During Lumiere 2023, the vibrant streets of Durham City and Bishop Auckland were illuminated with dazzling displays and showcased local artists’ talents.

As a highlight of this year’s light-art biennial, the Durham County Council’s community arts team actively engaged in a program to nurture emerging artists in the region, paving the way for future opportunities.

Light Lab brought together ten artists from the north of the UK as part of Lumiere’s skills development programme and the Light Up The North (LUTN) partnership – a network of five northern light festivals.

Through workshops provided by Durham County Council and LUTN partners Lightpool National Portfolio Organisation (Blackpool) and Wigan Council, the artists were tasked with developing ideas for installations which might be commissioned for LUTN events in the future, including Lumiere.

As part of the programme, light artist masterclasses were held in Blackpool and Durham, with Light Lab Durham taking place during Lumiere, on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 November.

The artists, from County Durham and the North East, Wigan and Blackpool, also had the opportunity to meet established artists whose work has appeared at previous light festivals. 

They then had to the chance to walk around Lumiere and see this year’s installations.

The artists will now develop their individual ideas before presenting one they would like to be considered for research and development, with mentoring to help make their ideas a reality. 

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “In County Durham we are committed to investing in culture-led regeneration and creating opportunities in line with our vision of Durham as the culture county. 

“Lumiere’s programme reflects this vision, with schemes such as Light Lab designed to give opportunities to emerging artists working in the county and wider North East region. We were delighted to use Lumiere to facilitate the Durham leg of the Light Lab workshops and help our region’s artists see their ideas brought to light.”

For more information about Lumiere and its community programme, visit www.lumiere-festival.com 

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