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Gaia installation mesmerises Barnsley College’s Bright Nights event

Over 4,500 visitors flocked into Barnsley College’s Old Mill Lane campus last weekend to gaze at Luke Jerram’s Gaia. The prestigious artwork proved to be a popular feature of the Barnsley Bright Nights event. 

Measuring seven metres in diameter, Gaia is a replica of Earth in miniature, created using 120dpi detailed imagery compiled from NASA’s Visible Earth series. The artwork is 1.8 million times smaller than the real Earth with each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture describing 18km of the Earth’s surface.  


Barnsley College’s venue offered a truly unique viewing experience, enabling visitors to enjoy a walking tour around the sculpture, seeing Gaia from all angles. From above, viewers could catch a rare glimpse of the United Kingdom, partially shrouded by clouds, as the artwork slowly rotated. 


Lights were dimmed and a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones was played throughout the public viewing times to create a truly ethereal atmosphere.  


Sally Steadman, Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment at Barnsley College commented: “It has been a real privilege to have this amazing artwork in College. For our students it brought art very much into focus and sustainability to the fore – something we are working on as a College and something that students really want to get involved with.”  


The installation marks a partnership between Barnsley College and Barnsley Council. The Council will be looking at installing artwork in the College annually, as part of its Bright Nights event. 

Photograph: Luke Jerram’s Gaia installed at Barnsley College. (Photo credit: Scott Bairstow)




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