Lift Off: a new Lumiere Learning Programme

Posted 06/12/2019

East Durham College students collaborate with Guildhall School of Music & Drama to create their own original light art installation for the 10th anniversary edition of Lumiere.


Lift Off will see a group of Media students from East Durham College collaborate with expert creatives from Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s cutting edge Video Design for Live Performance BA course to produce a unique artwork that will be showcased at Lumiere in November.

In a series of masterclasses with Guildhall staff, the students will use video mapping and other creative animation techniques to produce a piece of video projection mapping light art. They will learn about light as an art form, the technical processes behind light installations, and how an artwork goes from an idea to realisation. The project will give the students the opportunity to explore their imaginations, and will give a high profile platform to these young local voices.

You can watch the students’ vlog from the first Lift Off masterclass below. John, Jaz, Paige and Lee will be vlogging regularly about their experiences of Lift Off in the coming months, and their updates will be shared here.

Dan Shorten, an award-winning video designer and lecturer in video mapping and video control at Guildhall, is running the masterclasses with the Durham students. He said:

‘My first session with the students was extremely interesting. We discussed seminal projection mapping works and explored potential themes and ideas that we wanted to consider as part of our process. We identified “re-birth” as an interesting theme to focus on as this encapsulated various qualities and techniques used in architectural projection. The students also felt it has strong connotations for the projection site, as it soon will be demolished and replaced. I was extremely impressed by the imagination and insight that the students demonstrated and I am confident that they will be able to produce a very special piece of work for Lumiere.


Lift Off  was inspired by Artichoke’s recent Apollo 50 project, for which Berlin-based artist collective Mader Wiermann used similar video projection mapping techniques to transform the iconic Brutalist Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee into a moving, flowing structure.

The project is playfully named in reference to the Apollo Pavilion, which was unveiled in 1969, the year of the first moon landing with the Apollo Space Programme. The students participating in Lift Off are therefore not only extending the legacy of Apollo 50, but are also contributing to a much longer tradition of celebratory civic art in County Durham, the culmination of which will be the display of their work alongside that of world-class artists as part of Lumiere.

The students visited the Apollo 50 installation in March, and they were also invited by Guildhall to attend the immersive Beasts of London exhibition at City of London Museum in May. Third year students on Guildhall’s Video Design for Live Performance BA created the digital displays for Beasts of London, and discussed their experiences with the East Durham students, giving advice on what it is like to study at Guildhall and to have the opportunity to work on professional commissions.

Suzanne Martin, Lecturer in Media at East Durham College, said:

‘We are very excited to be part of such a high profile, real working brief. It’s an amazing opportunity for the creative industries learners to improve on their existing skills and to put their name to such a largescale, prestigious event for the North East. It is invaluable to our learners to work with industry professionals and gain a great insight and experience into a real life production event. Following the first few meetings with staff from Guildhall, our learners are already considering realistic and informed choices into their futures.’

Follow Artichoke Trust on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #LumiereDurham to stay up to date with the project.

Lift Off is produced in partnership with Guildhall School of Music & Drama and East Durham College for Lumiere, and is generously supported by UpNorth Group and Ragdoll Foundation.