Through an innovative and unusual learning project they will work with neon to light up their own words in a series of text light artworks called Article 12. Twenty-five Year 9 students at The Durham Federation school are getting the chance to take part in neon making and creative writing workshops as part of an exciting new project to give young people a platform at this year’s Lumiere festival.
Lumiere is far more than the four-day event. Since the festival began in 2009, we’ve worked with more than 10,000 local people across County Durham bringing communities together to take part in making artworks and leaving a legacy of skills and newfound potential behind.
“There is a lot of pressure on the younger generation, but we don’t always feel we have a voice for people to hear us. I am excited to see my creative ideas put into action so other people can see them at Lumiere, and to get the chance to work with neon. I’m really proud of myself, and my friends, that we’ve got this opportunity to speak out and show other people what we’re made of and what we can do.”
Jess, 14, student at The Durham Federation
“Kids feel disenfranchised when they don’t have a voice and take to social media to get that across. I think words are so powerful, particularly when they are coaxed out of young people in the way we are working with them. Lumiere is such a key part of the North East calendar, it makes total sense for word-based art to be part of the programme at Lumiere.”
Writer and workshop facilitator, Lucie Brownlee
This project, supported by County Durham-based Atom Bank, is themed around Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The students will take part in a series of creative writing workshops and then make their chosen words and phrases into neon text artworks. The finished artworks will be shown alongside international artists at Lumiere before being returned to the school.
“Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child confers on all children a right to be heard and recognises the ability of children to form their own views. It also places an obligation on us all to listen and take heed. And beyond extending respect and promoting self-expression amongst young people, we would all be well advised to listen up. Challenge and change will always come from what is new and vital, and with so much that needs to change it is key to hear what young people think and say. We’re delighted to be supporting Year 9 at Durham Federation to get their words and their voices heard and seen in this year’s Lumiere. Come along and see in lights what they have to say to us all.”
Edward Twiddy, Chief Customer Office at Atom Bank
“Article 12 is a really exciting and important project for us to be producing this year as part of Lumiere. This project offers the opportunity to collaborate with young people in the local area, whose voices are not normally given such a big and wide-reaching platform. And neon is such a legendary form of light to be working with. It’s an opportunity to explore the science of neon, as well as the creative process of designing the lightwork itself. It is the first time Lumiere has worked with The Durham Federation and it’s been great to work with this talented group of young people who have so many important things to say.”
Louise Dennison, Head of Learning & Participation at Artichoke
Article 12 has been match funded by County Durham Community Foundation through a scheme that gives an extra 50p for every £1 that businesses pledge to the Lumiere 2021 Learning and Participation programme.
Article 12 has received further support from grant giving body, The Ragdoll Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the creation, appreciation and awareness of imaginative and innovative content that reflects the world from a child’s point of view.
Lumiere will take place from Thursday 18 – Sunday 21 November 2021.
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