OXFORD is set to be lit-up with festive lights again as the Christmas Light Festival returns to the city this year.

In 2020, the event shifted its focus from the city centre to become an event based in local communities and this year the programme expands further into the city’s neighbourhoods.

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Held on November 19 and 20, there will be four main festival neighbourhood hubs at Rose Hill, Cowley, Blackbird Leys, and Cutteslowe.

Buildings, parks, streets and houses will be illuminated with light creations accompanied by sound, movement and interactive play.

These local creative hubs will highlight partnerships between Oxford’s leading cultural organisations, community groups and residents.

The festival aims to celebrate the 'art of connectivity' and will kick-off with the Christmas light switch-on on the Friday evening, including a large-scale illumination and a Victorian market on Broad Street and in Gloucester Green.

Festival directors, Karen Starr and Lois Muddiman, have taken the reins of the festival for the first time this year.

Karen Starr said: "We’re very excited to be working on Oxford’s Christmas Light Festival - one of the city’s key, annual cultural events. The ideas that Oxford residents and creative organisations are working on together for the festival weekend will light up the skies, as public spaces and neighbourhood streets become the canvas for a weekend of illuminations.

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"Having the festival take place in the city’s residential areas allows so many more people to be able to actively take part or simply stroll around their neighbourhood to see sculptures, light trails and displays. There’s lots to look forward to and lots of ways to get involved. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone out on their streets enjoying the spectacle.”

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and Oxford Preservation Trust will be celebrating the 950th anniversary of Oxford Castle with a full-scale son et lumière projection.

Oxford Contemporary Music and Arts at the Old Fire Station have jointly commissioned a dance and sound performance from Thomas Page Dances and a four-part immersive work called Creating on Borrowed Time will spread across the city, exploring the relationship between dance, light, time and sound.

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Councillor Mary Clarkson, cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “By making the festival in the residential areas of the city, everyone can get involved and enjoy a weekend of connection through arts and culture."

The full programme of events, workshops and trails are published on the festival website at oxlightfest.com.

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