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Lumiere returns to Durham for its fourth Festival of Light

Who can forget Lumiere 2013? 175,000 people attended over the course of four days (it was so inspiring there were even two successful marriage proposals)! Since its inception in 2009, the free festival has grown both in the number of artworks and visitors, and now attracts the most sought-after international artists whose work is inspired by light. I spoke to Kate Harvey, Festival Producer about what’s in store for visitors this year.
Festival Producers Artichoke are no strangers to events on such a large scale. They’ve been behind some of the most ambitious arts events in the UK. For Lumiere, Artichoke invites a selection of the best artists currently working with light from around the world to submit work that responds to and resonates with the City of Durham.  This is one of the aspects that Kate finds the most exciting – “each year the festival is reinvigorated through the unlimited power of imagination of the artists who contribute to the programme.”
Lumiere is a huge team effort, with Artichoke being supported by both Durham County Council and the Arts Council, as well as many other partners. I asked Kate about the benefits of working this way. “Many of our partnerships are longstanding,” she points out. “The effect of the festival can be much more profound if more people and organisations want to be part of its success, and showcase Durham in such an amazing way.”

This year County Durham residents have inspired some of the key works. Home Sweet Home tells the poignant stories of residents from a variety of local housing groups via a thought-provoking projection artwork.  Durham Sixth Form Centre students have worked with New Zealand Storybox to to make Precious, which details residents’ most treasured possessions. The BRILLIANT scheme involves four North East residents whose light works have been chosen for the festival. “It’s been amazing to work with so many residents across County Durham to create some of the key pieces for the Festival.” confirms Kate.
Another major highlight of the Festival is the Light, Art, The Universe and Everything Conference which takes place on Friday 13th November at the Gala Theatre. “Audiences can expect an encounter with some of the world’s finest minds,” says Kate, “revealing the power of light in areas as diverse as religion, medicine, philosophy and art.”
More than half of the 29 artworks, including some of the most spectacular installations, will be located outside the city centre area and can be visited without a ticket, any time between 4.30pm – 11pm.
Some of the highlights of 2015 are sure to be the aerial net sculptures of 1.26 Durham by US artist Janet Echelman, Complex Meshes by French artist Miguel Chevalier  – a carpet of light that will skim across the ribbed vault ceiling of Durham Cathedral’s Central Nave, Fogscape #03238 Durham by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya which will conjure up the spirit of St Cuthbert’s mist and  The World Machine – a Son et Lumiere projection onto Durham Cathedral by Ross Ashton and cosmologist Professor Carlos Frenk which tells the story of the history of modern cosmology. 
Lumiere Durham takes place on November 12th – 15th 2015. Tickets are on sale from Thursday 15th October at 10am.
(This article was written for the November issue of Narc magazine).

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