Brilliant: Bright Ideas for Lumiere

Posted:16th January 2023

Today leading UK arts producers, Artichoke, launched BRILLIANT, the national commissioning scheme for new light works for Lumiere, the UK’s light art biennial. Lumiere is commissioned by Durham County Council, and will take place in Durham from 16-19 November 2023.

Anyone can submit a bright idea. Up to six individuals will be chosen to have their works made and exhibited alongside UK and internationally-renowned artists as part of a thought-provoking new programme. BRILLIANT is sponsored by locally-based EMG Solicitors.

The scheme is free and open to anyone currently living in the UK, aged 18 or older, who has a bright idea that will transform Durham’s urban landscape using the medium of light. Successful applicants will receive a fee alongside the costs of production and technical support to create and install their artwork.

BRILLIANT aims to encourage creativity across the UK as well as highlight brilliant ideas from people living in or originally from the North East. Up to three of the six BRILLIANT commissions will be reserved for people who are currently residing in or are originally from North East England.

Artichoke is committed to broadening the diversity of those working in the medium of light art and encourages applications from people who are currently under-represented in our BRILLIANT alumni, including people of colour and people who identify as d/Deaf, disabled or neurodivergent.

Artistic Director of Artichoke, Helen Marriage says, “BRILLIANT is an integral part of Lumiere, and I’m thrilled that it will return in 2023, open to anyone in the UK to submit an idea. The scheme was created to even the playing field of those working in the medium of light art which is traditionally dominated by white, male and non-disabled artists, so I’m glad we can once again showcase local, North East creativity on a national platform and tell the stories of people from all walks of life across the UK. Artists who have been part of BRILLIANT have gone on to see their works shown at galleries and festivals around the world. In 2023, the light installations made for the BRILLIANT scheme will bring a sense of magic into the everyday life of Durham and will be presented alongside those by established international and UK artists”.

Applicants are encouraged to consider ways their work can be more environmentally friendly such as using sustainable technology or recycled materials with guidance from Artichoke, in line with our commitment to delivering a sustainable and environmentally-conscious event.

Since 2011, 27 BRILLIANT artworks have been programmed at Lumiere and seen by over one million visitors. Past works include luminous rope and drainpipes to make supersized knitting needles, a large, metal disc incorporating sound and colour to create a meditative work, a unique light structure made out of thousands of upcycled everyday discarded objects, illuminated street signs and a giant, glowing slinky toy.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council says, “BRILLIANT offers a unique opportunity for absolutely anyone to become a part of Lumiere. You don’t have to have aback ground in the arts or any previous experience to take part – all you need is an idea. The competition is about discovering new talent and, with no limitations on who can apply, it ensures the opportunity to get involved is available to everyone. As the culture county, we want to nurture new talent and make sure events such as Lumiere are as inclusive as possible, and BRILLIANT offers the perfect way to do this. It is also particularly exciting to see people’s ideas brought to life and enjoyed by the tens of thousands of visitors who come to Lumiere.”

EMG Solicitors returns as the key sponsor of the BRILLIANT national commissioning scheme for Lumiere 2023. EMG Solicitors is a growing firm based in Durham that has supported Lumiere events since 2017.

Claire Hewitt, EMG Solicitors, says: “EMG Solicitors is delighted to renew its support for Lumiere’s BRILLIANT commissioning scheme in 2023. Supporting our community is a key value for EMG and we can’t wait to see what this year’s BRILLIANT artists come up with.”

Applications will close on Sunday 19 February. Shortlisted artists for Stage Two of the process will be notified in March. If shortlisted, candidates will be invited to work with Artichoke’s production team to develop their idea in greater detail, working out some of the initial technical and logistical requirements. From the pool of shortlisted candidates, a group of artists will be selected to take their idea from concept to reality. The entire process, from proposal through to delivery, will give candidates invaluable insight into life as a practising artist and the realities of participating in a large-scale arts event.

All information about the BRILLIANT scheme, including the application form available in various accessible formats and the information pack can be found here:

Lumiere Durham is a central pillar of The Culture County, the long-term creative regeneration strategy born out of the Durham 2025 UK City of Culture campaign. To be the first to know what’s happening, sign up to the newsletter at the event website,