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PLD-C 2017 Lighting Educators' Meeting

SLL Coordinator, Juliet Rennie reports on the PLD-C 2017 Lighting Educators' Meeting

I was delighted to have been given the opportunity to attend PLD-C in Paris from 1-4 November 2017. Arriving on Wednesday, I quickly made my way to the Palais de Congress in order to attend the Educator’s Meeting, prior to the official start of the conference on Thursday.

The meeting was chaired by Malcolm Innes MSLL and Alison Ritter, who began with a discussion on work carried out and achieved by the Think/Do Tank in relation to the lighting profession and lighting education. The Think/Do Tank have met regularly since June 2015 with the prime focus of continuing the process to gain professional recognition for Lighting Design as a profession, initially at EU level but ultimately internationally.

Following this discussion, attendees were invited to introduce themselves and any relevant work or topics that they are currently involved in. It quickly became clear that this was a meeting of some of the most passionate advocates of lighting education and it was a real pleasure to get to listen to their ideas and take part in the discussion. Some of the initial topics that were discussed included providing lighting educators with more opportunities to gather and share ideas on teaching methodology, as well as the inclusion of creative thinking as part of the academic programme.

Following these introductions, Dr Natasya Bystryantseva from The Higher School of Lighting Design at ITMO University in St. Petersburg delivered her presentation, Education that Breaks down Barriers. Dr Bystryantseva focused on the use of art and science to predict the challenges of the future and as a way to integrate the analytical tools to create lighting design concepts. She also discussed the possibility of forming a universal algorithm to create a unique specialism. This was in relation to educational approach and providing the optimum tools for the generation of ideas.

From there, the discussion led to a potential need to rethink the language that we use, with the suggestion that it might be time for the lighting industry to form its own nomenclature for the application and visual effect of light. There were mixed opinions about the invention of new words or phraseology but agreement that there was a need to eliminate cliché and reclaim certain parts of language to adequately describe the art and science of lighting.

This then led to an idea which Malcolm Innes of Napier University and Emre Güneş had discussed that morning over breakfast. They suggested that we should be working towards the development of an online resource, which operates on a similar model to TED, gathering lighting content together on one platform. Educators could then curate the content to suit the needs of their individual students, depending on their area of research.

They suggested that ideally, the funding would need to come from lighting manufacturers, with the hope that more accessible lighting education is beneficial for all involved within the industry. This platform would in no way be designed to compete with face to face learning but rather to create more opportunities for people to start their own lighting courses internationally, particularly in regions where there are few or no lighting programs at the moment.

Overall, the Educator’s Meeting provided an excellent opportunity to hear about work being done internationally to further and improve lighting education, as well as sharing some of the ideas discussed within the Society’s Education and Membership committee.