Artichoke, producers of Lumiere Durham, have today announced that the Garfield Weston Foundation have once again pledged support for the 2019 edition of the light festival. The Foundation’s substantial £90,000 grant will go towards the delivery of Artichoke’s year-round learning and participation programme within communities in the North East, ensuring Lumiere has a lasting impact beyond the four-day festival experience.

Lumiere, commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England, will return from the 14th – 17th November for its tenth anniversary edition. Exciting new commissions will feature alongside some of the festival’s most memorable installations from the past decade.

Beyond the spectacle of the festival is an extensive programme of events, workshops and training experiences, made possible through the generous support of Garfield Weston and other supporters. These initiatives invite community groups and individuals from the region to take part in the creation of artworks, learn new skills and undertake professional development opportunities like traineeships and enhanced volunteering roles.

Philippa Charles, Director, Garfield Weston Foundation, comments: “The Foundation has once again chosen to support Lumiere Durham in recognition of its commitment to providing long term benefits to the North East, through ongoing learning and participation opportunities. The festival itself is an internationally renowned cultural highlight, which has delighted and astounded audiences repeatedly over the last ten years. We’re proud to support the festival in its endeavour to further the impact of the festival throughout the local community.”

There is still time to join Garfield Weston as a supporter of Lumiere 2019, helping not only to bring the festival to life, but to realise the engagement work in the community. Artichoke are still seeking sponsors for a range of initiatives including the BRILLIANT commissioning scheme and Lumiere conference.

Sarah Coop, Development Director, at Artichoke said: “We’re delighted and grateful that Garfield Weston has chosen to support Lumiere so generously again. The investment will help fund a programme of community work that we’re incredibly proud of, allowing the impact of Lumiere to last well beyond the four days of the festival. The continued support from all our funders, Durham County Council and Arts Council England allows us to deliver a spectacular festival that in 2017 welcomed 240,000 visitors to the city, generating an economic impact of £7.6 million.”

In 2017, over 1,000 local people engaged with the Lumiere programme outside of the festival, including 720 school pupils across 24 schools. One of the highlights from 2017’s participatory programme was the planting of 15,000 stems of flower-like sculptures for Entre les rangs, by artist Rami Bebawi and KANVA. Around 30 disadvantaged community members, including those from two local YMCA groups, a women’s refuge group and Syrian refugee families, worked with the production team to help fill the cloisters of Durham Cathedral. The ambition of the project, which was facilitated by Chester-le-Street AAP, was to use art to transgress social boundaries, improving integration and the emotional wellbeing of marginalised individuals.

Lumiere Durham 2017 also marked the start of an ongoing programme in collaboration with ten primary schools and Children & the Arts, which continues into 2019. This gives pupils opportunities to take part in educational workshops and help with the creation of artworks. A highlight of the 2017 schools’ programme included a specially arranged tour for 300 children of For the Birds in the Botanic Gardens, allowing them to interact more meaningfully with the artwork. For 2019, Artichoke’s schools’ outreach will also include the creation of a resource pack for all 228 primary schools in County Durham, giving teachers the tools to deliver lessons in creativity.

In addition to primary age children, older school students are given the opportunity to gain real-life, hands-on experience into the running of the festival. In 2017, 20 students from Durham Sixth Form Centre collaborated with artists Walter & Zoniel on the creation of ANON, helping them to design the artwork, source the materials and provide assistance throughout the duration of the festival. As part of a continued relationship, the same cohort of students had also participated in Precious, a project by Storybox in 2015.

Other education partners include Durham University and New College Durham. Dawn Fairlamb, Vice Principal – Economic Development and Student Progression of New College Durham, who continues to participate in the learning and participation programme, says: “Not only is Lumiere a wonderful event that is important for the city and the local community, it also helps raise the profile of the arts in the region. Supporting Lumiere gives our students a fantastic opportunity to get involved with the event, learning from a variety of experts in areas such as catering and hospitality, media and event management. Since the last event we have seen an increase in interest and enrolment in our art and design courses, so we are looking forward to seeing how Lumiere Durham 2019 will inspire our students.”

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “Lumiere brings many benefits to Durham and the wider area, from providing a boost to local businesses to raising the profile of our county around the world. However, the learning and participation programme is particularly important as it directly benefits local residents – and not just during the four days of the festival. It enriches the lives of schoolchildren, community groups and individuals from all walks of life all year-round. It’s great to hear that the continued support of festival sponsors will enable the programme to continue – especially as we prepare to celebrate Lumerie’s 10th anniversary this year.”