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Lighting the way: How Durham County Council used Causeway to help manage the UK’s light art biennial



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Durham County Council light art biennial

About Durham, Artichoke and Lumiere

Durham County Council (DCC) is responsible for overseeing numerous large, exciting events to bolster cultural revitalization and the growth of the visitor economy.

These encompass the Bishop Auckland and Seaham Food Festivals, the Durham City Run, and Lumiere, the US’s light art biennial that has drawn over 1 million visitors since 2009.

Initiated by prominent UK arts producers, Artichoke, the Lumiere event engages national and internationally acclaimed artists to reinterpret familiar structures and public areas through the use of light.

The Challenge

light show at night

While beautiful and memorable, Lumiere has the potential to create widespread disruption on the roads in and around Durham City.

The event is attended not only by Durham residents but also by people from across the UK. Therefore, managing traffic and parking is a real challenge.

Moreover, with such a sizable turnout, DCC typically deals with a high volume of inbound messages from the public inquiring about the event – especially transportation and highway-related questions.

In 2021, with the addition of Covid-19 measures adding another layer to the organization of the event, DCC recognized that Lumiere would require even more diligent planning and coordination to minimize disruption and ensure residents and visitors had access to all the information they needed about the festival.

The Solution

DCC has been using Causeway since 2019 to assist in mapping and coordinating highway projects and closures. Then, in 2021, Durham implemented our Events module to aid in planning and overseeing the Lumiere event.</p

We collaborated with the council to develop and integrate a specialized, user-friendly map on the DCC website that specifically centered on the Lumiere-related events affecting the highway network.

The event map included road and path closures, detours, pick-up and drop-off points, the train station, bus stops, and parking areas, as well as points of interest.

Having all this info easily accessible in one view on the DCC website gave visitors and residents alike a single, up-to-date, and authoritative source of info.

The Results

Being able to communicate with residents and visitors more effectively meant Durham was able to manage detours and closures easily, minimizing disruption on the roads surrounding the Lumiere event.

Furthermore, DCC identified a reduction in public inquiries compared to prior years, saving time and allowing staff to concentrate on other crucial tasks.

The council also observed that visits to the DCC website doubled leading up to the event after integrating the Causeway Events module. This occurred as members of the public could self-serve by finding the information they needed on the map hosted on the DCC website.

For the queries Durham still received from the public, staff were able to quickly direct people to the map and help people find answers to their questions. Similarly, the time taken to process, respond, and resolve queries was reduced, once again freeing up staff time.

The team at DCC was thrilled with the success of the event and how smoothly it ran, and now uses the platform to coordinate other public events across County Durham. In fact, planning for Lumiere 2023 is already underway!

Key Outcomes:

  • Minimized disruption on surrounding roads with effective communication.
  • Decreased query response time, freeing up time for the council.
  • Reduced inbound inquiries from the public regarding the Lumiere event.
  • Doubled website visits by allowing the public to self-serve information.

Get in touch to learn how Causeway can help transform your event planning process and ensure the success of your upcoming events.