SCOTLAND’S multi-award-winning festival of light is set to brighten up the winter nights.

A striking programme of free artworks and installations has been drawn up for this year’s 10th anniversary of the Spectra Festival from February 8 to 11.

It includes festival favourites Heinrich and Palmer who are returning to the city with a spectacular new artwork charting the maritime story of Aberdeen, from tall ships to oil rigs, and a transition towards a renewable future.

The large-scale 3D projection will take over the Sculpture Court at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Following the conclusion of the festival, the piece will also become a part of the gallery’s permanent collection.

The National:

The gallery’s Remembrance Hall will also feature Butterfly Dream by artist Anne Bennett, who has created a flight of hand-cast and neon-flecked butterflies to sway above the heads of the audience, reflecting the fragility and gentle power of ecosystems threatened by human interventions.

Illumaphonium dazzled Spectra audiences in 2022, and the team returns with a new immersive artwork for 2023. Continuum will see Broad Street transformed by a geometric matrix of mirrored and luminescent sonic monoliths to encourage audiences to create paths and connections with each other and the environment.

Meanwhile, Union Terrace Gardens will host two new interactive installations – Affinity by Amigo and Amigo and Submergence by Squidsoup.

Affinity is a colossal light sculpture made up of a network of light globes inspired by the connections in the human brain.

And Submergence will see UTG illuminated by thousands of points of suspended light in an immersive 12-minute performance.

Edinburgh-based light artist Flora Litchfield’s Lightstream (below) will weave a soundscape of light and voice into the courtyard of Marischal College, while photographer David Gilliver will run workshops for local S5/S6 pupils and college students, exploring the possibilities of light painting and photography.

The National:

The images produced from the workshops will be curated and displayed, by projection, in the windows of empty shop units on Schoolhill and Upperkirkgate.

The programme will also feature some returning favourites, including neon face painting at Marischal Square by artist Ulianka and Spectra’s resident storyteller Pauline Cordiner, who will welcome audiences to Cowdray Hall with storytelling for all ages in English, Scots and Doric.

Martin Greig, Aberdeen City Council culture spokesperson, said the theme of connections had been picked as the aim is to bring together as many people as possible.

“Spectra began as a small-scale pilot event in 2011 and over the years it has grown into a major festival for everyone in the north east to enjoy,” he said. “The event will, once again, be a great time for fun and friendship.”

READ MORE: Outlander's Sam Heughan opens up on 'frightening' Men in Kilts experience

Paul Bush, of VisitScotland, said it had been wonderful to see how the event had evolved since its inception.

“This year’s theme of ‘Connections’ also reinforces the important role events like Spectra play in our communities, allowing us all to come together and share memorable experiences, while also strengthening Scotland’s position as the perfect stage for events,” he said.