The UK’s largest light festival, Lumiere, will return to Durham on 18th of November. The biannual event will be open from 18th to the 21st of November, with a programme featuring 37 international artworks.
Although event entrance remains free, entrance to Lumiere’s central zone – where 11 of the installations are located – will be ticketed for the first time. Other Covid-19 measures will include visitors being issued with time-slots to manage crowd numbers and clear protocols for all those working on the festival.
The first Lumiere festival was in 2009, and it has been recommissioned by Durham County Council every two years since then. Whilst the festival is ‘proudly made in Durham’, the festival has also been held in Derry and London.
Among the festival’s many funders and supporters is Durham University, which has sponsored Lumiere since it began and became a major contributing partner in 2017. The University has given £120,000 to the event and will further support Lumiere with volunteers, logistics, and marketing this year.
Professor Janet Stewart, the Executive Dean of Arts and Humanities at Durham University, has said: “Our continued support for Lumiere is part of our deep-rooted commitment to supporting community, culture, creativity, and heritage in our city, county, and the North East.
“Lumiere is one of a number of events we are proud to support across the year, which along with our own museums and attractions, encourage people from across the region and beyond to discover more of what Durham has to offer.”
Three university buildings – the Ogden Centre, St Mary’s College; and Durham Castle – will host installations.
New artwork for this year includes the Chronos Installation by Leslie Epsztein and Camille Gross, which will project the story of time onto the fitting backdrop of the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics.
For 2021, the event has also been extended from the city into County Durham for the first time.
Helen Marriage, the director of Artichoke, Lumiere’s organisers, said on this year’s festival: “For the first time, we are launching a brand-new programme of major installations taking the festival out across County Durham, and further embedding a countywide participation programme that has involved thousands of local residents and young people in Lumiere projects over the last decade.
“Other significant new initiatives include a wonderful first collaboration with some of the UK’s leading poets, and our first-ever digital artwork hosted online, enabling the global Lumiere community to join in the magic wherever they are in the world.”
“Marks in the Landscape” will involve six light artists’ installations across the county, with locations ranging from a Medieval Priory to a Brutalist Pavillion. As part of the programme, Sunderland’s Penshaw Monument will be turned into a Covid-19 memorial, composed of illuminated projections of a single breath. The artwork will be visible for up to 20 miles across the County.
Durham residents will be given priority booking to see Lumiere’s installations in the “central peninsula”, which will consist of Market Place, Saddler Street, Silver Street, Palace Green, North and South Baileys, Prebends Bridge, and Riverside. Tickets for those with a Durham postcode will be available from the Lumiere website at 10am on 19th of October, and the general ticket release will be at 10am on 21st of October.
Image: Durham Lumiere