Learning and Participation

Over 1,800 local residents and schoolchildren across County Durham participated in workshops and learning opportunities in 2023

For each edition of Lumiere, Learning and Participation activities are integrated into the artistic programme, leaving a legacy of skills and newfound creativity. Over the last ten years, Lumiere has become embedded in the imagination of the local population and a generation of young people in Durham have grown up with light art and inspiring learning projects. Our producers and artists have worked with over 13,000 local people and there are always plenty of opportunities for people in the North East to play an important part in Lumiere.


In 2023, participants included schoolchildren, young carers, Prison residents, veterans, people with disabilities, and people with lived experience of mental health issues. The number of local people taking part in Lumiere increased significantly in 2023, with 1800 local residents and schoolchildren taking part in 65 workshops and online artwork submissions across five artworks including Flowers and Chandeliers, On Blank Pages (Luzinterruptus), Watchtower (Ron Haselden) and Colour the Castle (Mr.Beam). 


On Blank Pages by Luzinteruptus, was produced by Artichoke’s Learning and Participation team for Lumiere 2023.

Displayed in Millennium Place from 16 – 19 November 2023, this illuminated wall composed of hundreds of notebooks aimed to provide a snapshot of the nation’s view of our justice system. Each night during the event, thousands added to the existing 15,000 pages featuring contributions from people involved in the justice system, from police and prisoners, to court officials and lawyers, refugees, young offenders and victims of crime.

On Blank Pages came to life through a series of workshops held by Artichoke’s Learning & Participation team with groups across the UK over the course of a year. The notebooks filled with text, illustrations and collage, explore the UK’s judiciary process, the prison system and its impact, as well as ongoing colonial regimes and issues related to justice. The themes that tie these many voices together are that the system has failed and that power lies in the wrong hands. In the words of one of the refugees that participated: “justice is action”.  View the responses in the On Blank pages – Online Archive. Watch the video below to learn more about On Blank Pages.


Lumiere 2023 may be over, but you can still learn about light art with our Education Resource and Schools Pack.

The education and activity pack has been created to support the 2023 Lumiere programme. We have selected three artworks and have created resources around them as an opportunity for you to learn and get creative. The pack is aimed at Primary School ages however anyone is welcome to learn from it. The resource can be used by individuals or as a class and focuses on British Sign Language, energy and recycling. These topics could be incorporated into the curriculum, a fun end of term activity of something to do during the term breaks.


Lumiere also invites anyone over the age of 18 to submit their brightest ideas for light artworks as part of the BRILLIANT commissioning scheme. Those that are successful are supported in the production of the works which are exhibited as part of the artistic programme, alongside work by internationally-renowned artists. Other opportunities for participation include volunteering to help visitors have the best experience of Lumiere and a number of apprenticeships are available to those wanting to take the first steps to developing a career in events production.

Find out more about BRILLIANT (now closed)


In line with Artichoke’s focus on making Lumiere 2023 the most sustainable yet, two community projects focused on ideas around recycling and solar energy: Diamond Garden by Mick Stephenson and Flowers and Chandeliers, which transformed 1600 plastic bottles into colourful lighted festoons in Prince Bishops and Bishop Auckland, inspired by ideas and designs by Durham Sixth Form College and New College Durham students.  Watch the video below to learn more about Diamond Garden


Lumiere workshops and learning opportunities are produced by Artichoke. Since 2006, 100,000 people across the UK have taken part in Artichoke Learning and Participation programmes as part of projects all across the UK. Find out more about the work we do by visiting: artichoke.uk.com/participation/

If you’d like to feedback or ask any questions, you can do so by emailing the Learning and Participation team at [email protected]

Image credits: 

  1. Children enjoying Lightbenches by Bernd Spiecker for LBO at Lumiere Durham 2023. Photo by Matthew Andrews
  2. Flowers and Chandeliers workshop at New College Durham, Lumiere Durham 2023. Photo by Canvas
  3. Signed Light, Martin Glover, Lumiere Durham 2023. Photo by Matthew Andrews
  4. I Am Ecstatic Right Now, Emma Griffiths, Lumiere Durham 2023. Photo by Matthew Andrews