Control no Control, Daniel Iregui, Lumiere Durham 2017. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Back in Durham for the fifth time

Commissioned by Durham County Council.

Lumiere Durham 2017

Lumiere Durham 2017 wrap film. Filmed and edited by Copper films. 


Artists from around the world illuminated the city in delightful and unexpected ways, with a series of light installations to explore.

Over 240,000 people visited Lumiere 2017 over the four nights of the festival, many of whom explored the outer reaches of the footprint to discover some of the most popular artworks such as What Matters, Cosmic Architecture, and For The Birds.

Since its inception in 2009, Lumiere has transformed Durham City into a nocturnal art gallery every two years. For the 2017 edition, 29 spectacular artworks and installations created an illuminated trail right across the city. Iconic Durham landmarks were amongst the sites transformed by art, including the city’s historic Cathedral which Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena turned into a vast synchronised artwork of sound and light. The beautiful Miners’ Hall at Redhills was brought to life by an exciting 3-D video-mapped piece by Shared Space & Light, featuring real-life stories from the workers in the police, fire and health services. Visitor favourites included the mesmerising Frequencies by Finnish artist Kari Kola, that stretched along the Riverside under the Cathedral up to Durham Castle and For The Birds in Durham University’s Botanic Garden, an enchanting collection of more than twenty light and sound installations inspired by birdlife.

Families enjoyed the interactive installations at Walkergate, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre and Millennium Place, where hundreds tweeted their “love” for Lumiere in response to Aidan Moesby’s periodic table of emotions: Sagacity. At Milburngate, the vast kinetic fire installation, Fire Tornado by Ivo Schoofs drew enthusiastic crowds, whilst others contemplated quieter more serene works, such as Drawn in Light at Elvet Bridge, What Matters at St Oswald’s, and White Line by Adam Frelin, a deceptively simple installation that elegantly retraced a former bridge over the River Wear.

Audience icon


Audience members

New commission icon



Lanyard icon


Technicians to build the festival

Wedding rings icon


Shards of glass for What Matters

Installation icon


LED light bulbs for Cosmoscope



Stems planted in Cathedral Cloister

Ogden Building, Durham University


Shared Space & Light

The Common Good | View Bio

Chris Plant

Harmonic Portal | View Bio

Vicky Hay

Arclight | View Bio

Emma Boyes

Northern Lights | View Bio

Floating Pictures

Colour By Light | View Bio

Ivo Schoofs

Fire Tornado | View Bio

Jon Voss

Heron | View Bio

Bernd Spiecker for LBO LichtBankObjekte

Lightbench | View Bio

Lighting Design Collective

Anonymous | View Bio

Aidan Moesby

Sagacity | View Bio

Walter & Zoniel

ANON | View Bio

Hannah Fox

Our Moon | View Bio

Luminarie de Cagna

Dome and Arches | View Bio

Daniel Iregui

Control No Control | View Bio

Ralf Westerhof

Drawn In Light | View Bio

Pablo Valbuena

Methods | View Bio

Rami Bebawi / KANVA

Entre Les Rangs | View Bio

Cirque Bijou

The Umbrella Project | View Bio

Katarzyna Malejka and Joachim Sługocki

Horizontal Interference | View Bio

Kari Kola

Frequencies | View Bio

Finola Finn

Know Thyself | View Bio

Adam Frelin

White Line | View Bio

Dan Fox & Phil Supple

Shimmer | View Bio

Amy Welch

Visual Illusion | View Bio

Shuster + Moseley

What Matters | View Bio

Simeon Nelson

Cosmoscope | View Bio

Nina Dunn with John Del’ Nero

Cosmic Architecture | View Bio

Jony Easterby, Kathy Hinde, Mark Anderson, Pippa Taylor and Ulf Pedersen

The Birds | View Bio

International programme

Methods, Pablo Valbuena, Lumiere Durham 2017. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

The programme also had a strong international element once again, with artists from around the world, including the United States and Canada, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Finland, as well as the UK.

In his first UK commission, Spanish artist, Pablo Valbuena transformed the interior and exterior of Durham’s world famous Cathedral with Methods. Inspired by the tradition of English change-ringing, which dates back to the 17th century, Methods live bellringing triggered lights in time to the sequence. Led by Durham Cathedral’s Bell Major, Christopher Crabtree, 60 bell-ringers from the North East and beyond performed live for six hours each night of the festival.

Fire Tornado by Ivo Schoofs

Fire reveals nature in all its destructive glory

Artist Ivo Schoofs once saw a tornado rage through a forest fire, spectacularly elevating the blaze to new heights. Inspired by that vision he was moved to replicate the effect in controlled conditions. As with our own bonfires, Fire Tornado brings us close to the elements, banishing the wintry darkness through both heat and light.

Local people and local artists

Volunteers from the Chester-le-Street Area Action Partnership joined others in helping to plant a field of over 15,000 illuminated stems for Rami Bebawi’s Entre les rangs in the Cathedral Cloister. More than 70 local public-service workers, from firefighters and refuse workers to teachers and police officers, were filmed for The Common Good, at the Miners’ Hall at Redhills. British artist Hannah Fox collected the digital data of 66 local volunteers aged 5 to 78, video-mapping their facial expressions to create Our Moon, a moon face that watched over the city from the walls of Durham Castle, ageing with each festival night.

The BRILLIANT commission showcased the talent of five local artists, including Aidan Moesby, Chris Plant and Amy Welch, who took patterns within Durham Cathedral for her inspiration. Emma Boyes’ creation at Durham railway station drew on the heritage of the North East while Finola Finn suspended a throbbing red heart inside The Count’s House exploring ideas of the self. 

Age range icon


Local people aged 6-75 years old for Our Moon

Audience icon


Primary school pupils from 25 schools

Installation icon


Bellringers for Methods

Volunteer icon


Volunteer Festival Makers

Illumaphonium, Michael Davis, Lumiere Durham 2017. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Absolutely amazing. It’s unbelievable that it’s all done with light.

~ Lumiere Durham 2015 Festival visitor on BBC News ~

What Matters

Thousands of pieces of glass suspended high like a shattered star.

What Matters consisted of two immersive light and glass installation. Inside St Oswald’s Church, thousands of hand-blown glass pieces depicted the birth of light in the universe. In the churchyard, pieces appeared to have joined to form glass bubbles. They hovered in clusters, appearing to be suspended in space amongst the trees.

A collaboration between the Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University, students at the University of Sunderland and the Sunderland Glass Centre.

Methods, Pablo Valbuena, Lumiere Durham 2017. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

"Wonderful evening at Lumiere. Highlight was inside the Cathedral, very atmospheric beautiful sound and light installation... Also the riverbanks were stunning. Thanks for this free cultural event"

~ Lumiere Visitor via Twitter ~

For the Birds

Explore a wild, avian landscape

For the Birds invites visitors on an immersive journey through a woodland filled with over 20 light and sound installations inspired by the delicate beauty of birds. This hidden gem premiered at the RSPB reserve in Ynys Hir in Mid Wales and was a firm favourite with Lumiere visitors in 2017. For the Birds returns for the festival’s 10th anniversary edition. Venture outside the city centre to experience a nocturnal adventure in the wilderness of Durham University’s Botanic Gardens.

Lumiere London 2018