to good use.

But how?

In the two years since Soler conceived A Drop in the Ocean, the conversation around the climate crisis has shifted dramatically. Compared to just 24 months ago, far more people know just how much we need a fundamental societal change. This final step in the project needed to both reflect that and support what was happening now.

Awareness of the problem was no longer needed, now the focus needed to be on the vision, and helping people overcome the apathy that can come from feeling powerless in the face of a global crisis. It still needed to create attention, to bring joy through colour and design (if only for a moment), and to grow from a process that facilitated human connection and difficult conversations.

The result is Shine a Light. Our hope is that in some small way it will help to strengthen our community and our resolve to imagine and build a radically different type of global society. One that is fair and balanced,  where all people and the natural world are always more important than things.