Lumiere gives artists the chance to shine

GLOBAL SCENE: Solar Equation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
GLOBAL SCENE: Solar Equation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
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ARTISTS looking to plug their talent to tens of thousands of people are being given the chance to showcase their work as a prestigious event returns.

Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, will fill Durham with glowing artworks when it makes its fourth visit to the city in November.

BLOOMING PRETTY: Greenhouse Effect by Marco Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis.

BLOOMING PRETTY: Greenhouse Effect by Marco Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis.

Held every two years since 2009, it will bring together some of the world’s most innovative artists and light designers, and the North East’s brightest talents are invited to be among them.

Organisers and art producers Artichoke has launched its BRILLIANT commissioning scheme once again to seek out pieces to exhibit during the four-day celebration, billed as the UK’s largest outdoor festival.

Previous BRILLIANT winners include Durham-based builder Mick Stephenson in 2011, who has since gone on to develop further lightworks and was involved in the creation of the Litre of Light installation as part of Lumiere 2013.

Other projects have also included a series of neons based on the 11th Century Durham Proverbs by Durham teacher Beth Ross; Twist Design’s Stained Glass Cars; and Sarah Blood’s neon bird boxes and soundscape, Sanctuary.

SHOWERING COLOUR: Guardian Angels by Marco Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis.

SHOWERING COLOUR: Guardian Angels by Marco Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis.

In addition to the new commissions from the region, community groups and schoolchildren will also take part in sessions as projects are run in the lead up to Lumiere, with previous schemes including work with a Philippines-based charity which works to install light into homes without electricity and another involving four prisons in County Durham, with the work of 100 prisoners put on show inside Durham Cathedral’s Galilee Chapel.

Helen Marriage, Artichoke’s Artistic Director said: “It’s wonderful to be bringing Lumiere back to Durham for a fourth time, especially during this United Nations International Year of Light.

“We had no idea in 2009 that Lumiere would become a fixture in the region and make the economic impact that it does. It now has a world reputation too.

“As always, the programme will be a nuanced mix of the spectacular and more thoughtful pieces that respond to Durham’s architectural landscape. And as always, the work we do locally in the months leading up to Lumiere, in schools, community groups and prisons, will be just as important.

“This is a festival that has a legacy. Lumiere is about transformation, of places and perception. It lives on in the memory. It changes lives.”

Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Artichoke again and to be bringing what is widely acknowledged as the UK’s premier light festival back to the region.

“Lumiere is not only a spectacular and breathtaking experience for residents and visitors, it provides a vital economic boost to the county’s winter economy.

“We know it also plays a key role in bringing people back to this area so that they can see more of what we have to offer.

“BRILLIANT is a very special part of the festival, drawing on home-grown North East talent.

“I very much look forward to every aspect of Lumiere 2015.”

Applicants for BRILLIANT should submit ideas, together with an estimated budget, by noon on Monday, February 23.

Light should be at the centre of any idea and anyone can apply - no previous experience is necessary. The commissions will receive funding and practical support.

Details about how to apply can be found via together with suggested locations and questions should be sent to

The two-stage process will be judged by a panel, which will include representatives from Durham County Council, Durham Cathedral and Artichoke.

The festival will run from Thursday, November 12, to Sunday, November 15.