Lumiere to further light up communities thanks to funding boost

Entre Les Rangs by Rami Bebawi / Kanva, part of Lumiere Durham 2017.  Photo: Matthew Andrews
Entre Les Rangs by Rami Bebawi / Kanva, part of Lumiere Durham 2017. Photo: Matthew Andrews
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Lumiere festival will further shine a light on community arts after winning a £90,000 grant.

The hugely popular biannual light festival, which will return to Durham City from November 14-17 this year, has been awarded the substantial amount by the Garfield Weston Foundation who have supported the festival in previous years.

Entre Les Rangs by Rami Bebawi / Kanva, part of Lumiere Durham 2017. Photo: Matthew Andrews

Entre Les Rangs by Rami Bebawi / Kanva, part of Lumiere Durham 2017. Photo: Matthew Andrews

The grant will go towards the delivery of Artichoke’s year-round learning and participation programme within communities in the North East, ensuring Lumiere has a lasting impact beyond the four-day festival experience.

Commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England, this year’s festival will mark the tenth anniversary of the project and will feature new installations, as well as memorable works from previous festivals.

Since its inception 10 years ago, Lumiere, which brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to Durham City, has always had a strong focus on community participation, workshops and training experiences.

In 2017, over 1,000 local people engaged with the Lumiere programme outside of the festival, including 720 school pupils across 24 schools across the region.

Philippa Charles, director, Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “The Foundation has once again chosen to support Lumiere Durham in recognition of its commitment to providing long term benefits to the North East, through ongoing learning and participation opportunities.

“The festival itself is an internationally-renowned cultural highlight, which has delighted and astounded audiences repeatedly over the last ten years. We’re proud to support the festival in its endeavour to further the impact of the festival throughout the local community.”

Sarah Coop, development director at Artichoke, said: “We’re delighted and grateful that Garfield Weston has chosen to support Lumiere so generously again. The investment will help fund a programme of community work that we’re incredibly proud of, allowing the impact of Lumiere to last well beyond the four days of the festival. The continued support from all our funders, Durham County Council and Arts Council England allows us to deliver a spectacular festival that in 2017 welcomed 240,000 visitors to the city, generating an economic impact of £7.6 million.”

One of the highlights from 2017’s participatory programme was the planting of 15,000 stems of flower-like sculptures in the cloisters at Durham Cathedral for Entre les rangs, by artist Rami Bebawi and KANVA.

Around 30 disadvantaged community members, including those from two local YMCA groups, a women’s refuge group and Syrian refugee families, worked with the production team to help fill the cloisters of Durham Cathedral. The ambition of the project, which was facilitated by Chester-le-Street AAP, was to use art to transgress social boundaries, improving integration and the emotional wellbeing of marginalised individuals.

Coun Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “Lumiere brings many benefits to Durham and the wider area, from providing a boost to local businesses to raising the profile of our county around the world. However, the learning and participation programme is particularly important as it directly benefits local residents – and not just during the four days of the festival.

“It enriches the lives of schoolchildren, community groups and individuals from all walks of life all year-round. It’s great to hear that the continued support of festival sponsors will enable the programme to continue – especially as we prepare to celebrate Lumerie’s 10th anniversary this year.”