Question for historic venues: do you have bats?

With one month to go before Museums at Night weekend, I’m delighted to see that we’ve now got well over 200 events registered in the database – 232 as of this afternoon! This, coupled with the sudden promotion of the Seagulls (Brighton & Hove Albion) to the Championship, is cause for much joy in the Culture24 office – we’re feasting on chocolate in celebration.

We’ve had an interesting question from Kate James from Durham County Council. I’ve agreed to share it through this blog, as I know many of you are from heritage sites and historic structures and some of you may have experience of dealing with bats! Can anyone help Kate, as she tries to coordinate a city-centre event without disturbing these protected nocturnal creatures?

They're cute, but they can also affect your plans for night-time activities! Photo courtesy of Flickr user chimothy27, under a Creative Commons licence

My name is Kate James and I’m the creative planner for the festival programme in Durham, which amongst other events includes ‘Lumiere’, a biennial four day light festival which takes place across the city.

Since the 2009 festival there has been a major bat survey undertaken in Durham, which has confirmed a significant presence in the city, particularly in and around the Cathedral.  This could have a major impact on many cultural and day-to-day activities, as disturbing bats is a criminal offence which carries heavy fines.

I’m looking for any case studies of similar activities in venues/areas with bat colonies which may help us to find a workable solution: to both protect the bats and ensure that the cultural programme can continue in its full glory!

I’d be most grateful if anyone has come up against a similar issue and can offer any advice.

Kate James, Creative Planner Festival Durham

You can contact Kate on 0191 370 8667, email, or find out more about their work at

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