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Tunnel of Light to bring colour to the Cloisters at Durham Cathedral

From February half term a vibrant art installation, created with the help of over 130 local school children, will bring flashes of colour to the shaded cloisters at Durham Cathedral for all to enjoy.

Artist Mick Stephenson, renowned for his light installations, has created Tunnel of Light, a display made up of Perspex discs that will cast colourful shadows by day and are lit by LED at dusk. Visitors to the cathedral can see the artwork daily from Saturday 18 February until Thursday 16 March.

The discs, which make up the artwork, join together to create the effect of stained-glass windows in three of the arches of the ancient cloisters, once used as a Harry Potter filming location. Each of the discs that make up the stunning display have been individually designed by children from one of five local schools. Their designs commemorate Durham’s rich mining heritage and imagine a brighter future for all.

Sarah Dellar, Learning & Engagement Team Leader at Durham Cathedral says,

"Tunnel of Light is going to be a wonderful temporary artwork in the cloisters and a great addition to our February Half Term programme of crafts and activities. We would encourage families make a visit to see the installation during the school holidays as it will be stunning by day and also lit in the evenings.

We hope our visitors take the opportunity to pause and spend a moment appreciating the North East mining history that we’re proud of as a community and see how the next generation have beautifully imagined a brighter future for our planet.”

The involvement of schools in the creation of the artwork was made possible with thanks to funding from the East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership. The funding enabled 138 children from Coxhoe Primary, Kelloe Primary, Cassop Primary, Sedgefield Primary and St William’s RC Primary to take part in a series of workshops.

The workshops saw children taking inspiration from Artichoke who organise Durham’s biannual festival of light ‘Lumiere’, as well as learning more about Durham’s proud mining heritage, and creating the artwork itself. The children will also come to the cathedral to see the finished installation in the cloisters later this month.

Sarah continues,

“This installation has been in development for a long time and was paused during COVID-19, so we’re delighted to finally showcase Mick’s creation and celebrate the fantastic work of local school children.”

Visitors can first catch a glimpse of the collaborative and colourful Tunnel of Light during February half term, from Saturday 18 February. Families visiting during this week can also take part in craft activities at 11am each week day where they can make your own fun artworks out of recycled materials. There is a ‘Kids Eat Free’ offer for families in the Undercroft Café and Durham Fire & Ice also takes place on Friday 24 & Saturday 25 February from 10am to 5pm across the city.

The cathedral is free for everyone to enjoy whether you’ve never been or visit regularly. If you’re able, donations are welcome to support the ongoing conservation of the cathedral.

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