Botanic Lights: Night in the Garden

Malcolm Innes, Euan Winton

Research output: Other contribution


In 2012, The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) approached Malcom Innes to explore options to use light art installations and events to generate a new income stream for RBGE. The project began with a small feasibility study (funded by an Interface Innovation Voucher) presented to the public in December 2013-Jan 2014. This led to Follow-on funding to create a larger scale temporary public event. Eschewing the previous norms of light trail installations that utilised high powered theatre lighting and were based on effects, the Botanic Lights project was built around a series of strong narratives that led the design and creation of the visual effects. The delivery of the event involved collaboration with other specialists including commissioning two looping passages of music to help illustrate the narrative. The project generated three peer-reviewed academic papers by colleagues which were presented at international conferences in Rome, Chicago and Zagreb. The project was selected by the funder as a case study of good practice in public engagement and was presented to a Beltane Breakfast seminar session. 23,000 paying visitors attended the event in November 2014, bringing an income of £20,000 to RBGE with further economic impact through visitor spend. This inaugural event won a Museum + Heritage Award; Best Large Event at Scottish Event Awards 2015; received a Commendation at the Drum Scottish Design Awards and was shortlisted for the Marketing Star Awards. The event has now become a staple of Edinburgh's winter events calendar. The success of the 2014 event led directly to requests for Malcolm Innes to establish projects and collaborations with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Dunbar SciFest, Beltane Network and Heriot Watt University. The interpretive design approaches of Botanic Lights were developed further in each of these projects.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2014


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