Arts Derbyshire

Artist profile

Heidi Luker

I am a freelance Sculptural Artist , Costume & Set Designer and Creative Arts Practitioner and motivated by inspiring projects that explore & interpret heritage, social, cultural and heritage themes & untold stories.

I studied Fine Art Sculpture at Manchester and later Theatre Design at Nottingham Trent University in 1993. Drawing from my skills as a designer and sculptural artist, I work with arts organisations, events and funding bodies to devise and/or  deliver public participation art projects, from sculptural installations, community engagement creative workshops to designing performance events, including lead designer for This is Derby Outside Celebration and Community Procession. 2019, with Walk the Plank/Derby Community Trust and pop-up dance performances with LEVEL, learning disabled organisation.

In 2022, I was in successful in writing an application for Arts Council England/National Lottery funding, to work collaboratively with local artist Lise Bennett, on a R&D Project, Ambergate Wireworks – They Part They Played. A co-production with Derby Museum of Making and residency in the wireworks, it explored through an immersive interactive sculptural installation of small wire sculptures and a soundscape of recorded interviews with ex-workers and their families, the lasting impact their manufactured wire had on the world from communication technology, warfare to engineering.  The project also aimed to improve community cohesion in Ambergate, through a series of public engagement wire sculpting workshops and story sharing sessions. We worked in partnership with local primary schools, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Derby Museum of Making, White Peak Distillery, Ambergate Church and Ambergate Carnival.

This follows two heritage commissions by Beam and Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Sites, as part of the Creative Great Places Scheme, funded by Arts Council England & The National Heritage Lottery, first with pop-up event, Through the Keyhole and (during the  Lockdown), The London Mothers for which I researched, scripted, produced & directed , a short play exploring the hidden heritage of Willerlsey Castle, Cromford as a WWII maternity unit, inspired by material from interviews with ‘Willersley Babies’ and nursing staff, online archives, social media callouts, shared letters and photos. Moving background film projections were created by merging original 1940’s black and white postcards of the castle grounds. The play was filmed on stage at Derby Theatre Studio in partnership with Derby University and available on YouTube. The research is available to read on the Derwent Valley Mills Site.

Living on the edge of the Derwent Valley it’s hard not to be inspired by its rich heritage especially as lead artist and coordinator for the Through the Windows hanging installation that was part of The Craft Project. It’s aim was to embed the museum into the community and it won the Derbyshire Heritage Award for Reaching New Audiences. Working with community groups and schools, we explored the photo archive of mill workers for Belper North Mill Museum by sewing individual figures into printed window frames. The finished artwork became a permanent exhibit until the recent closure of the museum.

As a costume and set designer and sculptural artist, I’m a long-term collaborator with award winning and Birmingham based, African Contemporary company, Keneish Dance, currently designing R & D piece, Balance, exploring cell regeneration with Warwick University. Recent work with other companies includes Here, There, Everywhere, with SID, Shropshire Inclusive Dance, Sonic Lullaby Cradle for Manasamitra, premiering at the Sage, Newcastle and costumes for dance productions, Forest of Dreams with Indian Kuchipudi choreographer  & dancer, Payal Ramchandani that looks at de-forestation in India as well as women’s mental health in Just Enough Madness, R & D production.

Creative Genre

  • Theatre Design. Sculptural Installation. Community Arts Heritage - Exploring hidden stories through art, oral sharing and writing.

Work Undertaken

  • Set and Costume Design
  • Prop Making for dance
  • theatre and community events/festivals. As a Creative Arts Practitioner/Sculptural Artist I am open to collaborative and socially engaged projects that enable participants to have fun
  • relax and more than anything have a go! I work with all ages and abilities. Activities include: sculptural making
  • public art stone carving projects with young people
  • wire sculpting
  • clay hand building
  • drawing
  • fabric surface decoration and block printing
  • costume design workshops.

Work in Education

  • Art Galleries
  • Behaviour support and Youth Offending Service
  • Theatre Education Departments such as Buxton Opera House and Regents Theatre
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Museums ( I am a freelance family learning arts facilitator at Derby Museums Trust) and schools


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