A huge illuminated version of planet Earth, Gaia.  suspended above the nave of a cathedral
Photo credit: Phil Longfoot

Gaia, the huge ethereal illuminated globe, is coming to Chelmsford next month.  

The renowned touring artwork will be on display at Chelmsford Cathedral, giving visitors a unique chance to see the Earth from a whole new perspective.

What is Gaia?

Gaia is a touring installation of our planet as seen from space. It’s six metres in diameter and uses detailed NASA imagery to create a replica of our planet’s surface. 

Gaia, named after the personification of Earth and mother of all life in Greek mythology, has been created by artist Luke Jerram. His work has travelled the globe to provoke conversations about the environment and society and formed the backdrop to last year’s COP26 in Glasgow.

On display in Chelmsford Cathedral

Gaia will be on display for three weeks in Chelmsford from 12 October to 30 October 2022. The highly realistic globe will be suspended two metres from the ground and will fill the nave of Chelmsford Cathedral.

“This is a very exciting project for Chelmsford – for the Cathedral, the city and the county. The Cathedral is a remarkable space and will enable everyone to experience Gaia close up in a very powerful way.

“We are excited to be working with our partners across the city to continue the conversations around climate change and the environment and hope that Gaia will inspire local communities through the experiences we have planned over the three weeks”. 

Nicholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford
People pointing a Gaia, a huge illuminated globe of planet Earth
Gaia on display in Belfast

Special events

Exciting events are planned at Chelmsford Cathedral throughout Gaia’s stay in the city. There’ll be mindful yoga and meditation with Gaia as the focal point, lunchtime concerts, a partnership with Anglia Ruskin University as part of their science festival, and a unique musical collaboration between the Cathedral choir and Indo-British poet and world music performer Shephali Frost.

Family activities will also be running in Guy Harlings Garden opposite the Cathedral throughout half term, sponsored by Chelmsford City Culture. The sessions will encourage young people to think about some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges during their visit.

“Chelmsford’s Cathedral is a very fitting setting for this world-renowned artwork, helping us to see the Earth and our city in a new light. Gaia is a humbling reminder of how urgently we must work together to look after our beautiful planet.

“We’re proud to be sponsoring activities for children and families which will engage our young people in ways to care for the environment when they come to see this inspiring installation.” 

Cllr Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader, Chelmsford City Council

Plan your visit

You’ll be able to visit Gaia throughout the day, but all sessions must be booked in advance via Eventbrite to help the Cathedral team manage numbers and ensure everyone gets the best experience.

Day visits to Gaia are free of charge. From 12-30 October, the Cathedral will be open and free to visit from 10-4pm on most weekdays and Saturdays, with shorter visiting hours on Sundays.  

Evening tickets will need to be purchased. There’ll be a special soundtrack accompanying the installation and Gaia will be spectacularly lit, together with exterior lighting of the Cathedral. Visiting times will start from 6.15pm on most days until 10pm, with last entry at 9.30pm.

You can book your tickets now on the Chelmsford Cathedral website. Evening tickets cost £4 per adult and £2 for children.

Gaia volunteering

The Cathedral team is looking for friendly volunteers to help welcome visitors, manage ticket queues and answer any questions. If you’re interested in being a Gaia volunteer, go to the Chelmsford Cathedral website for details of how to apply. 

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