Hurts So Good, Chila Burman. Lumiere 2023, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Durham city transformed into a giant art gallery with a Spotlight on Bishop Auckland


Commissioned by Durham County Council 

The UK’s light biennial Lumiere returned to Durham, welcoming an estimated 160,000 visitors over four incredible nights

Highlights included Javier Riera’s mind-bending Liquid Geometry, a 270-degree immersive abstract artwork projected onto Durham Cathedral and adjacent buildings. Inside the Cathedral, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Topology saw 4,500 fluttering light bulbs arranged overhead in an undulating canopy, visualising the pulsating heartbeats of the audiences beneath. Adam Frelin’s sequentially-illuminated arches for Inner Cloister recalled the footsteps of monks of old while Ai Weiwei’s four-metre high Illuminated Bottle Rack decorated with 61 antique and vintage chandeliers glittered in the Cathedral’s atmospheric Chapter House.  

The number of local people taking part in Lumiere increased significantly this year, with 1800 local residents and schoolchildren taking part in 65 workshops and online artwork submissions across five artworks including On Blank Pages (Luzinterruptus), Watchtower (Ron Haselden) and Colour the Castle (Mr.Beam).  

In line with Artichoke’s focus on making this year’s Lumiere the most sustainable yet, two community projects focused on ideas around recycling and solar energy: Diamond Garden by Mick Stephenson and Flowers and Chandeliers, which transformed 1600 plastic bottles into colourful lighted festoons in Prince Bishops and Bishop Auckland, inspired by ideas and designs by Durham Sixth Form College and New College Durham students.  

Great night at Durham’s fabulous Lumiere festival. The most lovely thing about it was how many local people were there to experience it. Our region is bursting with culture and talent. Let’s shout it from the rooftops.”X (formerly Twitter) user 

To find out more about Lumiere 2023 and see the highlights from the festival, visit

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Spotlight on Bishop Auckland

The Drop, Phil Supple. Lumiere 2023, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Lumiere 2023 included a special programme for Bishop Auckland 

Bishop Auckland is the second largest town in County Durham. Building on more that 1,000 years of history, in recent years the town has undergone a regeneration through art and culture. Lumiere 2023 highlighted the historic Market Place with four artworks that transformed Bishop Auckland.

Spanish artist, Daniel Canogar’s Amalgama Spanish Gallery drew on the collection held in the Spanish Gallery to create a beautiful projection that melted across the exterior of the building.

On the other side of Market Square, Phil Supple’s The Drop animated Auckland Tower with light, choreographed to a lively musical score composed by collaborator and sound artist Toby Park.  

Watch the highlights

Lumiere 2023 wrap film. Filmed and edited by Meerkat Films.

Lumiere's largest Learning and Participation programme yet

Our most robust Learning and Participation to date spanned five creative projects 

On Blank Pages by Luzinterruptus was a huge success. The interactive artwork of thousands of illuminated notebooks invited visitors to share their thoughts about justice. Each night during the event, thousands added to the existing 15,000 pages featuring contributions from people involved in the justice system, from police and prisoners, to court officials and lawyers, refugees, young offenders and victims of crime. Contributions will be scanned and added to the Online Archive.

Flowers and Chandeliers by Durham Sixth Form Centre and New College Durham, was designed in colaboration with 25 students. They took part in a series of workshops that taught them about working to a brief, learning about the technical aspects of working with light and outdoors and how to create for large scale participation. The fabrication of the artwork took place across 25 workshops including drop-in sessions with 6 libraries, totalling 570 participants. The installation repurposed approximately 4,500 recycled bottles.

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The long-standing scheme’s mission is to broaden the diversity of those working in the medium of light both locally and across the UK

BRILLIANT encourages anyone to submit a bright idea, not just practising artists.  

Among this year’s BRILLIANT selection, two are from the North East: Seaham-based artist Angela Sandwith and Durham-born, Newcastle-based video artist Gareth Hudson. They are joined by three more artists including multi-media artist Emma Griffiths, and recent Royal College of Arts graduates, Patrick and Kaori Jones and Deaf architect and visual artist Martin Glover.

Martin Glover’s artwork is inspired by his passion to educate and celebrate sign language. His selection follows his participation in Lumiere 2021, where he delivered a BSL arts tour.

BRILLIANT is generously supported by EMG Solicitors.

Filmed and edited by Meerkat Films.

Illuminated Bottle Rack, Ai Weiwei. Lumiere 2023, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Each edition of Lumiere is an opportunity to create an outdoor art gallery on a grand scale and for me, this year’s was the most exciting and impactful yet. The idea is to explore familiar places through the eyes of the artists, and to take our audiences with us on this journey.

~ Helen Marriage, Artichoke Director ~


Thank you to our supporters who have given so generously to help Artichoke produce Lumiere.


Artichoke is a registered charity and every penny received from the public, businesses, trusts, and foundations goes directly towards the festival and keeping it accessible for everyone to attend.

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