In 2011, Durham-based builder Mick Stephenson submitted a winning idea for BRILLIANT, Lumiere’s open call for people from or living in the North East of England to create an installation for the festival.
BRILLIANT gives creatives in the North East the chance to showcase their installations to audiences of thousands, with professional support from technical and artistic experts to nurture and develop their installations. You don’t have to be an artist to take part – anyone with a great idea for the festival can succeed – and you might recognise some of our most eye-catching installations as BRILLIANT commissions.
Sometimes your life can change in a moment; the call out in 2011 certainly had a profound effect on mine. I wanted to be part of Lumiere, creating something special in my home city… Life has never been the same since.Mick Stephenson, Builder and BRILLIANT artist
Mick’s piece Fusion was supported by Walkergate and the 2011 BRILLIANT strand was commissioned in partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and funded by Northern Rock Foundation. Mick designed the piece specifically to fit the space in the corner of Walkergate. Made from everyday items such as milk bottles and plastic pipes donated by members of the public, the artwork was lit from behind by colourful LEDs to produce a stunning light sculpture.
We especially liked Mick Stephenson’s Fusion on the corner of Fat Buddha. We should keep it! Festival visitor, Lumiere 2011
Since 2011, Mick has gone on to develop a successful career as a light artist, and has shown installations at several festivals including Lumiere Durham in 2013, 2015 and the first edition of Lumiere in London in 2016. For his Lumiere Durham 2015 installation, Mick fulfilled a long-held ambition to create a full-size replica of the city cathedral’s iconic Rose Window – out of 20,000 recycled plastic bottles. Monumental in scale and installed in the heart of the Cathedral cloisters, Litre of Light (2015) was produced with the help of schools, prisons and members of the public across County Durham and raised money for the My Shelter Foundation, which provides solar light bulbs to homes with no or limited electricity.
How Walkergate’s support made a difference
As well as providing the perfect location for Mick’s first Lumiere installation, Walkergate’s financial contribution went directly towards the cost of the technical tools and materials required, installing the piece and professional support to help Mick create this large-scale work.
An ideal partnership
The partnership also offered a unique opportunity for Walkergate to raise their profile through the artwork, which was seen by tens of thousands of people, and they returned to support Lumiere again in 2013 and 2015:
The Walkergate complex and the site’s management company DTZ were keen to play a part in Lumiere Durham 2011 and to realise this exciting event’s potential benefits for our tenants and the wider area. Mick Stephenson is a regular visitor to Walkergate and he was able to design the piece with the site in mind, which worked perfectly for us as a sponsor.The team at DTZ