Lumiere attracts major new funding

10 March 2011


Event producers Artichoke announce that it has made a successful bid to the European Union for a three-way collaboration involving Lumiere, the festival of light for Durham, 17-20 November 2011, and light festivals in Poland and Estonia. This is the first time that County Durham is to receive funding from the European Commission’s Culture Programme. The EU funding, together with a substantial grant awarded by Arts Council England demonstrates the power of cultural events to attract inward investment and build local economies.

The inaugural Lumiere festival in 2009 brought 75,000 visitors into the centre of Durham and generated some £1.5million for the local economy. The success of the first festival has enabled it to attract funding for 2011 through Arts Council England and now through the European Commission.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said: “Our support for Lumiere through Grants for the Arts, will, together with other sponsors and funders, bring this exciting event to the North East. The ambition of the City to bring Lumiere back to Durham will give more people the opportunity to experience great art.”

Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council said: “This announcement is very good news for Durham and the wider area. The European funding is likely to have far-reaching beneficial consequences, generating wider national and international interest, as well as attracting visitors to the region and creating local employment opportunities and economic benefits.”

Festival producers Artichoke say the growing reputation of Lumiere is another reason for local businesses to support the festival. This will be their message to local business at a Lumiere business briefing on Thursday 10 March, when they will be unveiling the opportunities available to businesses of all sizes to get involved with the festival and benefit from the association and the crowds that the festival will attract.

Two local sponsors are already on board, Northumbrian Water and Thorn Lighting, and there are many further opportunities for involvement across a whole range of options, ranging from full-scale sponsorships to other forms of association with the event such as extending opening hours or providing special festive menus.

Joanne Martin of Thorn Lighting said: “Thorn Lighting are delighted to be involved in such an exciting arts event which takes place on home turf. We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase some of the new technologies that we are prioneering at Thorn, and look forward to helping to make Lumiere 2011 an even greater success.”

John Mowbray of Northumbrian Water added: “Northumbrian Water has a long history of supporting culture for the benefit of economic development and community engagement. Following on from the huge success of last year’s festival, we are delighted to be involved with Lumiere and hope other businesses will join us in making it the biggest cultural event in the region this year.”

Lumiere will return to Durham 17-20 November 2011 to showcase all the possible uses of light that artists can imagine. Festival producers Artichoke have travelled the world to find the most exciting and innovative installations and performances for the city’s audience. The programme will be announced later in the year.



Lumiere was created by Artichoke in 2009 and generated around £1.5million for Durham’s economy. It was commissioned by Durham County Council, and is supported by Arts Council England. It followed the success of Durham’s own light festival, Enlightenment, featuring outdoor arts installations by Asian and British artists and inspired by the county’s religious and industrial heritage in 2008. Lumiere 2011 will take place 17-20 November 2011.

Durham County Council (DCC)

Durham County Council is one of the largest unitary councils in the country, serving a population of approximately 500,000 people. Artichoke has been commissioned to design, produce and deliver the Lumiere festival on behalf of DCC, working with local partners including Durham University and Durham Cathedral.!


Producers of extraordinary live events, Artichoke is one of the country’s leading creative companies and is a registered charity, funded by Arts Council England. Artichoke works with the best creative minds to produce extraordinary shows that live in the memory forever. Productions have included Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant, which filled the streets of London for four days in 2006; La Machine’s 50-foot high mechanical spider for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008; Antony Gormley’s 100-day long invasion of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London, One & Other; and Paul St George’s The Telectroscope, which allowed people in London and New York to communicate with each other by means of a hitherto undiscovered transatlantic tunnel. They produced the first edition of Lumiere in Durham in 2009.

The European Commission’s Culture programme

The Culture programme (2007-2013) aims to achieve three main objectives: to promote cross-border mobility of those working in the cultural sector; to encourage the transnational circulation of cultural and artistic output; and to foster intercultural dialogue. The main focus of the programme is on co-operation projects involving at least 3 partner organisations from at least 3 different eligible European countries. The programme has been running since 2000 and was renewed in 2007. There is an annual call for applications across several strands, such as co-operation projects, literary translation, networks, festivals and others. The European Capitals of Culture initiative and several European awards are also run by the Culture programme. Information on the Culture programme can be found on the Cultural Contact Point website http://www.culturefund.euas well as on the EU Commission’s website!

Arts Council England

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. Further information:

For images, interviews and further information contact Anna Vinegrad: T+ 44 0207 609 8905 M +44 07813 808 487

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