About Me

Cathy Mager 2004I’m Cathy Mager, founder of Spectroscope. I’m an artist and a curator. I am also the director of Sign Night, an award winning series of projection artworks that have been featured at Arnolfini for the 2022 Bristol Light Festival and at the Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai for the 2022 Dalwa Festival.

I’m passionate about finding ways to reach excluded and isolated people and enable them to play a meaningful role in something amazing. I believe in empowering young people to be leaders, to act as the artists and architects of public events that inspire new understanding of heritage and culture.

I form innovative teams of engineers, digital illusionists, artists and architects to create spectacular performances, installations and festivals.

I have experience of delivering monumental sculptures to intimate front room concerts across outdoor, historic buildings, museum and community settings. I invent ambitious new ways to invite public participation.

If you’re looking for someone to form a creative vision and build a collaborative team to make things happen, get in touch to see how I can help. Contact me at: contact form.

I was recently Creative Director of Heritage and Public Space Design for the Bristol Beacon 2020-2024, part of which includes leading the National Lottery Heritage funded The Lantern Project. Prior to this I was Director of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust 2014-2021, overseeing an ambitious programme of events and sculptures in collaboration with Forestry England. I was also Artistic Director of The Ring, which won best large-scale art & culture project at the 2019 National Living Waterways awards. The Ring was a commissioning programme that explored the hidden histories and heritage of 21 miles of rural and urban waterways in Worcestershire and Droitwich led by the Canal & River Trust with a consortium of local partners.

I began my career as a youth arts officer working with disabled young people. Later, I became Community Relations Officer at Historic Royal Palaces, carrying out outreach and community engagement events and exhibitions at Tower of London, Hampton Court, Kensington and Kew Palaces. This included launching a ‘digital wishing well’ of poetry by young people which was opened by HRH The Queen in 2004. In 2005 I became Creative Communities Curator at Art on the Underground working with communities across London to create collaborative exhibitions seen by millions of commuters. Following the events of 7/7 I led a staff involvement programme and edited Kings Cross is Rising a collection of poetry by Tube staff who witnessed the aftermath of the bombings.

As a producer at Southbank Centre 2007-2012, I managed a range of unusual projects including Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef with some of the world’s most exciting craftivists, mathematicians and scientists in a series of installations and events, Pestival, – the ‘Glastonbury of the natural world’, which won the Conservation Project of the Year at the Observer Ethical Awards 2009; In from the Cold, Dec 2008 a climate change themed giant inflatable Igloo cinema inside Royal Festival Hall; Project Morrinho, a miniature favela created at the Southbank Centre as part of Festival Brazil that brought together young people from Rio and Brixton, and Urban Fox, a 7 metre high straw sculpture that hit the headlines internationally, with rave reviews in the New York Times. I was also very proud to co-curate Museum of ’51 as part of the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, in collaboration with Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. My work at Southbank led me to be selected as one of the Top 50 Women in UK Creative Industries in 2010 by the Cultural Leadership Programme.

I am a Clore Fellow (2021), Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a mentor and served on the selection committee for Unlimited 2012-2019.