Durham Lumiere 2023 dates: Light trail preparing to return in spectacular style

The countdown is on for the return of the Lumiere spectacular.

Preparations are in full swing for the major free biannual event, which will return next year 16-19 November 2023 in Durham.

Produced by leading arts producers Artichoke and commissioned by Durham County Council, Lumiere will reimagine Durham’s iconic buildings and spaces with a thought-provoking and entertaining new programme of spectacular light artworks and exclusive commissions by UK and internationally-renowned artists who have something to say about our world.

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Fundraising for the event is already underway and with plenty of opportunities for local businesses to get involved.

Last year's Lumiere

Since 2009, Lumiere in Durham has attracted more than one million visitors and stands as a landmark event in the cultural calendar of the North East. For its 8th edition in 2023, the programme will continue to bring magic, joy and light to the local community, brightening the dark winter nights of November and boosting the local economy.

Recognising these are difficult times, in 2023 Lumiere is partnering with the County Durham Community Foundation to channel investment back into the local community.

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Selected donations made to Lumiere by individuals, new partners and local businesses will be doubled by The Foundation, unlocking additional funds for Lumiere learning and participation programmes and the Foundation’s Poverty Hurts Appeal.

Poverty Hurts will provide year-round support to County Durham families, older people at risk due to cold homes, younger people struggling with mental health and employment issues, and children without warm winter coats.

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The Froggs, LED rock 'n' roll band invades Market Place, Durham at Lumiere 2021

Beyond the lights, Lumiere’s established learning and participation programme and volunteering opportunities have benefitted over 12,000 local people and schoolchildren since 2009, inspiring ongoing artistic endeavours and providing learning resources.

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For Lumiere 2023, these programmes will return, creating new opportunities for the local community to take part in and develop skills, demonstrating County Durham’s creativity on a national platform.

Artichoke is signed up to Vision: 2025, a network of over 500 outdoor events and businesses taking climate action towards net zero. In 2023, Lumiere will engage industry experts, A Greener Festival, to undertake a carbon impact assessment of the event and is committed to working collaboratively with Durham County Council and the local community to deliver a sustainable and environmentally-conscious event.

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Artistic Director of Artichoke, Helen Marriage says, “It would be tempting to think Lumiere is not a priority in our current difficult economic circumstances but Lumiere has never just been about stunning spectacle and pretty lights.

“Over the years, Lumiere has consistently brought tangible benefits to the local community, building the local economy, investing in local businesses, training local kids and putting Durham firmly on an international culture map. In these challenging times, it is all the more important that families have events to look forward to without having to worry about what it will cost to attend.

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“Lumiere is free for everyone to enjoy, the result of amazing partnerships forged over the years with Durham County Council, Arts Council England and Durham’s local institutions and businesses who all invest in the event to bring wider benefits to the community. And as part of County Durham Community Foundation’s match-funding programme of the Poverty Hurts Appeal, donations to Lumiere will both help local people and shine a light in these dark times.”

Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation, Michelle Cooper, says “To support Lumiere is to support one of County Durham’s great treasures – an event that brings art, culture and magic to everyone, while enriching local lives throughout the year. To be able to offer businesses match funding once again, and the chance to support our Poverty Hurts Appeal is a win-win situation that can only strengthen our communities as they face increasing hardship.”

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Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council says, “We are delighted to announce the return of Lumiere in 2023. Lumiere demonstrates our commitment to championing culture and culture-led regeneration following our campaign for UK City of Culture 2025. It also provides a huge boost to our economy and helps to strengthen our communities as they come together to experience the festival.

“The chance to come together with friends, family and neighbours is more important than ever in these challenging times. We look forward to working with our partners to ensure next year’s event is as sustainable as possible, supporting our beautiful environment and our commitment to tackling climate change and achieving net zero across the county.”

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Find out more about how to get involved by contacting Artichoke’s Development Director: [email protected]