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Visitors gather in Durham for Lumiere festival

  • Date: 10 December 2013
  • Area: North
ELEPHANTASTIC by Top’là Design

ELEPHANTASTIC by Top’là Design . Credit: Matthew Andrews

Lumiere, Durham's popular light festival, is now in its third year and attracted around 175,000 people over four nights in mid-November. The festival was commissioned by Durham County Council and produced by creative company Artichoke with Arts Council England support through our Lottery funded Grants for the arts programme.

Visitors from all over the world enjoyed 27 light sculptures and installations including Elephantastic, a larger-than-life 3D elephant marching through a specially constructed arch on Elvet Bridge and the Keyframes minidrama which saw LED stickmen taking over the former Durham Miners' Hall to the strains of Lee Dorsey's Working in a coalmine recorded by young people from Durham County Wind Band. The sound of birdsong by night drew audiences into St Oswald's Churchyard to explore Sarah Blood's illuminated birdhouses that filled hidden pockets with light and sound.

Litre of Light brings alternative light sources to people in areas of the world with limited or no access to electricity and more than 600 schoolchildren across County Durham took part in workshops about the campaign during the run up to the festival.

Lumiere also worked with offenders in Durham's three prisons and a youth remand centre. Over 100 prisoners and their families created artworks which were displayed together to form a huge illuminated wall in the Galilee Chapel inside Durham Cathedral. The artworks will now be returned to be exhibited inside the institutions.

An Art Means Business Conference ran alongside Lumiere, hosted by Artichoke and Durham County Council, where representatives from urban planning, local government and business shared their ideas for how the creative industries can offer innovative solutions for intractable problems and re-imagine the city in the twenty-first century.

Artichoke also staged Lumiere as one of the closing events for Derry-Londonderry City of Culture with an estimated 179,000 visitors attending.

See more images from the festival.