Brilliant ideas wanted for leading light festival

People from across the UK could see their own artistic visions brought to life at Lumiere this year thanks to the return of a £50,000 commissioning scheme.

Artichoke, the producer of Lumiere, launched BRILLIANT today to seek six new works to show alongside those of internationally-renowned artists at the festival, which is commissioned by Durham County Council and will take place from Thursday 18 to Sunday 21 November 2021.

The BRILLIANT commissioning scheme is open to creative individuals currently living in the UK who are aged 18 or older and have a bright idea that will transform Durham’s urban landscape using the medium of light. Successful applicants will be supported by Artichoke with the production costs and technical expertise to create and install their artwork and receive a fee.

For the first time the scheme will be open to the whole of the UK, encouraging the nations to unleash their creative potential and bring light into people’s lives. The BRILLIANT scheme was previously open only to residents of the North East of England. The number of commissions has been increased to six, with three still reserved for people who are based in the region, while the extended scheme will support up to three more commissions from across the country. This also marks the first time that the scheme is being sponsored, with Durham-based EMG Solicitors, which has supported Lumiere since 2017, choosing to sponsor BRILLIANT for 2021.

Twenty-one BRILLIANT artworks have been shown across the previous editions of Lumiere Durham, which have attracted more than one million visitors. Successful artists have made work using recycled objects, glass washed up from the ocean and supersized everyday objects including knitting needles, desk lamps and a giant Slinky.

To broaden the diversity of those working in the medium of light art, Artichoke is encouraging applications from those who identify as d/Deaf and disabled, and black people and people of colour.

Helen Marriage, director of artichoke, said: “BRILLIANT has fostered so much creative talent in the North East since it launched in 2011, and it has been fantastic to see how the winners’ careers have developed, contributing to County Durham’s reputation as a hub for light art. This year, we are delighted to open up BRILLIANT to the whole country whilst continuing to shine a light on local talent, so that anyone with a great idea can have the opportunity to make it a reality.”

Councillor Simon Henig, our Leader, said: “BRILLIANT is a fantastic opportunity for people in the North East, and now the whole of the UK, to have their work featured in the UK’s most prestigious light art festival. Lumiere offers a platform for aspiring artists to showcase their work to tens of thousands of people, and in many cases has acted as a stepping stone into a full-time career in the creative industries.

“Equally importantly, by extending the competition outside of the region, we can strengthen County Durham’s reputation as a place of culture and creativity, where the arts are truly valued. This in turn will encourage more people to visit the county when it is safe to do so, boosting trade for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, which have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.”

Applications will close at 9am on Thursday 11 February 2021. All the information on how to take part in the BRILLIANT competition, including an information pack and application form available in accessible formats, can be found on the Lumiere website.

Lumiere is made possible through the support of Arts Council England and a host of funders and supporters.

Brilliant ideas wanted for leading light festival

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