Town Toolkit | Durham Lumiere Festival
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Durham Lumiere Festival

Astounding, exciting, inspiring… the biennial Durham Lumiere Festival is the UK’s largest light festival. Local and international artists come together to create light installations and projections that reimagine familiar buildings and public spaces, changing the way that places are experienced.

Led by the County Council but involving over eighty partners and funders, and delivered by specialist arts event organiser Artichoke, the popularity of Lumiere has grown dramatically since the first festival in 2009. More than 240,000 people attended the four night festival in 2017, with around 30 installations and projections. 91% of the audience came specifically for Lumiere, and 12% were from the rest of the UK outwith North-East England. Direct visitor spend was £3m, with a total net economic impact of £7.5m: a return of 1,260% on the County Council’s investment of £0.6m.

The festival brings world class cultural experiences to Durham, and showcases what the city has to offer. The community outreach programme reached 1,720 people in 2017, many through school activities. A conference and open call-out scheme for local artists runs alongside the main programme. There are now plans to establish a permanent presence for light art through community engagement, professional practice, exhibitions and studio spaces.

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