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Post Date

23 August 2012


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Exploring Poland for LUMIERE

Preparations for the next LUMIERE festival are already well underway and our production team are investigating new opportunities for collaboration in Europe. Artichoke Associate Producer Hannah Standen is currently in Poland investigating the potential for future co-operation.

Hannah is studying for a European Diploma in Cultural Project Management with Association Marcel Hicter. As part of her yearlong course, Hannah is required to complete a comparative study in another European country. Hannah has chosen to undertake her study in Poland and is currently there carrying out research into potential light artists for the next Lumiere, learning the language and meeting with arts practitioners.

Not that we had any doubt, Hannah is proving an excellent student, working hard, and finding out more about the climate in which Polish producers and artists operate and the social, economic, and political factors affecting their work. In addition to attending language classes at the School of Polish Language and Culture in Cieszyn through the University of Silesia, and discovering some incredibly good ice cream (!), she has also met with arts organisations in Gdansk and at the weekend will attend the Skyway light festival in Torun.

Hannah said: “It is hard work but I am really enjoying exploring the country, talking very bad Polish with everyone and drinking very good iced coffees! A challenge in 35-degree heat but someone’s got to do it right?”

35 degrees, Hannah? Are you sure you didn’t pop over to Spain instead?

In September Hannah will return to Poland to present Artichoke’s work to practitioners from across Europe and to debate the function of art in public space as part of an event organised by the ARTLOOP Sopot and Grolsch ArtBoom Festivals.

Post Date

17 August 2012


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We are delighted to announce that Artichoke co-Director Helen Marriage has been awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The prestigeous Loeb Fellowship is awarded to individuals working in the area of urban design and planning. Helen's appointment is an acknowledgement of the impact Artichoke has made on the way mass public art events are negotiated and staged.

Founded in 1970 with a gift from John L. Loeb, the Loeb Fellowship was set up to encourage reinvigorated thinking about how our cities and natural environment are designed and planned. The only requirement for Fellows at the end of the award is that they return to their positions and make a real impact on the way that a city or culture is thinking about itself and its purpose.

Starting in September Helen will use the opportunity offered by the Fellowship to explore public perceptions of risk, and the processes of negotiating with several different agencies to deliver complex productions in the public realm.

Helen Marriage, Artichoke co-Director said:
“We have allowed ourselves to become frightened of what is possible by the over-regulation of public space. I want to look at ways in which we can take away people’s anxieties, and show them that temporarily closing a road or digging it up in the pursuit of art is okay. It’s about challenging the consensus that our public spaces are places just for shopping or traffic. I am extremely honoured to have received this award. It is a recognition of the work Artichoke already does, and I want to take some time to explore the intellectual framework around our work and ideas in more depth”.

Helen is now busy programming Artichoke’s 2013 projects before she leaves for her sabbatical.

Nicky Webb, Artichoke co-Director said:
“We are so thrilled about Helen’s Fellowship. It is a tremendous accolade for all that Artichoke has achieved since 2005. It has been an extraordinary time, during which we have grown from a three-person team to an organisation employing 12 full-time people.  With two forthcoming projects in 2013, one following hard on the heels of the other, everyone will be kept busy and we’ll try not to bother Helen too much whilst she’s away! Every project we take on challenges us in new directions and we are looking forward to the insight and ideas for the future that Helen will bring back with her”.

We wish Helen all the very best and look forward to her return next Spring. We'll send you updates of how she is getting on over the pond so stay tuned for news of Helen's adventures.

Post Date

08 August 2011


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A major trans-European artistic collaboration will be launched at the Skyway Festival in Torun, Poland, this week, before being seen at the Valgusfestival Tallinn, (Estonia) in September, and at Lumiere in Durham (UK) in November. 

Three artists – one from each country - have each been commissioned to create a work of art for the three light festivals in a collaboration given the over-arching title Lux Scientia. The three artists – Simeon Nelson (UK), Dominik Lejman (Poland) and Leonardo Meigas (Estonia) will each collaborate with a scientist and all three works will explore both the scientific and aesthetic aspects of light.

Lux Scientia aims to act as a platform for debate about how the different artists’ vision relates to the their installation in different spaces and environments, and to raise awareness of a shared European heritage, foster mutual understanding and celebrate the cultural diversity of the three countries. Each festival will hold a round table discussion between resident artists and scientists culminating in a symposium in London curated by cultural programmer and designer Mario Caeiro.

LEONARDO MEIGAS’ work currently explores the scientific phenomenon of the Hartmann Grid. His piece will take the form of a multimedia installation of ‘invisible walls’ that appear when lit. The goal is to recognize the existence of natural radiations and their effect.

DOMINIK LEJMAN’s large-scale works aim to create a new kind of ‘urban’ light-painting – a technique involving video projections onto buildings, whose façades become highly charged historical canvases.

SIMEON NELSON is a sculptor who is concerned with the interaction between mankind and nature. Collaborating with scientists, philosophers and theologians, Nelson works to connect science with human understanding of the world.

The three artworks will be presented at all three festivals, each of which is independently curated and has a different theme and focus but all of which aim to present a series of installations, projections and performances created by artists using the medium of light.  All three festivals have built a strong critical following and attract mass audiences.  75,000 people visited the inaugural Lumiere Festival in 2009, and the oldest of the festivals, Valgusfestival (Tallinn), now attracts around 120,000 people. Each festival creates a context in which the nighttime economy of their city is enhanced by the large numbers of people who come out to attend events in the streets after dark. 

The social aspects of this animation of the city are easily proved, with reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour and an increase in night-time trading.

The partnership has been brokered by British event producers Artichoke, who produce the Lumiere Festival and are well known for mounting large-scale, site-specific events such as The Sultan’s Elephant and Antony Gormley’s One & Other.  The project has received funding from the European Commission’s Culture Programme, demonstrating the power of cultural events to attract inward investment and build local economies.

You can find out more about Lux Scientia and each of the festivals at www.luxscientia.com.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

Post Date

02 June 2011


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Brilliant Artists for Lumiere

We are delighted to announce the final selection in the competition for local artists in this year’s Festival programme. Entitled 'Brilliant’, the brand new commissioning strand is supported by Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, and offers opportunities for people based in, or originally from the North East, to develop and produce their ideas for artworks using the medium of light to be showcased at the festival in Durham this November.  

Four ideas have been selected from nearly 60 proposals submitted by local artists, designers, students and the general public, following the open call for submissions earlier this year. The four proposals were chosen following a rigorous three-stage process, the final stage of which involved site visits and interviews with each of the finalists. The successful proposals were selected on their artistic merit, as well as how each would develop the skills of the artists involved. An essential consideration was the way they all specifically explore the use of light as a primary medium, rather than using it to highlight or illuminate something else.

The successful artists, all based in North East, will form part of the Lumiere programme in November. They include Mick Stephenson, a local builder; Dan Ziglam and Elliot Brook of product design agency, Deadgood; Paul Goodfellow, a lecturer at Northumberland University; and visual artist Bethan Maddocks working with theatre designer and visual artist Verity Quinn.

The artists will spend the time from now until the festival developing their pieces, be that working with community groups, adapting their designs to fit locations available in the festival and physically testing and creating the works. They will work closely with Artichoke who will support them in their endeavour to create their lightworks for the festival. Precise details about the each lightwork will be kept tightly under wraps until the final festival programme is revealed later this year.


Deadgood is a successful Newcastle-based British design brand, run by Dan Ziglam and Elliot Brook, who met whilst studying Three Dimensional Design at Northumbria University. The pair set up an annual regional design exhibition that promotes new design talent in the region, and deliver the ‘Enterprise in Design’ lecture
series at Northumbria University’s School of Design. Deadgood will create a lightwork inspired by a natural weather phenomenon.

Mick Stephenson

54 year-old builder, Mick Stephenson, is from Durham City, and runs a small family design and build company, Mick Stephenson Building Services. Mick, whose previous experience includes working on a local music festival and a background in audio-visual manufacturing, trained in art and design at Sunderland University. He will craft a beautiful light creation out of an everyday product that gets thrown away, in its millions, every day.

Paul Goodfellow

Paul Goodfellow is an artist-designer, and runs the BA degree in Motion Graphics and Animation Design at Northumbria University. He is a practising artist, with many years experience in computer animation, and is particularly interested in the relationship between computer graphics and light. He will be developing an installation to be sited in an empty shop at a secret location within the city. Working with graduates and third-year design students at Northumbria University to help realise the piece, this lightwork is inspired by the local versus the global and will break down barriers between technology and art.

Bethan Maddocks & Verity Quinn

Bethan Maddocks, a visual artist, and Verity Quinn, a theatre designer and visual artist, are both based in Newcastle. Bethan grew up in a small village in County Durham, studied at Durham New College and Northumbria University and now exhibits and delivers art workshops around the region. She has worked and collaborated with organisations including Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, NGI, Wildworks and Sierra Metro. Verity’s roots are in Wallsend in Tyne and Wear, she has designed and worked with organisations including Northern Stage, Newcastle, Live theatre, Sage Gateshead and  Enchanted Parks at Saltwell Park, Gateshead.

Both artists make work that creates immersive experiences for audiences. Together they will be working closely with specific communities in rural areas around Durham in order to uncover their hidden stories across generations. This will form the basis of their research to gain inspiration for the final designs of their lightwork.


Helen Marriage, co-director of Artichoke said: “In keeping with the wider programme of the Lumiere festival, almost all the local commissions are beautifully simple and original ideas. In one case, the piece was selected as a technically spectacular concept that will push the boundaries of what we know to be possible. In another, the piece will explore and portray Durham’s heritage in acknowledgement of a festival that is rich in international content but local at heart”.

Carol Bell, Head of Culture and Major Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative said, “I am delighted to have been able to work with Artichoke on the development of “Brilliant" which is what it says on the tin, a fantastic opportunity for some amazing artists working using the medium of light, from and choosing to work in the North East to showcase their work on an national level.

“It has been a truly enlightening process, we have seen some amazing ideas and innovation, the chosen four have been selected both for the quality of their work, but also for the ability for the individuals to extend and develop their own artistic practice. I am extremely proud of the quality of all the proposals we received and of the shortlist. I am sure that the tens of thousands of people from the North East who see the results will have a great sense of pride in our creative achievements.”

Lumiere has been commissioned by Durham County Council, and is supported by Arts Council England. In 2009, the inaugural edition of Lumiere drew an estimated 75,000 people into the city over four nights, and generated some £1.5million for the local economy. Lumiere will return to Durham in November 2011 to showcase all the possible uses of light that artists can imagine. Festival producers Artichoke have travelled the world to find the most exciting and innovative installations and performances for the city’s audience. Witty, playful and imaginative - the festival aims to delight and surprise its audience and to stop people in their tracks.

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said, “The selection of proposals for the local element of Lumiere is another milestone on the exciting journey towards this year’s festival, which promises to leave a lasting legacy for our community and economy. ‘Brilliant’ offers a fantastic platform for local artists to showcase our regional talent and creativity to a wider audience as part of a world-class international festival. It will enable the selected artists to further develop their knowledge and practice, with the support of the professional Artichoke team, and will bring benefits to the local communities with whom many of the artists will be working”.

The artworks selected for Brilliant are commissioned in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and are funded by Northern Rock Foundation. 

Post Date

27 January 2011


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Have you got what it takes to be Brilliant?


Lumiere, Durham’s biennial light festival, returns this November for another four magical days transforming the city’s stunning buildings, streets and riverbanks, with a nocturnal winter festival that will amaze residents and visitors alike.  

This year, you too can light up the night and have your work showcased at the festival in a programme of new commissions.

Festival producers Artichoke have joined forces with NewcastleGateshead Initiative to launch Brilliant: a programme to commission new ideas that delight & inspire and are witty & imaginative to feature in Lumiere 2011. Your idea can be a large or small-scale light work that excites, challenges or simply stops people in their tracks.

Have you got what it takes to be Brilliant?
This exciting opportunity is open to people from the North East of England and you can apply as an individual or a group. If your application is successful you will be supported to turn your idea into a reality. The commissions will be awarded on merit; no previous experience necessary, just great ideas!

Click below in the 'Download' section to download the Commission Brief Document that has all the information you need and details of how to apply.

Deadline for Stage One applications is Monday 7 March 2011.

We have created a mini-site full of useful information, links, tips and examples of the kind of work you could consider submitting. If you're considering applying with an idea, please visit lumierebrilliant.wordpress.com.