Your chance to create an artwork for Lumiere 2021

Artists are being given the chance to shine at the region’s light spectacular, Lumiere.

By Katy Wheeler
Monday, 11th January 2021, 11:15 am

Artichoke, the producers of the bi-annual event in Durham City, have launched BRILLIANT, a £50,000 nationwide commissioning scheme for new works for the UK's leading light art event.

Six awards will be made, with the works to be shown alongside those of internationally-renowned artists at Lumiere, which is commissioned by Durham County Council and will take place in Durham from Thursday, November 18 – Sunday, November 21, 2021.

Three of the awards will be reserved for North East residents, with the remaining three open to the rest of the country.

RAINBOW, Deadgood Studio, LUMIERE 2011, produced by Artichoke in Durham. Photo Matthew Andrews Newcastle design studio Deadgood transform the scaffolded Prebends bridge into a walk-in rainbow.

The BRILLIANT commissioning scheme is open to creative individuals currently living in the UK who are aged 18 or older and have a bright idea that will transform Durham’s urban landscape using the medium of light.

Successful applicants will be supported by Artichoke with the production costs and technical expertise to create and install their artwork and receive a fee.

For the first time the scheme will be open to the whole of the UK, encouraging everyone in the country to play a part in the North East spectacular. The BRILLIANT scheme was previously open only to residents in the North East.

Twenty-one BRILLIANT artworks have been shown across the previous editions of Lumiere Durham, which have attracted more than 1 million visitors.

Litre of Light, Mick Stephenson, Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Successful artists have made work using recycled objects including glass washed up from the ocean, and supersized everyday objects including knitting needles, desk lamps and a Slinky.

To broaden the diversity of those working in the medium of light art, Artichoke is encouraging applications from people with disabilities, as well as people from ethnic minorities.

Helen Marriage, director of Artichoke, said: “BRILLIANT has fostered so much creative talent in the North East since it launched in 2011, and it has been fantastic to see how the winners’ careers have developed, contributing to County Durham’s reputation as a hub for light art.

“This year, we are delighted to open up BRILLIANT to the whole country whilst continuing to shine a light on local talent, so that anyone with a great idea can have the opportunity to make it a reality.”

Neon Bikes, Robyn Wright, Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “BRILLIANT is a fantastic opportunity for people in the North East, and now the whole of the UK, to have their work featured in the UK’s most prestigious light art festival. Lumiere gives them a stage on which to showcase their work to tens of thousands of people, and in many cases has acted as a stepping stone into a full-time career as an artist.

“Equally importantly, by extending the competition outside of the region, we can strengthen County Durham’s reputation as a place of culture and creativity, where the arts are truly valued. This in turn will encourage more people to visit the county when it is safe to do so, boosting trade for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, which have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.”

Applications will close at 9am on Thursday, February, 11 2021. All the information on how to take part in the BRILLIANT competition, including an information pack and application form available in accessible formats can be found at

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