Posted 10/01/2021

Ahead of the full artistic programme later this month, we're delighted to announce an exciting new interactive project, supported by Visit County Durham Ltd.

Created by digital studio TekjaTree of Hope is the first-ever Lumiere artwork we’ve commissioned to be hosted online. Tree of Hope will confirm County Durham’s reputation as a destination at the forefront of innovative and creative cultural experiences with a strong connection to the natural environment. The installation, inspired by Durham’s history as a place of ‘big thinkers’ and stunning landscapes, will give audiences across the UK and the world a chance to be part of the Lumiere magic, without being physically present at the festival, and will continue to live online beyond the four days of the festival.


We will invite you to contribute your hopes for the future online, from wherever you are in the world. A first for Lumiere, you will see your contribution create an artwork in real time, as a slender sapling grows into a fully-formed tree that blossoms and blooms with each hope expressed.

The artwork will reveal key topics and themes in the millions of data entries being collected, with machine learning and natural language processing algorithms applied to find the most meaningful messages and cluster hopes by common themes and topics. Algorithms based on geometries found in nature are also used to generate the tree’s form into distinct branches, which represent the popular themes and topics contained within the data.

Tree of Hope aims to offer a moment of reflection upon what a bright and hopeful future might look like. It is dynamic and will continue to grow and collect hopes after Lumiere. The Tree of Hope platform will become a place of reflection, a collection of messages to inspire and affirm.

Our hope is that Tree of Hope will give people who can’t visit Lumiere in person the chance to experience and interact with the festival from afar and become part of our global Lumiere community. With our programming of Lumiere we always want the audience to be moved emotionally in some way through experiencing artworks live, in person, together with other people. I’m thrilled that Tree of Hope crosses the bridge between a real life and digital experience, creating a beautiful monument to our collective hopes.

Helen Marriage, Director and CEO of Artichoke

We are excited to be partnering with Artichoke on the first digital artwork for Lumiere. The festival is an incredible experience for those that visit, and now with Tree of Hope, we have the opportunity to reach out to new audiences and give the UK’s leading light festival life beyond the physical four day biennial event. Creative digital ways to discover a destination play a key role in engaging consumers who may not previously have considered a visit, which is why this partnership is an important part of our ongoing recovery marketing activity.

Michelle Gorman, Managing Director of Visit County Durham Ltd

Lumiere has always been a showcase for talent, creativity and innovation. Over the last decade, the festival has celebrated County Durham’s rich heritage in new and imaginative ways, while utilising cutting edge technology to create awe inspiring experiences for residents and visitors. Tree of Hope is another example of Lumiere leading the way and providing exciting and meaningful ways for people to engage with art. It is why Lumiere is so important to County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025, and why we are incredibly proud to commission it.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council

The digital artwork will add new digital dimension to Lumiere, which is produced by Artichoke and commissioned by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England and a raft of funders and supporters. Lumiere will take place in Durham 18 – 21 November and is instrumental to County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025.

Tree of Hope is supported by Visit County Durham Ltd.

Tree of Hope physical installation at Lumiere supported by Prince Bishops Place