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The UK’s largest light festival returns to Durham for the fifth edition

Durham’s iconic landmarks including Durham Cathedral, Durham Castle and the historic Miners’ Hall at Redhills are the first locations to be announced in this sneak preview of the programme for the fifth edition of Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, which returns to Durham,16th – 19thNovember 2017.
Lumiere is produced by arts charity Artichoke, the UK’s leading creative producer of art in the public realm and is commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England, Durham University and a host of further funders and supporters.
Artists Pablo Valbuena (Spain), Hannah Fox (UK) and Shared Space and Light (UK) will respond to these unique locations with bold and captivating new work, created in collaboration with a broad range of local people, from Durham Cathedral’s bellringers to the hidden heroes of the public sector.
Pablo Valbuena will present Methods, a new work that will transform the interior and exterior of Durham’s iconic cathedral. Methods is inspired by the 17th century art of change ringing, the form of ringing bells in a series of numerical sequences which creates striking tonal effects. This specially commissioned installation will visualise these patterns of change ringing in light across the entire cathedral building, dividing the cathedral into ten segments, one for each bell. The spatial sections will be highlighted in accordance with the sound of the bells, projecting a synergy of sound and visual time-based patterns onto both the interior and exterior of the cathedral.
The work features a remarkable collaboration with Durham Cathedral’s Bell Major, Christopher Crabtree, and the Durham Cathedral Bell team, who together with Pablo have developed the score. The piece will draw on the familiar sounds and percussive rhythms of church bells up and down the country and will be performed live nightly during the festival by bellringing teams from around the UK.
Supported by Sevcon.
The faces of local people from all walks of life are at the heart of a new work by British artist, Hannah Fox. ‘Our Moon’ will be projected onto the walls of Durham Castle, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Created with the participation of 66 people aged from 5 to 78 and recruited by Durham Area Action Partnership, the whole spectrum of community will be represented from the young to the young at heart. The unique facial characteristics of these volunteers were captured digitally and will inform and animate Fox’s delicate hand-drawn illustration which will illuminate the castle over the four nights of the festival.
Supported by EMG Solicitors and Durham AAP
Common Good is a powerful and touching 3D video work that will put Durham’s public service sector workers on centre stage, revealing the inner life of the city, uncovering the stories, anecdotes and individuals who interact with us, the public, on a daily basis. Featuring cameos with 70 participants from fire fighters and refuse collectors to teachers and police officers, the piece will be projected onto the facade of the historic Miners’ Hall at Redhills. The installation will celebrate the extraordinary work of these everyday heroes and draw attention to the wider impact of their work on the community at large.
Giving a voice to those who can sometimes go unheard, Common Good will light up the city with stories of Durham’s hidden heroes. The work is created by the artist collective, Shared Space and Light who presented ‘Home Sweet Home’, a video work featuring local residents and their homes which was projected onto a terraced house at Lumiere in 2015. Supported by County Durham Housing Group and Prince Bishops Homes.
Lumiere has gone from strength to strength since the first Durham festival in 2009. In 2015, the festival attracted a record number of visitors with audiences of over 200,000 attending and generated an overall economic impact for the region of £10.3m.
Durham holds a unique place as the birthplace of Lumiere. Local people and communities have become central to the story of the festival, providing both the inspiration and context for many of the artworks. In 2015, more than 2000 local people, young people and children across the city and the region took part in learning and participation activities in the lead up to and during the festival,through schools workshops, volunteering, and contributing to the creation of several artworks.
Kate Harvey, Artichoke’s Senior Producer said:
“It’s exciting to be able give a small taster of the 2017 festival programme with these three stunning new commissions for three iconic Durham locations. All the more so because they each involve local people in the making of great art. From bellringers to the public sector, from schools workshops to local talent selected under the BRILLIANT commissioning scheme, this year’s Lumiere programme will bring artists together with the public in very many ways. It’s important that each of these innovative new commissions has attracted support from local sponsors, showing how much the festival and its ideas have embedded themselves in the wider community”.
Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council said: “The community outreach work which is central to Lumiere is something we are particularly proud of. It ensures that people across our county and from all backgrounds and age groups are touched by what is a truly world class event. It provides inspiration and opportunities way beyond the four days of the festival and illuminates some of the many people and places that make Durham such a special place of light.”

Inspired by the success of the festival in Durham since 2009, Lumiere has been presented in other UK cities, including Londonderry in 2013 and for the first time in London in 2016. Lumiere London will return for a second time to the capital in January 2018.

The full programme for Lumiere 2017 will be announced on 16th October. As in previous years, the central Peninsula area will be ticketed nightly between the peak hours of 4.30 and 7.30pm to help manage the large numbers expected and ensure a more comfortable audience experience. The rest of the festival outside the central Peninsula area will be accessible to visit at any time without a ticket and everyone will be able to enter the central Peninsula area without a ticket after 7.30pm. Tickets will be available from 17th October at council outlets around Durham County. Please see website for further details. Lumiere-festival.com

By Emily