Glow Wild: A Q&A with Creative Director Lorraine Lecourtois



Glow Wild is the enchanting winter lantern trail taking place at Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex from November to December.

We had a chat with Lorraine Lecourtois, the Head of Programmes and Learning and Creative Director for this year's event about what inspired the trail, how Glow Wild has evolved over the years and more...

Can you tell us more about the theme for this year’s Glow Wild and how that plays out in the event?

For 2020 Glow Wild has been inspired by the small things that make a big difference in our environment. Tiny seeds floating on the wind, the wonders of fungi, the millions of tiny spores they emit, the networks they create under our feet.

We develop the content in collaboration with a host of more than 16 artists and inevitably our ideas shift as we move through the year. This year the idea of all things air borne has gripped our imaginations and we will be enjoying the stunning silent flight patterns of the barn owl as well thinking about the humble bumble bee, how they live and move around our everyday lives.

How many lanterns will be part of the event this year and how / when are the designs planned out?

We always get questions about how many lanterns are included and it is an ever moving beast. Every year over 700 lanterns are repaired by hand and this year there are well over 100 new additions. I think we will end up with about 900 lanterns in the landscape this year.

How do you go about selecting the artists who create installation's for Glow Wild?

We are working now on the concept ideas for Glow Wild 2021 and once we have our initial concepts in place we go and look for artists who would be perfect to collaborate with us. Some artists have worked with us before, some we will approach because we love their work and some will respond to a call for art works which fit with our themes. All our artists work together; Glow Wild is one piece of work created collaboratively, responding to the landscape.

Wakehurst is home to over 500 acres of woodland, plants and wildlife, how does Glow Wild complement and take influence from its surroundings?   

Wakehurst is in our bones, it is an amazing, beautiful, awe inspiring place to work. Glow Wild is a way of allowing visitors to have a sensory experience of Wakehurst at night.

Working with the artists and teams onsite, we work to utilise the undulations and stories of the landscape to compliment each other. Whether it’s using the reflections on water, an avenue of ancient Oak trees or the evocative vistas of the Pinetum, we work with the plants and landscapes to bring our wild botanic garden to life at night.

How has the event evolved over the last seven years?

Glow Wild was borne out of our horticulture team, it started as a small event with just 4,000 people. It has become our largest event and it is part of the life blood of the site and income from Glow Wild is vital to support our science and conservation work at RBG Kew. Seven years later we welcome over 80,000 people to the event over five weeks, we pride ourselves on each evening still being an intimate sensory experience where everyone can connect with the light and Wakehurst.

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I’m Georgia & I’m on the Marketing team. Depending on which month you ask, you will find me either at a Festival, in the sea, with a camera in my hand or in full on hibernation mode.

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