Durham dazzles at celebration event for Place of Light

Durham dazzles at celebration event for Place of Light

Visit County Durham hosted a dazzling celebration event for Durham Place of Light, the exciting new place brand, at Durham Cathedral last night.

The celebratory evening saw over 100 business leaders, stakeholders and industry partners gather for the high-profile event to find out more about some of the great stories that make Durham shine.


Guests left illuminated after hearing how light connects the county on so many levels – from science, art and technology to business, tourism, and the beauty of Durham’s breathtaking landscapes.


The Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, welcomed guests to Durham Cathedral and Cllr Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, told the story of Durham and its relationship with light and showcased the stunning Durham Place of Light film.


A ‘Trail of Light’ around the Cathedral Cloister featured some of the county’s stories of light, from inventive businesses such as Thorn and PolyPhotonix to Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and Lumiere Durham. Please see below for the full list of partners and their involvement.


One of the ambassadors for the new brand is Richard Kirk, chief executive of PolyPhotonix in Sedgefield, which develops light therapy treatments for macular eye disease as well as other medical conditions. The company manufactures a phototherapy eye mask that independent health economists working with the NHS estimate could save in excess of £1 billion a year on adoption.


Richard said: “Light is our business so we are delighted to support the new brand, which shines a light on the county as a great destination for business as well as to visit. Durham is an amazing county and has lots to offer industry. I would encourage other organisations to become ambassadors for the county and to help raise the profile nationally and internationally.”


Durham Place of Light aims to change perceptions of the county and highlights Durham’s fantastic stories to showcase the area as a great place to live, work, invest, study and visit.


Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, said: “It was thrilling to celebrate Durham Place of Light at Durham Cathedral, which itself is a shining beacon of the North. Guests left illuminated about the county and the organisations, attractions and people that make it shine.”


Cllr Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “It was a pleasure to see so many guests in attendance and to be able to introduce them to the Place of Light brand, shining a light on many of the stories that connect our county through light.” 


See Durham shine at: www.durhamplaceoflight.com



Katharine Capocci T: 03000 261223

E: Katharine.capocci@visitcountydurham.org


Notes to editors:

Trail of Light:
North Pennines AONB Partnership

Timelapse dark sky footage from the North Pennines, where the low levels of light pollution allow the light of the cosmos to shine through
Auckland Castle Trust
Zurbarán’s Jacob, and a chance to find out more about the Bishop Auckland project
Durham Cathedral and Open Treasure
Treasure Boxes, handling collection of objects and artefacts used by Durham Cathedral’s education team; stonemason demonstrations by the cathedral’s stonemason; video telling the story of the life of St Cuthbert in LEGO; and an illuminated model of Durham Cathedral created by the Young Curators (aged 11 – 16) and artist Mick Stevenson who created Litre of Light for Lumiere 2015
Open Treasure – Durham Cathedral’s new world-class visitor experience, located at the heart of the most intact surviving set of medieval monastic buildings in the UK. Journey through these historic spaces, including the fourteenth-century Monks’ Dormitory and the stunning Great Kitchen, and discover 2,000 years of history as the remarkable story of Durham Cathedral and its incredible collections is revealed
Future Business Magnates - Durham Johnston School
Members of the team showcased their product and talked about their Future Business Magnates’ experience
The Noctura 400 Sleep Mask, a light-based treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Oedema, which are serious complications of diabetes and are the principal causes of blindness in adults of working age in the western world
Durham University - Institute for Computational Cosmology
Universe Creator – guests were invited to become a cosmologist and experiment with changing the ingredients of the Universe. By varying the amount of dark matter and the mixture of high and low mass stars, guests found out out how close their computer-generated universe is to the real thing
Tour the Cosmos - a virtual reality tour of the EAGLE simulation, seeing what the universe would look like if you could see dark matter and how the stars and gas in the universe are related to the distribution of dark matter
‘Planet’ by artist Stuart Langley
LIGHT by artist Mick Stephenson

Both artists, who work with light, have been part of the Lumiere Durham BRILLIANT programme
A Cloister corridor was lit up by sister company, acdc, which saw the arches illuminated - and guests saw for themselves some of Thorn’s innovative lighting products featured on their three display stands 
Produced by arts charity, Artichoke, the first Lumiere light festival took place in Durham in 2009 as a one-off. It was so successful that it has returned every other year since. Guests visited the Lumiere Durham stand to find out about the newly-launched fifth edition of the festival, which will take place 16-19 November 2017

About Visit County Durham


  • Visit County Durham (VCD) is the Destination Management Organisation for County Durham working on behalf of businesses and public agencies. We came into being on 1 April 2006 and are a private, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, with a board of directors.
  • The company’s main funder is Durham County Council. The private sector also contributes financially to our work in return for benefits and activities that meet their needs.
  • Visit County Durham assists the county to fulfil its potential as one of North East England’s lead destinations, attracting visitors to the region from across the UK and from target overseas markets. Its objective is to ensure that the tourism sector performs to its maximum capacity and brings economic benefits to the county in the form of wealth and job creation. Its broad aims are to attract people to the area and to provide visitors with the best possible experience.

Published: 18, November, 2016

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