Glowember is coordinated by the Oulu Culture Foundation, also known as Oulu2026. Oulu is the European Capital of Culture in 2026. The extensive operating area spans 39 municipalities in northern Finland, which are all participating in the culture program. Across 12 municipalities in the area, November will be brightened by a wide range of events and artworks. The events are organized by various entities, including municipalities and associations. Some of the events are already well known, while others are being organized for the first time.
The Lumo Light Festival has demonstrated how the union of darkness and light inspires people and creates new experiences. This play of contrasts is now being extended over a longer period and supplemented with additional content and new themes. The whole spectacle takes place over a broader area, as part of the journey toward the Cultural Capital Year in 2026.
The first Glowember includes Ii, Kajaani, Kemi, Kempele, Liminka, Lumijoki, Muhos, Nivala, Oulu, Tornio, Tyrnävä, and Ylivieska. Events are free of charge, but some require registration in advance. In some municipalities, artist Pia Leppänen and lighting designer Indrek Virronen have conducted workshops to create a community art installation called ‘Water, My Beloved.’
Illuminating Everyday Life Together
“We want to expand the concept of culture and introduce people to the Oulu2026 area. The darkest time of the year may tempt people to stay at home, but we encourage participation and sharing one’s experiences of the joy that light brings. There are numerous opportunities across a wide region,” says Mirja Syrjälä, Oulu2026’s Community Engagement Coordinator.
Syrjälä adds that individuals can participate in Glowember in ways that suit them, such as illuminating their everyday surroundings, like their backyards or workplace windows, in a new way. Light can also be shared on social media, and those who publish light-themed images on their social channels using the hashtags #Glowember and #Oulu2026 will have a chance to win Oulu2026 merchandise, such as t-shirts.
Articles about light from various perspectives will be published on Oulu2026’s website. Contributors include producer Veikko Leinonen from Kajaani’s Kekri Festival, researcher Henrika Pihlajaniemi from the University of Oulu, creativity coach Virve Saaranen from Hyvän Mielen Talo, executive director Virve Leikola and curator Anna Björklund from the Finnish Light Art Society FLASH, as well as CEO Roope Siiroinen from VALOA design.
First to ignite the flame – Marrastulet
One part of the Glowember is Marrastulet (November Fires), an immersive and participatory series of light events in the municipalities of Rantalakeus. Tyrnävä takes a head start on Glowember; Marrastulet events will be available there starting from Monday, October 30th. Events will be held every week throughout November. Kemi, for example, is participating in Glowember with permanent artworks that can be visited at any time.
Check out all Glowember events at: oulu2026.eu/en/glowember