Gray’s School of Art lead Northern Light's showcase at SPECTRA 2024

Tuesday 09 January 2024

Hagstone augmented reality artwork created by Sarah Buchan for Northern Lights Project Spectra 2024
Gray’s School of Art has been selected to lead an augmented reality showcase, ‘Northern Lights’ at Spectra 2024, created by emerging artists from the North East.

Scotland’s Festival of Light, SPECTRA, is now in its 10th year and returns to Aberdeen from 8 – 11 February.  

As part of the festival, Aberdeen's city centre will be illuminated with a striking programme of free artworks and events that include an interactive augmented reality, art wonderland called ‘Northern Lights’.

Visitors and residents are invited to embark on a captivating journey through Aberdeen's historic cityscape as 'Northern Lights' showcase a host of immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences.

Northern Lights is being produced by Look Again at Gray’s School of Art on behalf of SPECTRA 2024, and will be led by local artist Craig Barrowman in collaboration with ten commissioned artists with a connection to the north east.

The emerging artists include a number of alumni from Gray's School of Art, who have been selected to create special augmented reality artworks, which will premiere as part of the SPECTRA 2024 programme. The digital pieces will each help illuminate Aberdeen city centre during the festival, and provide a fun and rewarding interactive side to the programme.

The project will see the emerging creatives produce vivid and playful works of art that can be found throughout the SPECTRA site. The works will see audiences interacting with everything from talking trees to local wildlife, a hag stone-inspired portal, and a dazzling rainbow bridge linking some of the artworks. Inspirations will range from local wildlife found in the River Don and River Dee to historical hidden voices of working women, Doric Street Art, and the industrial impact on the Aberdeenshire coastline.

Creatives featuring in the project include Kirsty Lawie of local graffiti-specialists Outlines Collective, 3D designer and Gray’s alumni Kirsty Skea, multi-disciplinary artist Sean Wheelan, 3D animator Si Knox, sculptor and performer Gianni Esporas, and artists Andrey Chugunov, Harry Roberts, Mariana Machalska, Mark Luurtsema, and Sarah Buchan.

Sally Reaper, Director of Look Again at Gray’s School of Art, said: “Look Again is absolutely delighted to be supporting SPECTRA 2024 through the ‘Northern Lights’ project.

“Look Again host a range of events and exhibitions to strengthen the creative sector and community in the North East and SPECTRA is an important part of the region’s cultural calendar that will light up Aberdeen city centre.

“Robert Gordon University is committed to supporting the economic, social and cultural development of our region and our involvement with SPECTRA will foster partnerships and opportunities to showcase the wealth of local talent in our creative community.”

Cllr Martin Greig, Aberdeen City Council Culture spokesperson, said: “We are pleased to be partnering with the Look Again team at Gray’s School of Art as part of this year’s stunning SPECTRA programme. 

"It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the creativity that exemplifies the artistic talent here in Aberdeen and the wider North East.  It will be a rewarding experience for the artists and a fun experience for the Spectra audience to enjoy during the festival.”


Using smartphones, visitors to the festival will be able to immerse immerse themselves in 'Northern Light's interactive augmented reality (AR) experience as they discover different targets across Spectra and scan new 3D digital artworks.

This year marks the festival’s tenth anniversary and SPECTRA will once again see the Granite City’s winter nights lit up with eye-catching projections, interactive sculptures, and magical installations.

Some of Aberdeen’s most iconic buildings and locations will be transformed as part of the spectacular festival programme, including a return to Union Terrace Gardens, Marischal College, and Aberdeen Art Gallery, encouraging audiences of all ages to explore the city and delight in seeing it in a new light.

A leading light of the North-East’s year-round cultural calendar, SPECTRA is delivered by Aberdeen City Council and created in collaboration with local company Live Event Management.

More information on the festival programme can be found at

Main visual by Craig Barrowman, showcasing Sarah Buchan's 'Hagstone', featuring at 'Northern Lights' Spectra 2024 . Gallery images show visual by Craig Barrowman, showcasing Si Knox's 'Leopards', 'Northern Lights' at Spectra 2024. Other photographs by Ian Georgeson from opening night of Spectra 2023, copyright Aberdeen City Council. 

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