What is
Shine a Light?

Shine a Light is about creating a space for ‘what if…?’

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, we’ll be creating a chandelier from bottle tops collected in the Jubilee Library and along the Brighton & Hove seafront. It will hang in the library until the end of January 2020. Beneath it we’ll create a space where we can gather to learn and reflect on how we can find courage and make changes to support each other and our natural world. Here, as well as in the  chandelier-making workshops, we’ll have the chance to connect with others who care and to put our imaginations to work.

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 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.

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.