Nottingham’s Illuminated Poetry

Platforms Deputy Fashion Editor, Ella Bowers, recently visited a new piece of public art being exhibited under the bridge by Nottingham Station. Below she tells us more about the light spectacle and why you should go and visit it..

‘Each month, I make the same familiar walk to and from Nottingham railway station. However my most recent trip was different; I hopped off the train in usual fashion and came across a colourful spectacle beneath the bridge over Station Street.

I later found out that it was the vibrant ‘Line of Light’ work of Jo Fairfax; produced to celebrate Nottingham’s UNESCO City of Literature status. Every day of the year, a new five-word line of poetry will be projected onto the dark brick wall of the underpass. These alternating inspirational words will continually bring a new burst of energy to the urban area.


The line above is a lyric in Jake Bugg’s track ‘Seen It All’ and it is one of many creative pieces projected. Jake even sent in the lyrics himself to pay respects to his Nottingham routes. Other projected poems include the work of Lord Byron and Anne Brontë, as well as many well-loved international writers, past and present. There is also a local dimension, as work of Nottinghamshire residents will also be presented, to reflect Nottingham’s rich literacy position.






After much research Jo Fairfax said that, in the end, he went with his instinct of what would look just right on the Station Street wall. ‘I want each line to act as a depth charge for people’s imaginations and souls as they go about their business,’ Fairfax told the West Bridgford Wire. It definitely stopped me in my stride in admiration.

The bridge will come alive at night, as sets of parallel lines pulse with bright neon colour in sync with the trams passing overhead. I think this is such an amazing idea; combining the rhythm of bustling city life with a breathtaking colourful energy. These illuminations continue under the tram tracks, up to the canal where they finish with a projection of a lace pattern, key to Nottingham’s industrial history.




On November 2nd, this innovative art installation was switched on and showcased to the public for the first time. This was a great introduction leading up to Nottingham’s Festival of Literature (November 8th-13th). Commissioned by Nottingham City Council, the work is part of exciting redevelopment plans for the city centre.

The whole design struck a chord in my imagination. I think it is something magical that everyone visiting Nottingham must experience. It has actually inspired me to explore poetry myself. Whenever I go to catch my train in these early dark nights, I will make sure I see the beautiful line of that day.’

This review originally appeared on Ella’s personal blog

Edited by Polly Evans | Culture and Entertainments Editor