Light Night 2016

From January to June 2016, Nottingham Museums and Galleries Service have been working with Becky Cullen, a poet and PhD student funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.

For Light Night, Becky and fellow Midlands3Cities Cultural Heritage PhD student Suzy Harrison became Cullen and Harrison, Poetic Portraitists and Family Photographers. In the Nemi Room at Notitngham Castle, they asked families to describe themselves, and took their photos.

Over 300 children, friends, parents and grandparents wrote, drew and shared their families on coloured ‘family flags’ – Suzy took photos of families of all kinds. We’re very happy to share the photos and writing with you here – Becky has tried to make sure that everybody’s words have been included in some way – no mean feat!

Becky writes, ‘The words that people used over and over again to describe their families were ‘love,’ ‘fun’ and ‘kind.’ Whatever kind of family we come from – including our friends and pets – Light Night was a really good reminder of how important, and kind, and fun, families are to people in Nottingham – and how much we love them.’

Can you spot your family? Can you spot yourself?!

Many many thanks to everyone who took part.

Family Portraits

A family is the word love written twice, fitting tightly into a heart.

Sometimes the first heart is not quite big enough, needs one more

to keep it safe. Make sure you tick it.

A family is play. It’s three swings and a slide, next to a path.

It’s a boy unfolding like a flower, shouting hello,

then saying it again, bigger and in a different colour.

Noise is family, and music, and being active in the sun.

A pet is family. It’s a cat curled asleep,

tired from walking on two legs.

It’s a dog that looks a bit like an anteater.

Sometimes it’s a cool dad in a cap,

or being able to draw just like your mum.

A family is your name, forwards or backwards.


Lily’s Family

My mummy is nice,

my dad looks kind

my brother looks kind –

he is a sharer.

I am pretty.

My mum is lovely.

I love my dad.

I am growing

to be a

big sister.


My family is the best

Well, my brother always is silly and fun;

when I play with him he always laughs –

I have fun with my brother.

Well then, my mum is an incredibly good baker.

She loves baking things;

my birthday cake is the best.

Right. My dad is a good t-shirt printer,

he loves monsters.

My toy is the best, I love him a lot.

I go swimming, I go everywhere with him.


My brother

In Summer my brother is amazing

banging pots and pans and playing the Xbox in bed all day.



We go to Vernon Park, or Wollaton Hall, or Highfields

to feed the ducks. We get together on Thursdays

and there are lots of us.

Like the strong sides of a square, the Boyds love me and I love them.

The King family is five people and they are all smiling.

Linked by the heavens and held in love, family is everything to me.

Two families as one, living in the city we love.

Always happy together, having parties, spending time with relatives.

Laughing on holidays, including Christmas and Butlins.

They need not to lose us.

I live in Madagascar.

Also, have a good day.


Words we use to describe Nottingham families

Fantastic, loving, irritating probably, friendship, love, happiness, sharing, kind. Nice, safe, fun, learning, laugh, love, care. Playing crazy, happy, sounds full of love, kiss, play. Happiness; family box,

Kindness and laughter, love and fun, wonderful, cheerful, loving, enjoyable, kind and helpful.

Love, funky, crazy, happy, funny, joyful, epic, unknown, mysterious. Awesome, funny, crazy eyes, clever, loving, exciting, sweet. Fun, supportive, always there. My closest friends, happy, nice,

teaching things I don’t know, special. Treats. My family are everything to me. Crazy, beautiful and kind, funny, beautiful and daddy. Secrets. Wowmazing, the huggliest, curly and radonkulous. Fighting over Monopoly. Unique, interesting, caring, lovely, helpful, adorable, sage, happy, loved,

funny, sharing, fun, kind, excitement. Humble, noise, unity, compassion. A happy home, cuddles. Good, best. Holding hands, kind, nice, love together always, funny, cool, cute. Sweet like a cherry, bright like the sun in snow, energetic, beautiful, friendly, kind. Nice, lovely, love, kiss, love, help, sharing time. Silly. My family makes me happy. Helpful, implacable, although supportive, bonkers, fun, BOOM!


Our families have the best names

Sam, Joss, Kirstie,

Ameilia Ella, Harvey.

Jess, Ted, Rowan,

Diya, Daisy, Lily.

Paul, DJ, Alexia,

Katie, Jack, Evan.

Aoife, Rosa, Mary,

Angus, James, Fran.

Keira, Rokak, Mya,

Clarke, Nameela, Lee.

Myself, brother, sister,

mum, mummy, daddy.

Jade, Stuart, Dylan,

Maloe, Remy, Paige.

Chenai, Spencer, Fletcher,

Tatiso, Aaliyah-Faith.

Richard, Jack, Claudia,

Amelia, Alfie, Sammy.

Elliott, Roanne, Alfie,

Lily Belle, Natatie.