Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture Shines a Light on the City With Upcoming Art Festival

Since its pivotal role in defeating the Nazi party during World War Two, Milton Keynes has been known as the ‘City of Code’. But, for five days this October, it will become the ‘City of Light’.

Bringing together Milton Keynes’ rich heritage in technology and communications, the city’s incredibly diverse and engaged community, and Islam’s uniquely artistic cultural background, Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture (MKIAC) presents the ‘City of Light’ festival.

From the people that brought you ‘Art in the Park’, ‘City of Light’ is a reflection of MKIAC’s mission to bring Islamic contributions to art, maths and science to the fore, through an exploration of MK’s technological past.

The MKIAC’s Founding Director Anouar Kassim MBE said, “The City of Light festival will unite Milton Keynes’ wonderfully diverse communities to learn about, engage with, and understand one another. MKIAC was founded on the belief that art can bridge divides, and this festival is a shining example of that. With activities ranging from Islamic art workshops to a STEM careers fair, from complex climate change discussions to a fully-loaded light and sound parade, there really is something for everyone. We can’t wait to welcome you all.”

Whether you attend a panel discussion on 6th or 7th October, bring your son or daughter to the STEM careers fayre on 8th and 9th October, or bring your friends and family to enjoy the spectacular performances on 9th and 10th October, this is an event you will not want to miss.

In partnership with artists Maryam Smit and Hasret Brown, MKIAC has held workshops in schools and communities across Milton Keynes on traditional Islamic art patterns. The art produced during these workshops will be digitalised, animated, and screened as part of the light show at station square on 9th October.

Some of this art was created by recently arrived Afghan refugees, who participated in the creative workshops to help them adjust to their new home, develop a greater sense of belonging, and express themselves through familiar art practices.

Some sponsorship opportunities are still available for local businesses. To find out more contact MKIAC at mkiac@mkcollege.ac.uk

Some key details for the event:

– The FREE 5-day festival will take place from 6th – 10th October 2021

– The festival will be hosted at a range of venues across the city including Bletchley Park, Midsummer Place, and MK Station Square. It will include workshops, seminars and unique cultural performances featuring a combination of art, science and technology (full schedule below)

– The ‘main event’ is comprised of a parade of light and music and a spectacular light show which will be seen right across the city, both taking place on 9th October in Central Milton Keynes

– The light show – which will include interactive elements through which attendees will be able to control lasers with their own smartphones – will also be shown once again on 10th October

The Festival Schedule

Day 1 – Wednesday 6th October

Panel Discussion; ‘Using technology to amplify diverse cultural narratives in the art and culture sector’

Bletchley Park, 11 am – 2 pm. Registration: https://bit.ly/2VE9h7J

Day 2 – Thursday 7th October

Panel Discussion: ‘Creativity to tackle the Climate Crisis’

MK College, Chaffron Way, 11 am – 2 pm. Registration: https://bit.ly/3nAMq8H

Day 3 – Friday 8th October

Careers Festival: Focused on STEM roles. Suitable for all ages.

Middleton Hall, centre:mk, 10 am – 4 pm. More information: https://www.mkinnovates.co.uk/

Day 4 – Saturday 9th October

Careers Festival: Focused on STEM roles. Suitable for all ages.

Midsummer Hall, 10 am – 4 pm. More information: https://www.mkinnovates.co.uk/

Sense of Unity Light Parade: Featuring music from internationally renowned German company Dundu and Worldbeaters

Traveling from Midsummer Place, Milton Keyes, down Midsummer Boulevard to finish at Station Square

Time: 18:00, meeting at Midsummer Place

Community Art Digital Animation and Community Performances at Station Square from 19:00

Seb Lee-Delisle’s ‘Laser Light City’ Light Show at Station Square from 20:00

Day 5 – Sunday 10th October

Community Art Digital Animation and Community Performances from Eternal Taal Bhangra Group and the Fusion of Caribbean Steel Drum Band at Station Square

MK Central Station Square from 15:00

Seb Lee-Delisle’s ‘Laser Light City’ Light Show from 19:00

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