Jump to:

Artichoke Blog

Post Date

28 January 2013


Read full post

Lumiere’s biggest fan?

Yesterday was Monday. We turned up to the office in the morning with all the expectation of an average Monday. Imagine then, if you can, our absolute delight when we received an email from a Lumiere fan who had spent several hours out in the recent freeze constructing his very own "snow cathedral" in tribute to Lumiere. This was no ordinary Monday...

Snow good!

This is the fabulous creation of Florian B. Soulard who decided to take advantage of the recent flurries of the fluffy white stuff by crafting a miniature version of Durham's iconic Norman cathedral. Florian is a PhD student at Durham University studying Digital Holography so we can see where his excitement for Lumiere comes from. Not only is the snow cathedral impressive enough, but Florian achieved the ultimate effect by projecting images from a video projector to create an amazing homage to the son-et-lumiere Crown of Light seen on Durham's cathedral at Lumiere in 2009 and 2011. Click through the pics below. Inspired!

Florian said: I enjoyed the light shows in 2011, in particular the projections of manuscripts and stained-glass windows on the cathedral. Inspired by the recent snow falls, I built a "snow cathedral" in my garden (I thought it would be more original than a classic snowman!). Looking forward to Durham Lumiere 2013!

Look how happy he looks. We love this. And even though we're still a bit shivery from the cold, this truly warms the cockles. From all of us here at Artichoke, thanks Florian!

An InTents Moment

After a whistle-stop tour around the UK, InTents popped up along London's South Bank as part of Southbank Centre's National Poetry Day Live.

As part of this summer’s poetry project Peace Camp, we launched a UK-wide schools project with over 400 students taking part. Made possible by our Learning and Participation Producer Miriam Nelken, InTents was facilitated by some of the UK’s best artist-educators, with children and young people, from the Isle of Skye to the tip of Cornwall, taking part. Inspired by the themes of love, language and landscape, groups of students wrote poems and made art installations to be explored in specially commissioned bell tents.

On Thursday 4 October, seven of the tents were brought together from all corners of the UK as part of Southbank Centre's National Poetry Day Live (NPDL). These ‘pop-up’ poetry tents formed a trail along the South Bank and delighted many a passer-by. As well showcasing their tents, the students also opened the festivities by reading poems they had created during the InTents project. This marked the first time that young people had taken to the stage during NPDL and it was so successful that Southbank Centre said they would welcome more in the future.

We thank the schools, staff, and students for wholeheartedly being involved in Peace Camp. The tents will return to their respective schools to be kept as a memento - they represent a fascinating portrait of the lives and loves of young people across the UK in 2012.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Post Date

23 August 2012


Read full post

Exploring Poland for LUMIERE

Preparations for the next LUMIERE festival are already well underway and our production team are investigating new opportunities for collaboration in Europe. Artichoke Associate Producer Hannah Standen is currently in Poland investigating the potential for future co-operation.

Hannah is studying for a European Diploma in Cultural Project Management with Association Marcel Hicter. As part of her yearlong course, Hannah is required to complete a comparative study in another European country. Hannah has chosen to undertake her study in Poland and is currently there carrying out research into potential light artists for the next Lumiere, learning the language and meeting with arts practitioners.

Not that we had any doubt, Hannah is proving an excellent student, working hard, and finding out more about the climate in which Polish producers and artists operate and the social, economic, and political factors affecting their work. In addition to attending language classes at the School of Polish Language and Culture in Cieszyn through the University of Silesia, and discovering some incredibly good ice cream (!), she has also met with arts organisations in Gdansk and at the weekend will attend the Skyway light festival in Torun.

Hannah said: “It is hard work but I am really enjoying exploring the country, talking very bad Polish with everyone and drinking very good iced coffees! A challenge in 35-degree heat but someone’s got to do it right?”

35 degrees, Hannah? Are you sure you didn’t pop over to Spain instead?

In September Hannah will return to Poland to present Artichoke’s work to practitioners from across Europe and to debate the function of art in public space as part of an event organised by the ARTLOOP Sopot and Grolsch ArtBoom Festivals.

Post Date

17 August 2012


Read full post


We are delighted to announce that Artichoke co-Director Helen Marriage has been awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The prestigeous Loeb Fellowship is awarded to individuals working in the area of urban design and planning. Helen's appointment is an acknowledgement of the impact Artichoke has made on the way mass public art events are negotiated and staged.

Founded in 1970 with a gift from John L. Loeb, the Loeb Fellowship was set up to encourage reinvigorated thinking about how our cities and natural environment are designed and planned. The only requirement for Fellows at the end of the award is that they return to their positions and make a real impact on the way that a city or culture is thinking about itself and its purpose.

Starting in September Helen will use the opportunity offered by the Fellowship to explore public perceptions of risk, and the processes of negotiating with several different agencies to deliver complex productions in the public realm.

Helen Marriage, Artichoke co-Director said:
“We have allowed ourselves to become frightened of what is possible by the over-regulation of public space. I want to look at ways in which we can take away people’s anxieties, and show them that temporarily closing a road or digging it up in the pursuit of art is okay. It’s about challenging the consensus that our public spaces are places just for shopping or traffic. I am extremely honoured to have received this award. It is a recognition of the work Artichoke already does, and I want to take some time to explore the intellectual framework around our work and ideas in more depth”.

Helen is now busy programming Artichoke’s 2013 projects before she leaves for her sabbatical.

Nicky Webb, Artichoke co-Director said:
“We are so thrilled about Helen’s Fellowship. It is a tremendous accolade for all that Artichoke has achieved since 2005. It has been an extraordinary time, during which we have grown from a three-person team to an organisation employing 12 full-time people.  With two forthcoming projects in 2013, one following hard on the heels of the other, everyone will be kept busy and we’ll try not to bother Helen too much whilst she’s away! Every project we take on challenges us in new directions and we are looking forward to the insight and ideas for the future that Helen will bring back with her”.

We wish Helen all the very best and look forward to her return next Spring. We'll send you updates of how she is getting on over the pond so stay tuned for news of Helen's adventures.

Post Date

08 August 2011


Read full post


A major trans-European artistic collaboration will be launched at the Skyway Festival in Torun, Poland, this week, before being seen at the Valgusfestival Tallinn, (Estonia) in September, and at Lumiere in Durham (UK) in November. 

Three artists – one from each country - have each been commissioned to create a work of art for the three light festivals in a collaboration given the over-arching title Lux Scientia. The three artists – Simeon Nelson (UK), Dominik Lejman (Poland) and Leonardo Meigas (Estonia) will each collaborate with a scientist and all three works will explore both the scientific and aesthetic aspects of light.

Lux Scientia aims to act as a platform for debate about how the different artists’ vision relates to the their installation in different spaces and environments, and to raise awareness of a shared European heritage, foster mutual understanding and celebrate the cultural diversity of the three countries. Each festival will hold a round table discussion between resident artists and scientists culminating in a symposium in London curated by cultural programmer and designer Mario Caeiro.

LEONARDO MEIGAS’ work currently explores the scientific phenomenon of the Hartmann Grid. His piece will take the form of a multimedia installation of ‘invisible walls’ that appear when lit. The goal is to recognize the existence of natural radiations and their effect.

DOMINIK LEJMAN’s large-scale works aim to create a new kind of ‘urban’ light-painting – a technique involving video projections onto buildings, whose façades become highly charged historical canvases.

SIMEON NELSON is a sculptor who is concerned with the interaction between mankind and nature. Collaborating with scientists, philosophers and theologians, Nelson works to connect science with human understanding of the world.

The three artworks will be presented at all three festivals, each of which is independently curated and has a different theme and focus but all of which aim to present a series of installations, projections and performances created by artists using the medium of light.  All three festivals have built a strong critical following and attract mass audiences.  75,000 people visited the inaugural Lumiere Festival in 2009, and the oldest of the festivals, Valgusfestival (Tallinn), now attracts around 120,000 people. Each festival creates a context in which the nighttime economy of their city is enhanced by the large numbers of people who come out to attend events in the streets after dark. 

The social aspects of this animation of the city are easily proved, with reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour and an increase in night-time trading.

The partnership has been brokered by British event producers Artichoke, who produce the Lumiere Festival and are well known for mounting large-scale, site-specific events such as The Sultan’s Elephant and Antony Gormley’s One & Other.  The project has received funding from the European Commission’s Culture Programme, demonstrating the power of cultural events to attract inward investment and build local economies.

You can find out more about Lux Scientia and each of the festivals at www.luxscientia.com.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.