Scholars visit the Lumiere - The UK's largest light festival

Khaoula Ali Social Media Ambassador

Lumiere is the UK’s largest light festival that takes place in Durham and is held over four days in mid-November.

Of course, one cannot talk about Lumiere without talking about the University of Durham, to which the event is partnered with. Durham University was founded in 1832 and is the 78th best university in the world and is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge. According to one of the local Chevening Scholars who live there, the University of Durham owns 70% of the City of Durham which has probably lead to it being the student orientated city that it currently is.

As Chevening Scholar attendees of the conference ‘Let there be a light’, we got the chance to learn about the history of Lumiere and how it came to be.

We learned that the intention of Lumiere was to bring science and art together: One thing I have always been sad about is the division and differentiation between art and science in modern education, which force people to choose between either pursuing an art or science related career. I had the chance at Durham Lumiere to listen to one of the speakers who was part of Lumiere installation last year. He discussed the relation between art and science with different scientific theories.

Scholars attending a brief Lumiere history lesson on the 'Big Bang'. 

After the talks from the speakers about Lumiere and its history, the Chevening Scholars and I attended a networking session where we got to meet with the event speakers. We were lucky enough to get a more indepth insight into Lumiere. I also had the chance to find out more about the Northern Lights, the places I can view them, and the best tips to actually catch them.

Scholars in their networking session.

Below is the group of scholars that attended the day posing with the programme officers on the trip, Jenny and Sophie.

There were 28 installations around the city, and some of them were even flexible and changed places each hour. One of our favourite exhibits was the moon installation. It looks at you, blinks, and even smiles at you. It’s actually the faces of Durham’s residents imprinted onto an illustration of the moon. Fascinating, right? The images gathered onto the moon’s face have been separated into four themes: childhood, youth, maturity and wisdom. Each evening a different moon will watch over the city. I guess the maturity moon has been watching over us in that evening!

The moon exhibit featuring the many faces of Durham within it's face.

Below are some of the other exhibits that I saw at the Lumiere Durham Light Festival. We were privileged to have the chance to see such great installations around the city. Here's hoping to see some more of it in London!

Dome and arches: a fairstyle structure of thousands LED lights which turned the market place into a magical winter wonderland!

Lighting inside of the church.

Drawing in Light: installation made of steel, hand formed into a typical Amesterdam style canal buidling.