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Lumiere 2009

12–16 November 2009, Durham

Lumiere was a festival of light which transformed the beautiful city of Durham for four nights at the darkest time of the year. 

This spectacular light festival took over the beautiful city of Durham for four nights. It comprised 20 installations, including seven new commissions, placed across the city. For a magical few days, Durham was bursting at the seams, as an estimated 75,000 people flocked to town, enjoying a celebratory moment in the cold, winter months.

The artworks varied in style and content. Nine Men Drawing saw artist Ron Haselden collaborate with offenders from HMP Durham, and French company La Salamandre delighted audiences with their magnificent fire display. Meanwhile Power Plant, which consisted of 25 artworks, transformed the city’s Botanic Garden, and Crown of Light thrilled the crowds as Images of the Lindisfarne Gospels – on loan from the British Library – were projected onto the face of the Cathedral. 

Artichoke has been invited to return to Durham in November 2011 for another Lumiere Festival.  If you're a business and would like to get involved, download our Toolkit or get in touch with our Development Director, Sarah Coop.  


In partnership with

Associate Producer

Funded by

Logo of Durham 13
Newcastle Gateshead Initiative logo

LUMIERE was part of the 2009 Sky Arts Artichoke Season and forms part of North East England’s world-class programme of festivals and events, developed by culture10

Supported by

  • European Commission
  • Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • National Express
  • Lumalive
  • Tesco Charity Trust
  • Marriott Hotels
  • JCB
  • SA Screen Media 

Operational partners

  • Durham Cathedral
  • Durham University
  • Durham City Vision
  • Visit County Durham


The normal street lights were turned off. Less carbon emissions and less light pollution. Seeing almost every constellation in the night sky over any UK city is a miracle, but Durham managed it for 4 nights.

Maisie, a resident of Sunderland

I feel so good with the world, so positive, so at peace. This is 110% due to Lumiere Durham. I keep thinking of the effect the event, and particularly the Sunday night that I went to, had on myself and on everyone surrounding me all night… I could not tear myself away from the view - it was beautiful, enthralling, so wonderful. The night surprised me, and has continued to surprise me in my mood it has placed in me.

Jane from Crook

Vital statistics

No. installations


No. artists and performers


No. local volunteers


Production team


New commissions




Population of Durham


Biggest installation

1km of river bank, weirs and bridges

Carbon saved by using biofuel

13.39 tonnes

No. photos uploaded to flickr


Selected Media Coverage