Lumiere Light Festival, Durham... A Photo Essay

Spotlighting the return one of our regions staple art festivals.

Imogen Clarke
25th November 2021
Image Credit- @Durham_2025 on Twitter

"Lumiere" is the UK's largest light festival. But is it the best? (That was a rhetorical question- I haven't been to any others!) I must admit I had no idea what to expect. And, for a free event, I was pleasantly surprised! There was even a handy app to help you navigate the city (and exhibits) in the dark. Obviously, an article on a light festival is best expressed in the pictures I took. So, without further ado...

I started with Durham Cathedral. And let me tell you, after seeing this, nothing else came close! What you can't see from this is that the projection was moving, and presented several scenes. There was also a soundtrack to most exhibits too! Durham Cathedral is such a spectacular building on its own, but lit up like this was quite something! And, you could see the cathedrals' colours from all over the city, it really added something to the night sky!
Talking of the night sky, "Scattered Light" at St Mary's College was certainly worth walking up to! Although a very simple exhibit made up of suspended LED bulbs, It was one of my favourites!
"Chronos" by Leslie Epstein and Camile Gross was also on Durham University campus, a short walk out of the city centre. Although it didn't look like much from the road, when I rounded the corner and saw the projections on this right-angular building, I gasped! Like the cathedral, it was also accompanied by music, and made an imposing sight against the darkness.
This lit-up walkway was very fun, as the light went all over anyone above! Despite the bright colours though, "Imminence" had a dark message about human-led climate change, and the impact on our planet. It was a paradoxical mix of vibrancy and sobriety.
"The Fossilised Sea' was down by the river, and projected Durham's geological history. I was surprised to learn that 325 million years ago, Durham was a tropical sea with coral reefs. A sad juxtaposition to the cold rain I experienced while viewing this.

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