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Durham Cathedral with a light installation as part of Lumiere

The work of five world-renowned artists will be part of this year’s Lumiere light festival taking place in Durham from 16-19 November 2023.

It will include the UK premiere of artwork by Ai Weiwei, called Illuminated Bottle Rack, which will incorporate 61 antique chandeliers hanging in Durham Cathedral’s Chapter House.

The free festival, which was first launched in Durham fourteen years ago and is supported by Durham University, is now attracting major artists from all over the world to showcase their light installations in our beautiful historic city. Over four nights, there will be more than 35 artworks with light exhibited on buildings, streets and the river.

Astronomy meets art

There will be spectacular light installations by artists including Ai Weiwei, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chila Burman, Yinka Ilori and Daniel Canogar.

The façade of the Ogden Centre, home to our Institute for Computational Cosmology, will be illuminated with work from Spanish artist, Daniel Canogar. This new commission, Universal Loom, is inspired by string theory and was created with astronomical data from the Institute’s ground-breaking research.

Colours and lights

This year, the festival will also feature another UK first with artwork by Mexican-Canadian artist, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. His installation will transform the nave of Durham Cathedral with thousands of lightbulbs, each activated by the recorded heartbeat of visitors.

Durham Market Place will be a sea of colours with an installation of neon-light artworks which celebrates Chila Burman’s Hindu-Punjabi heritage and focuses on the pressing theme of climate change.


Lumiere is produced by leading arts producers Artichoke and commissioned by Durham County Council, with additional support from Arts Council England and Durham University, along with a number of further supporters.

The full programme will be announced in October and peak tickets will be released on Wednesday 4 October.

Find out more

To be the first to know what’s happening, you can sign up to the event’s newsletter via the Lumiere website.