Inside a Lumini Pentalum structure, red and blue. Peeple lying inside coves.

March 6, 2024, by aczht

Izzy Bradley – Help to Grow: Management alumni

International Women’s Day 2024

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day throughout the week and highlighting the impactful work carried out by our academics, alumni, business partners and students at the Nottingham University Business School.

Izzy Bradley – General Manager and Lumini Project Manager

Izzy Bradley completed the Help to Grow: Management course in summer 2023. Find out more about her inspiring journey:

Izzy Bradley sitting in a room of people facing a screen

Izzy participating in the Help to Grow: Management course

I was delighted to be appointed as General Manager and Lumini Project Manager at Architects of Air in March 2023, after many years enjoying their global touring Luminarium annually at Nottingham University Lakeside Arts. I had previously worked on development and fundraising in the independent arts and culture sector in Nottingham, alongside creative and community outreach work. This was also matched with a degree in BA (Hons) Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University with a medium focusing on site-specific interventions and colour. My new role fuses all these skills together nicely. To support it, I took part in a Help to Grow: Management course with Nottingham University Business School in summer 2023 and was lucky enough to receive a bursary placement.

Starting work with Architects of Air

Architects of Air (AoA), led by Alan Parkinson, are best known for designing, building and touring ‘Luminaria’ – an inflatable sculpture people enter to be moved to a sense of wonder at the beauty of light and colour. Since 1992 more than three million visitors in over 40 countries across five continents have been welcomed into Architects of Air’s monumental Luminaria. Each new creation is a maze of winding paths and inspiring domes where the visitors may lose themselves in sensory bliss, immersed in radiant colour that comes simply from daylight shining through the Luminarium fabric. The Luminaria are made from PVC and handmade by creatives here in Nottingham at our workshop at Oldknows Factory in St. Ann’s which has been our home since the 90s.

My second working day at Architects of Air was International Women’s Day 2023, and I’m honoured to be writing this blog for International Women’s Day 2024 celebrations a year later to reflect on the journey.  I’m pleased to work with some incredible diverse women on the team including our co-founder Isabella Phoenix, Managing Director Mado Ehrenborg, Workshop Assistants Viva Yousouf and Olivia Heathcote, and a plethora of wonderful female freelance Luminarium Managers across the world who travel with our structures.

Developing and relaunching Lumini

I have been tasked to develop and relaunch Lumini and The Lumini Project, focusing on the UK initially. A Lumini is an extraordinary space of light and colour for extraordinary projects, places and people. Lumini are a smaller (‘mini’ / lu-mini!) version of luminaria conceived as spaces for activities that will be enhanced by Lumini’s special visual and spatial qualities. A Lumini has a different role to the Luminaria; Lumini is designed for use as a functional hosting space where the light and colour experience is not an end in itself but is a complement to whatever activity takes place inside. Where the Luminaria each have their individual unifying theme, each Lumini has a distinct character; the Lumini can be deployed singly or in multiple combinations to adapt to different locations. Lumini are accessible to socially driven host organisations that wish to create a special offering to a particular community of people. Like our Luminaria, Lumini are accessible to all, including those with physical disabilities and mobility issues; they embrace all ages, abilities, languages and cultures. Accessibility to the widest audience has always been central to our work.

The Lumini will also be the resource of Architects of Air’s ‘The Lumini Project’ – serving community groups, schools, adults and children with special needs, and more, in our UK region and further afield. Architects of Air originally grew out of a theatre project for people with learning disabilities; our inflatable sculptures first originated back in the late 80s and early 90s as part of a community project, designed by Alan Parkinson, and built by those on probation, touring to local special schools in Nottinghamshire to serve those with special needs. It’s important to us to keep a focus on serving communities with additional and complex needs – particularly with Lumini and The Lumini Project.

Nottingham Lumini Project

As part of this new role, I want to look at new and innovative ideas, directions and partnerships to develop and host Lumini and Lumini Projects. One way of doing this (although we’re not usually event organisers ourselves), I believed, was an opportunity for Architects of Air to develop a Lumini Project here in Nottingham, particularly in our local neighbourhood of St. Ann’s that is historically underserved by public investment in culture. In autumn 2023 we were thrilled to be successful in obtaining an Arts Council England grant to run a Lumini Project in St. Ann’s entitled “There’s Something in the Air” (TSITA). Until the present day we’ve not had any core project funding support and raised revenue from our luminarium touring work. We utilised the Help to Grow: Management course bursary placement cost as match funding to deliver TSITA, so many thanks to Nottingham University Business School for helping to make this happen.

In April 2024 Architects of Air will be partnering with local St. Ann’s schools, grassroots organisations, charities, artists and individuals to deliver TSITA. This will be a week-long programme of FREE accessible cultural activity, enriching arts and culture engagement and opportunities for local community; delivering immersive events, workshops and performance experiences in a Lumini, situated on a local green space known colloquially as ‘The St. Ann’s Heartbeat’. It’s key that this project is delivered with and for St. Ann’s communities, so these opportunities will be available to St. Ann’s residents only. This project is female-led with the project manager and lead practitioners being diverse local women.

Architects of Air will be celebrating and sharing its global success with St. Ann’s by presenting this Lumini Project and removing barriers for its local communities to experience the wonder of our sculptures and immerse themselves and participate in arts and culture activities within. TSITA removes geographic, economic and social barriers for residents to participate in the arts by being free to attend, local to them and inclusive for all.

We intend for this as an initial pilot project model to see if Lumini plays a valuable role in people’s lives through primary research and evaluation and we hope to develop it into a regular fully-fledged embedded event and place-based partnership with St. Ann’s in the future. We also hope to develop other Lumini partners and Lumini Projects locally, regionally and nationally.

We still have some work to do but watch this space for more Lumini and Lumini Project work from Architects of Air… there’s definitely something in the air!

Architects of Air

Arts Council England logo. Black and whiteIf you are interested in the work of Architects of Air and want to know more information, please visit our website or get in touch via email: or follow us on social media @architectsofair_

“There’s Something in the Air” is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Help to Grow: Management

If you’re a senior leader from a small or medium-sized businesses wanting to learn the skills and strategies for resilience and growth, the Help to Grow: Management course may help you develop.

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