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Durham University




"The new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics represents a wonderful contribution to the unique architectural heritage of Durham City and conveys a sense of adventure that reflects the novelty and excitement of the research about our Universe that goes on within it. Cosmic Architecture will bring that excitement to a whole new audience during Lumiere."

Professor Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology


Durham University has been a proud supporter of Lumiere since it began in 2009 and we have played host or contributed to several of the festival’s installations over the years.

In 2017 we are delighted to welcome a number of outstanding installations across our estate from venues including the Botanic Garden to the new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics and the historic Durham Castle. Our research has also provided the inspiration for many of the installations that make up Lumiere. Below you can find out more about the installations with Durham University involvement.


Cosmic Architecture
Lower Mountjoy
(University Science Site)

In a new commission celebrating the partnership between Lumiere and Durham University, video designer Nina Dunn and sound designer John Del’ Nero create a spectacular new work saluting the extraordinary achievement of architect Daniel Libeskind’s building for the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics.

Celebrating the marriage of revolutionary architecture with the beauty of the ground-breaking theoretical models and supercomputer simulations that are carried out within the building, Dunn and Del’ Nero will create an audience experience both astonishing and awe-inspiring in equal measure. The music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge.

For the Birds
Durham University Botanic Garden

Take a meditative and immersive journey through the wilderness to discover over 20 light and sound installations inspired by birds and created by a collective of artists: Jony Easterby, Mark Anderson and Kathy Hinde, Ulf Pedersen and Pippa Taylor. For the Birds offers an after-dark delight, re-imagining the green spaces of the Durham University Botanic Garden.

Know Thyself
Count's House

A throbbing red heart illuminates the inside of The Count’s House. Suspended, it grows stronger and brighter, weaker and dimmer – in time with the corresponding sound of a slow, low, abstract heartbeat. Drawing on 17th century imagery and the ancient proverb ‘Know Thyself’, this installation questions where our sense of self lies. In our hearts, our heads, or not in the body at all? This installation was developed by History PhD student, Finola Finn, who was one of five artists selected to have their work shown at Lumiere.

Maps and access

Full maps and access information are available on the Lumiere 2017 website and a map of all installations at the festival can be viewed here.

Our Moon
Durham Castle (University College)

The faces of local people from all walks of life are at the heart of a new work by British artist, Hannah Fox. Our Moon will be projected onto the walls of Durham Castle, one of the city's most famous landmarks and home to University College. Created with the participation of 66 people aged from five to 78 and recruited by Durham Area Action Partnership, the whole spectrum of community will be represented from the young to the young at heart.

The unique facial characteristics of these volunteers were captured digitally and will inform and animate Fox's delicate hand-drawn illustration which will illuminate the castle over the four nights of the festival.

Crown Court Gardens

Taking inspiration from the study of the universe, blood flowing through the human heart and the order and disorder of atoms and molecules, Cosmoscope explores the patterns, structures and similarities of these scientific areas. Cosmoscope asks us to consider the very, very small scale and imagine the very, very large scale, contemplating our own place in the universe and encouraging us to question how we perceive the world around us.

This vast project was developed by a team of scientists, including Durham University’s Professor Richard Bower and Dr Pete Edwards, and Simeon Nelson, Professor of Sculpture at the University of Hertfordshire.

What Matters
St Oswald’s Church and Churchyard

What Matters of two immersive light and glass installations. Inside the church, thousands of hand-blown glass pieces depict the birth of light in the universe.
In the churchyard, these pieces appear to have joined to form glass bubbles. They hover in clusters, appearing to be suspended in space amongst the trees. A collaboration between the Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University, students at the University of Sunderland and the Sunderland Glass Centre.

* For the full Lumiere 2017 programme visit Lumiere 2017 full website.

Botanic Garden

Ogden Centre

The EAGLE Project Explained

The EAGLE Project Explained

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The EAGLE Project aims to create realistic simulations of galaxies to understand the origin and evolution of the universe. The project is behind the art installations 'Cosmic Architecture', 'Cosmoscope' and 'What Matters' which are part of Lumiere Durham 2017 - more information:

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