Artist to Create a Spectacular New Large-Scale Light Show set to Celebrate the Births of Manchester & Salford Babies

Hundreds of expectant parents in Manchester and Salford are invited to light up the night sky to celebrate new life...

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 19 July 2022

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Ahead of the opening of The Factory, the landmark cultural space being developed in the heart of Manchester, artist Luke Jerram will celebrate new life with a spectacular public artwork marking the births of Manchester and Salford’s newest residents.

On the riverbank of the Irwell, outside The Factory, ‘First Breath‘ will see a large-scale installation cast bright beams of light up into the clouds from 1st – 31st January 2023. Each evening, the lights will gently pulse the number of births recorded that day in Manchester and Salford to mark the first breaths of hundreds of babies born on the doorstep of the city’s new cultural venue.

Opening in 2023, The Factory will commission and present a year-round programme of extraordinary, ground-breaking and interdisciplinary work by leading artists from across the globe.

Delivered by the team behind Manchester International Festival, Luke Jerram’s artwork will set in motion a five-year-long programme of bespoke family activities and opportunities at The Factory, connecting a new generation through culture and exploring how art can be woven into daily family life from birth.

Each of the families with babies born in January will also receive a lifetime membership to The Factory – providing priority booking, discounted tickets and exclusive invitations to everything from major exhibitions and epic concerts, to family performances, workshops and ground-breaking digital experiences.

Expectant parents due in January 2023 from all backgrounds and pregnancy journeys can sign-up to First Breath now at

Luke Jerram has made his name creating fantastically accessible live artworks, sculptures and experiences about everything from Covid-19 to the environment, with his most successful artwork Museum of the Moon experienced by more than 10 million people worldwide and his giant 10m Floating Earth seen by thousands in Media City in Salford and in Pennington Flash near Wigan in 2021.

Luke Jerram said, “First Breath was inspired by the birth of my daughter, Maya back in 2006. So it’s taken 16 years to be able to realise this artwork! I’m so excited that First Breath will finally be created and it’s so fitting that it will help launch the birth of this extraordinary new cultural space in Manchester. I’m really looking forward to meeting many of the expectant families involved with this project, and helping them celebrate this shared milestone in their lives.”

Jarram's Floating Earth

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of The Factory and Manchester International Festival said, “At the turn of 2023 we’ll celebrating new beginnings with a beautiful public artwork projected from the site of our future home into the night sky. As we welcome hundreds of new-borns into the world through Luke’s light sculpture, we will also be breathing life into our new building and, we hope, setting in motion a fruitful life-long relationship with a new generation.”