For the past 11 years, Lumiere Festival has been lighting up Durham’s public buildings, parks and squares with mesmerising installations and interactive light-based artworks. The festival commissions artists from the UK and worldwide including Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan and Canada, tasking them with reimagining the city’s buildings through light.
With an eclectic programme boasting everything from cutting-edge sculpture and LED installations to fire breathers, film screenings and lantern parades, there’s something for culture buffs and families alike.
Taking place across four nights, the festival attracts audiences from the North East and beyond – over 1 million people have visited Lumiere Festival since its inception. As well as projections to admire, performances to enjoy and galleries to wander around, there are drop-in writing, art and craft workshops to take part in.
Community-led works are a huge part of Lumiere. Past festivals have included poetry projects created in collaboration with prisoners at HMP Low Newton, and a musical installation which invited passersby to create projections by playing the keys of pianos.
Lumiere is returning to Durham from 18 – 21 November 2021 with a fitting theme of “light at the end of the tunnel”. Organisers Artichoke are putting together an exciting programme of work by UK and international artists and local talent. The festival’s return is going to be a “look ahead to brighter times”, says Artichoke director Helen Marriage.
As well as the usual installations across the city, there’ll be a new online exhibition of behind-the-scenes photography from previous Lumiere festivals, shining a light on the unsung heroes who help make the event happen – from technicians and artists to engineers and audiences.
Commissioned by Durham County Council, with extra support from Arts Council England and Durham University, the nocturnal spectacle is now a jewel in the city’s crown.