Light is fundamental to our lives.
All social life happens in some degree of light and darkness. Light structures the kinds of social practices and interactions we enter into at home or on the street, how safe we feel and how well we can navigate through social spaces. Today, fuelled by new technologies and urgent social and environmental concerns, light is increasingly taking centre stage in many urban discussions, especially around economic and environmental costs, safety and well-being, aesthetics and city branding. And yet, despite this centrality, there is very little knowledge and research on what lighting means to people and how they incorporate it into their daily lives and practices. And even less on how lighting designers can build social knowledges to inform their professional practices.
Configuring Light/Staging the Social is an interdisciplinary research programme based in the Sociology Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). It explores the role lighting plays in our everyday life to help build a better social knowledge basis for lighting design interventions. It has centred on collaborations with designers, developers and municipalities including LUCI, Ove Arup, Derby City Council, Speirs+Major, Lend Lease, Social Light Movement, Light Collective and LightFollowsBehaviour.
All Configuring Light projects explore how lighting is configured into social life: as infrastructure, as technology, as ambiance or as a particular kind of material that we make and shape through our everyday practices and professional expertise. Configuring Light is committed to developing an empirically grounded social understanding that can work across diverse disciplines and professional practices. To this end, our projects are diverse, including academic research, consultancies, public engagement and knowledge exchange projects.