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Our Lumiere Stories

Here you will find stories from staff and students about their personal connection to Lumiere - an insight into what the festival of light means to them.

The EAGLE has landed at Lumiere
Stuart McAlpine
4th year PhD student

I am a student at the Institute for Computational Cosmology, better known as the ICC, entering the 4th year of my PhD.

I work on a project named EAGLE, or the Evolution and Assembly of Galaxies and their Environment if you have enough time to say it, which is one of the most accurate large-scale simulations of our Universe ever made. Its goal is to investigate the simultaneous evolution of tens of thousands of galaxies from all the way back at the Big Bang up to today, to help us decipher the important astrophysical processes that govern our Universe.

Speaking as a previous visitor to Lumiere, I cannot recommend enough braving the chilly weather to come and see it. Read more here.



Illuminating the Universe
Professor Richard Bower
Institute for Computational Cosmology

Cosmologists working on the EAGLE Project use a huge supercomputer to create remarkably lifelike simulations of the Universe which are then compared to the real thing by astronomers through their telescopes to further our understanding of the Universe and to learn how it evolved to become what we see today.

The work of EAGLE is behind three of the installations at Lumiere 2017 - What Matters, Cosmoscope and Cosmic Architecture, which visitors will see projected on to the award-winning Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics.

Professor Richard Bower, of Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, explains more here.



Know Thyself
Finola Finn
History PhD student


A throbbing red heart that will illuminate one of Durham’s most famous landmarks has been inspired by the historical research of postgraduate student Finola Finn.

Drawing on 17th century imagery and the ancient proverb ‘Know Thyself’, this installation questions where our sense of self lies. Read more here.



What To Expect From Lumiere
Katy McRae
3rd year Psychology student

The Lumiere festival only descends on Durham every two years. Lucky for me, I got to experience Lumiere as a fresher, and this year I get to do it all over again.

The festival is a real spectacle, and you’ll truly get to see Durham in a new light, like you’ve never seen it. So here’s what to expect.

Katy is a third year Psychology student at Hatfield College, originally from Wigan. Read more here.



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Finola Finn - Know Thyself

Finola Finn - Know Thyself

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Durham University History PhD student Finola Finn tells how her research inspired her exhibit at Lumiere 2017, the UK's biggest light festival.