Lumiere Durham, 16th – 19th November 2017

Full programme and locations revealed for Durham’s four-night light festival

The full programme of artworks, installations and events for Durham’s fifth Lumiere – the UK’s largest light festival – has been revealed. Created by Artichoke, producers of art in the public realm, Lumiere runs from Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th November 2017, 4:30 – 11pm.

Lumiere Durham

Free to attend, the festival will reimagine the city of Durham with 29 artworks and installations made using the medium of light, by artists from around the world. From dramatic installations, energetic projections and more contemplative works across Durham’s buildings, streets and bridges,Lumiere  will illuminate the city in delightful, unexpected and spectacular ways across the four nights. The festival is commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England, Durham University and a host of further funders and supporters.

Lumiere Durham

Festival visitors are encouraged to explore the dazzling night-time spectacle on foot, whether discovering the city for the first time or seeing familiar sights in a new light

Durham holds a unique place as the birthplace of Lumiere and local people and communities have become central to the story of the festival, providing both the inspiration and context for many of the artworks. The festival has become a landmark event in the cultural calendar of the North East and is recognised around the world as a must-see light festival, attracting 200,000 visitors in 2015.


Running through the heart of the city, the River Wear is a pivotal Durham landmark. Ralf Westerhof, a Netherlands-based artist known for his hanging wire sculptures resembling hand-drawn illustrations has created a large-scale installation shaped to look like a typical Dutch-style canal home. Drawn in Light, which will hang over the river beside the Elvet Bridge, rotating elegantly, twisting and turning to create a new city within a city. In contrast to the natural beauty of the river and its surroundings, Frequencies created by Finnish artist Kari Kola will use a bespoke soundscape and captivating light to transform the riverside and South Bailey into a dreamlike wonderland. Adam Frelin’s simple yet effective White Line will trace the natural curve of the river. The light of the fluorescent fixtures strangely similar to moonlight will gently cast highlights and shadows altering the space around it.

Lumiere Durham

A team of artists and scientists led by Simeon Nelson and including academics from Durham University are behind a bold new commission supported by Wellcome. Their thoughtprovoking work, entitled Cosmoscope, takes inspiration from the scientific study of the human body, from the microscopic cell to the beating of the human heart and through to the rhythm of the cosmos, asking viewers to consider their place in the universe at a micro and macro level.

Lumiere Durham

On-site at Durham University’s Lower Mountjoy site (University Science Site), video designer Nina Dunn, sound designer John Del’Nero and composer Isobel Waller-Bridge (UK) have teamed up to create Cosmic Architecture, a video and sound piece that salutes the extraordinary achievement of architect Daniel Libeskind’s building for the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, celebrating the marriage of revolutionary architecture with the beauty of the theoretical models and computer simulations of the Universe that are developed within the building.

A number of interactive works place the audience at the centre, including Sagacity created by Aidan Moesby (UK). The installation, inspired by the Periodic Table of the Elements, takes the emotional ‘temperature’ of the community through the feelings expressed by people on social media. Control no Control, by Canadian based artist, Daniel Iregui presents an interactive LED light sculpture which fluctuates in response to the hand gestures and movements of the audience experiencing the work.

Lumiere Durham

Stockholm-based art production company, Floating Pictures will invite audiences to use torches or smartphones as a paintbrush to decorate their surroundings in light graffiti, titled Colour by Light. Fellow Nordic lighting design collective LDCOL will transform the side of the Gala Theatre into an interactive glowing white cube, allowing participants to step inside a secret stage. Inspired by the image of glowing fields of wheat, Entre les Rangs will transform Durham’s beautiful Cathedral cloisters into an interactive field of illuminated flowers, which light and highlight the paths of their visitors, devised by Canadian architect Rami Bebawi.

Dynamic ribbons of coloured light will wrap themselves around the landscape of the College area surrounding the Cathedral in Horizontal Interference, a work created by Polish artists, Katarzyna Malejka and Joachim Slugock. A fairy tale structure studded with tens of thousands of tiny LED lights, created by Italian architectural lighting team Luminarie de Cagna will turn Market Place into a sparkling spectacle while Saddler Street and Silver Street will be transformed by a series of glittering arches.

Lumiere Durham

Over twenty light and sound installations by a collective of artists make up For the Birds, a reimagination of the Durham University Botanic Garden, which will take visitors on a meditative and immersive journey in through the wilderness. From the serene to the spectacular, a vast kinetic fire installation, Fire Tornado by Ivo Schoofs (Holland) will burn furious and bright and delight visitors. What Matters, created by Shuster & Moseley (UK) consists of two immersive light and glass installations at St Oswald’s Church and Courtyard. Inside the church, thousands of hand-blown glass pieces depict the birth of light in the universe. In the churchyard, glass bubbles hover in galaxies, suspended in space amongst the trees.

From large to small-scale, Lumiere will light up all corners of Durham City. The programme includes the permanent installation, Lightbench, Bernd Spieker’s unique LED-lit resting point at Framwellgate Waterside which transforms the concept of public seating, while The Umbrella Project will be constantly on the move. Created by Cirque Bijou (UK), an artistic collective that transgresses the boundary between circus, street theatre and spectacle, this choreographed performance involving local people, will pop up at different locations across the festival footprint.


In his first major UK commission, Spanish artist, Pablo Valbuena will transform the interior and exterior of Durham’s world famous Cathedral with Methods. Inspired by the tradition of English Change Ringing, which dates back to the 17th century, Methods visualises bellringing patterns in light, moving across the entire Cathedral building in time to the structured sequence of the bells. Led by Durham Cathedral’s Bell Major, Christopher Crabtree, bands of bellringers from the North East and beyond will perform live throughout the festival.

Experts in video mapping, Shared Space and Light (UK) have created Common Good, a moving and powerful 3D video work inspired by the everyday working lives of public sector workers from Durham. The installation will see images of 70 public service workers, from firefighters and refuse workers to teachers and police officers, projected onto the facade of Durham’s historic Miners’ Hall at Redhills.

Lumiere Durham

The faces of local people from all walks of life are at the heart of a new work by British artist, Hannah Fox. Our Moon will be projected onto the walls of Durham Castle, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Created with the participation of 66 people aged from 5 to 78, the unique facial characteristics of the volunteers were captured digitally, informing Fox’s delicate hand-drawn illustration which will illuminate the castle over the four nights of the festival.

The BRILLIANT commissioning strand will also showcase the work from five local artists as part of the festival, including Aidan Moesby and Amy-Rose Welch, who takes Durham Cathedral for her inspiration. Emma Boyescreation at Durham railway station also draws on the heritage of the North East, showing The Angel of the North, Durham Cathedral, Penshaw Monument, St. Mary’s Lighthouse and the Baltic Flour Mill, all illuminated in miniature. Chris Plant’s soothing meditation will connect colour, sound, light and texture through a new work that seeks to piece together our fragmented world, and Finola Finn will suspend a throbbing red heart as her work Know Thyself illuminates the inside of The Count’s House.

To coincide with the fifth edition of Lumiere, Artichoke will host a one-day conference in association with Durham County Council and supported by the European Commission. Entitled Who are we and where are we headed? The conference will take place on Friday 17th November at Durham’s Gala Theatre. Building on the success of the 2013 and 2015 conferences, this year’s line-up presents a range of visionary and renowned speakers, including Tony Heaton OBE and Judith Knight MBE, who will share their experiences, expertise and opinions on our changing world. Conference tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite: LumiereConference2017

See the Full programme

This feature is part of our lighting Exchange with Deltalight

This story is free and open source. You have permission to republish our story under a Creative Commons license as long as you credit Design Exchange and relink back to our website. 

Leave a Reply