Lighting workshop at London’s Acland Burghley comprehensive school a great success

We kicked off our series of six international light workshops in collaboration with iGuzzini-funded LSE Visiting Fellow Dr Elettra Bordonaro at Acland Burghley comprehensive school on 26th January 2016. The workshop culminated in a public lighting event on 27th January from 6.30-8.30pm at Acland Burghley comprehensive school. The Configuring Light team had already been working with the children to find out how they use the exterior spaces of the playground which is part of a much wider redesign of the school ‘Acland Burghley Better Spaces’ (ABBS). It was very exciting to begin our international workshop series here in our hometown London and with young and enthusiastic workshop participants such as secondary school children who had lots of interesting questions around lighting and public space. Indeed, they are immensely creative and resourceful. The workshop engaged 25 pupils from all ages across the school to think about the school’s external spaces and gave them opportunities to play with different light fixtures supplied by iGuzzini. It enabled them to explore the power of light to change the look and feel of public spaces. Their experiments with iGuzzini lighting fixtures helped to demonstrate the effectiveness of light in transforming the school and set the stage for a public event on 27th January from 6.30pm which comprised a laser show by Urban Electric at 7.00pm with international lighting company Urban Electric and the ‘switch on’ will be by local Homeland and Wolf Hall actor and dad Damian Lewis. It was the first of a series of celebrations to mark the school’s 50th birthday. The event itself got a considerable amount of local and national attention from the press because of Lewis’ attendance, seen by some as controversial. However, we hope that the lasting impact of the workshop and event will be an enduring interest from the pupils to think creatively about light and the ways it can improve the school environment and image. The Acland Burghley workshop is part of Dr Elettra Bordonaro’s 2-year LSE visiting fellowship with the LSE Sociology Department, funded by the Italian lighting manufacturer iGuzzini. During the fellowship, Configuring Light and Dr Elettra Bordonaro are hosting a series of six workshops across the globe – from Muscat, Oman, to Sydney, Australia – to explore and build expertise in social research in lighting design. Every workshop works with actual public realm spaces to see how social research can be integrated in design processes, and how design engagements can impact social research methodologies.