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The Stars Beneath our Feet ​- The Count’s House The Stars Beneath our Feet​, Louise Mackenzie. Lumiere​ Durham 2019, produced by Artichoke.Photo by Matthew Andrews.

10 years and 1 million visitors 

Commissioned by Durham County Council. 

Watch the highlights

Hundreds of thousands of people braved incessant rain to experience four spectacular evenings showcasing 37 light artworks by international and local artists across Durham City

First estimates put the number of visitors at 165,000, bringing the number of people who have enjoyed the festival since it began in 2009 to just over one million.

Filmed and edited by Media Workshop. 

A whale splashing in the Wear; a playground of musical seesaws; a geometric pattern in the trees along the riverbank; a monumental snowdome in Market Square

At the 10th anniversary edition of the UK’s largest light festival visitors enjoyed 37 dramatic installations and projections showcasing the creativity of both international and local artists. Iconic landmarks were transformed, including Durham Cathedral, lit up from within by candlelit installation Spirit, whilst the public could manipulate the sound and light installation Stones on the historic building’s exterior.

As always, the programme had a strong international element, with artists from Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and France bringing their work to Durham. Visitor favourites included Geometrical Traces by Spanish artist Javier Riera, whose mesmerising  artwork created 3-D patterns across  the trees above Prebends Bridge, and Fujiko Nakaya’s Fogscape #03238, a ghostly shape-shifting vapour that wound its way around the trees and over the river underneath Durham Cathedral.

The long-awaited return of Jaques Rival’s giant snow globe in Durham’s Market Place with its joyful neon affirmation I Love Durhamdrew smiles in the rain from visitors young and old alike. Another favourite return was the colossal Baleen whale, Mysticete, by French artists Top’la Design / Catherine Garret. Belfast-based artist Deepa Mann Kler brightened the South Bailey streets with Shoefiti, garlands of illuminated 3D-printed trainers inspired by the mysterious act of shoe-tossing. Amelia Kosminsky’s Celestial Brainstorm encouraged audiences to interact whilst contemplating the disruptive effects of irregular brain activity, whilst the ingenious Human Tiles installation invited audiences to transform the facade of the Gala Theatre as part of an interactive video-mapping work that recalls the ornate tiles of Portugal.

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Unique downloads of the Lumiere app

Cosmic Architecture, Nina Dunn & John Del' Nero, Lumiere Durham 2017. Photo by Matthew Andrews

When Artichoke created our first Lumiere festival in Durham in 2009, we never expected that we’d be celebrating its 10th anniversary.

~ Helen Marriage, CEO, Artichoke ~

More than 150 local people aged from 4 to 85 years participated in Keys of Light. Pianists performed live music from Shostakovich to ‘The Greatest Showman’ to generate an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colours and patterns across the exterior of Rushford Court with every chord. One performance in particular of ‘Divenire’ by Ludovico Einaudi by a Durham University student was even the soundtrack to a marriage proposal in the audience.

Hundreds more local people had taken part in the preparations for this tenth anniversary festival, helping to make installations such as Bottle FestoonFriendship Tree and Are Atoms Alive?. Students from Durham Sixth Form Centre collaborated with Portuguese artists Ocubo and Storybox from New Zealand to make Are Atoms Alive?a short film exploring science displayed across nine shipping containers. East Durham College students reimagined the student union building Dunelm House with a new video projection artwork Lift Offdeveloped from the Apollo 50 project in Peterlee earlier this year. Dan Shorten from Guildhall School of Music & Drama, who provided guidance for this project, also presented the immersive walkway Light Tunnel, located in Crown Court Gardens which proved to be another crowd-pleaser.

Once again, the BRILLIANT programme offered four talented local people the opportunity to create a completely new piece of light art and play a central part in the festival’s 10th anniversary. Lucy McDonnell’s End Over End, a super-sized neon slinky, brightened up the Milburngate site, whilst Penelope Payne’s projection, Blue Skies, tucked under Milburngate Bridge, also brought a touch of sunshine to the festival despite the weather. Keen-eyed visitors will have spotted Mike Donaghy’s playful alteration of two sets of traffic lights for his artwork A Different View. By contrast Washed Up, an assemblage work made from bright plastic objects found on the beaches of the North East, delivered a serious message, with artist Diane Watson encouraging people to look closer and consider the impact of their plastic use.

The Next Page, a striking neon words artwork displayed on the back of Clayport Library will become a permanent fixture in the city thanks to support from the Banks Community Fund. Created as part of a project with women at HMP Low Newton following a series of writing workshops with poet Hannah Jane Walker, it will join the existing permanent Lumiere installationsHeronLightbenches and Helvetictocalso supported by the Banks Community Fund.

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Keys of Light participants

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East Durham College students collaborated with Guildhall School of Music and Drama



Durham Sixth Form students collaborated with Ocubo


Plastic bottles collected for Bottle Festoon

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Bottle Festoon workshops across County Durham

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Community groups engaged

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Local volunteers

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Residents of HMP Low Newton participated in The Next Page


Mr Beam

Keys of Light | View Bio

Amelia Kosminsky

Celestial Brainstorm | View Bio

Chris Plant

Harmonic Portal | View Bio

Deepa Mann-Kler

Neon Dogs | View Bio


Fool's Paradise | View Bio


Wave | View Bio

Penelope Payne

Blue Skies | View Bio

Lucy McDonnell

End Over End | View Bio

Top’là Design / Catherine Garret

Mysticète | View Bio

Ocubo and Storybox in collaboration with Durham Sixth Form Centre

Are Atoms Alive? | View Bio

Bernd Spiecker for LBO LichtBankObjekte

Lightbenches | View Bio

Jon Voss

Heron | View Bio

Stellar Projects

The Stars Come Out At Night | View Bio


Human Tiles | View Bio

Tobie Langel

Helvetictoc | View Bio

Mick Stephenson

Fusion | View Bio

Hannah Jane Walker with Neon Workshops in collaboration with residents at HMP Low Newton

The Next Page | View Bio

Dan Shorten/ Guildhall Live Events

Light Tunnel | View Bio

Mick Stephenson

Friendship Tree | View Bio

Lateral Office and CS Design, Produced by L4 Studio and Wireframe Studio

| View Bio

Diane Watson

Washed Up | View Bio

East Durham College Students, Guildhall Live Events/ Dan Shorten

Lift Off | View Bio

Nina Dunn with John Del’ Nero

Cosmic Architecture | View Bio

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

For the Birds | View Bio

Jacques Rival

I Love Durham | View Bio

Mike Donaghy

A Different View | View Bio

Victoria MacLeod

Big Knitting | View Bio

Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett

CLOUD | View Bio

Ron Haselden

Echelle | View Bio

Tigrelab Art

Stones | View Bio

Compagnie Carabosse

Spirit | View Bio

Deepa Mann-Kler

Shoefiti | View Bio

Louise Mackenzie

The Stars Beneath Our Feet | View Bio

Javier Riera

Geometrical Traces | View Bio

Fujiko Nakaya, Simon Corder

Fogscape #03238 | View Bio