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Celebrating our human relationship with Light

4 May, 2015

UNLOC researchers explore the nature of light on a daily basis and while they remain objective when interpreting the observations of their experiments, they have also developed an intimate human relationship with it. So, when they heard about the OnLight Festival organized by the Wellcome Collection to "illuminate our human relationship with light", they enthusiastically jumped in to take part.

Running for four days between May 1-4, the OnLight event brought together over 60 scientists, historians, artists and architects for a series of performances, discussions, art and interactive demos to explore the significance of light in human life. With most of the activities free and open to visitors of all ages, the public was invited to discover the cultural and scientific importance of light, and reflect on its influence on our past, present and future.

UNLOC had a team of volunteers with extensive prior experience in outreach activities who set-up a series of hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. They were thematically linked to allow visitors to explore the principles behind using light to transmit information and learn about how it is used in all aspects of modern communications. The UNLOC booth was located at Malet Place in UCL and was open all day on Saturday, May 2 as part of the Wellcome Collection Street Fair. The exhibits ran continuously and received a constrant stream of people from irresistably curious 3-year olds to interested adults who were keen to engage the UNLOC researchers in a technical discussion about communication techniques like wavelength division multiplexing.

The Street Fair features a variety of other activities including an attempt to create the world largest cyanotype print, exploration of a 21st-century cabinet of curiosities from UCL Museums, stepping inside a camera obscura, and more. The fair was visited by more than 1000 people who left the Malet Place in UCL with a sense of wonder about the significance of light and our relationship with it.

OnLight Image Gallery

Image Credit: Matt Clayton

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