How to become a BRILLIANT artist

Posted 02/13/2023

Top tips from Artichoke’s Director of Projects, Kate Harvey

Artichoke is returning to Durham in November 2023 with a new edition of Lumiere, the UK’s light art biennial, exhibiting the best light art from national and international artists across the city of Durham. This is your opportunity to have your work exhibited as part of the 2023 programme.

We are inviting individuals or groups (18+) based in the UK with a bright idea for a new light art installation to submit an idea for the BRILLIANT strand of Lumiere. The scheme is open to anyone with an idea for new light art. Remember, you don’t have to be a practising artist to enter.

Your artwork doesn’t need to be complex or largescale; the most important element is that it uses the medium of light in a beautiful or surprising way to create an installation that entertains people or encourages them to stop and look at something in a new way.


Our number 1 tip is to read through the BRILLIANT information pack thoroughly. We’ve tried to think of all the questions you might have, and it includes location suggestions and inspiration from past BRILLIANT alumni. You can download it in plain text or large print or tune in to the audio recording.



Everyone’s inspiration is different. We’re looking for your best idea. Perhaps present your best ideas to friends and families and see which one stands out to them. Think about what story do you want to tell? What inspires you? Look at your surroundings? Maybe there’s a familiar or everyday object that you would you like to transform through light.  The list is endless… Explore our past BRILLIANT artworks for some inspiration.


Draw upon your own strengths and interests to come up with an idea that is authentic to you. Successful BRILLIANT artists have made use of their skills, hobbies and passions. In 2015, keen knitter and BRILLIANT artist, Victoria MacLeod knitted her installation herself using fluorescent knitted cord (although she needed more space to do it than usual and used drain pipes instead of needles)



Put yourself in the shoes of the audience. How do you want them to feel as they view your artwork – happy, calm, surprised, inspired? Is the artwork immersive – can they walk through it? Is there a sound element to your artwork?  Is it interactive? Can people touch it? And remember, the artworks are exhibited outdoors in all kinds of weather – wind, rain or even snow.


Now that you have this ambitious vision of your light artwork – deconstruct it. Take some time and imagine how we might build and install your work.  What might it cost?  We’re looking for artworks which can be made and installed within a maximum budget of £7,000. Which elements of your idea are important to convey? Remember often less is more.

If your idea is taken to Stage 2, you will have the advice of a Producer and Production Manager to refine the plans including the budget. At the end of Stage 2, we select the final works to be included in the Lumiere programme and Artichoke will cover the costs (up to £7000) to create and install your artwork.



If you are familiar with Durham you might like to think about your artwork installed in one of the four suggested locations outlined in the Info Pack? If you don’t know Durham, maybe have a look on street view. While you do not need a location in mind to make an application, it could help us visualise your idea more clearly if you do. Suggested locations include but are not limited to:

  • The area around Dunelm House
  • The public domain of Riverwalk
  • The space behind Ebony on Walkergate
  • Crown Court Gardens


Explore how you can make your artwork “invincible”. Remember, it will need to withstand the wind and rain in wintry Durham City for four days and nights, and be robust enough to cope with large numbers of people wanting to see it.



Get thrifty! What will your piece be made out of? Could we find these materials second-hand? Are there any commonly recycled items that could be used? Could sustainable technology be used instead of traditional methods to power it?  Environmental sustainability is hugely important to us and how we produce Lumiere. Artichoke will support you with researching the materials and the fabrication of the work, but any ideas about sustainability you can offer will help to make your application stronger.


Visual prompts will help our producers to understand and imagine your idea. You can include a maximum of 5 supporting documents. These may be drawings, photographs, sketches, models, mood boards and renders.



Once you’re done, take some time to read through everything that you’ve written. Perhaps ask a friend or colleague to look over it too. Does the explanation successfully convey your idea? You can only submit one idea, so it’s worth taking a bit of time before submitting to make sure that you’re happy with it.

Get thinking and good luck!


Applications close: Sunday 19 February, 11:59pm. Find out more via the link below: 


Please get in touch if you need:

  • Any help with completing your application
  • The information pack in a different format
  • To apply in a different format


Mon – Fri, 10:00 -18:00: +44 20 7650 7611  | [email protected]

Lumiere’s BRILLIANT scheme is sponsored by EMG Solicitors. EMG Solicitors is a growing firm based in Durham that has supported Lumiere since 2017.