‘Light Years’ Celebrates 30 Years of MFA Lighting Design

This year marks three decades since the first Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design students graduated from Parsons School of Design. In that time, Parsons students and faculty have worked to integrate daylight into built environments, create lighting designs that are climate friendly, and bring quality illumination to power-starved communities throughout the world.

“In lighting design, the designer has taken on an increasingly prominent role in confronting pressing social issues,” says Glenn Shrum, director of MFA Lighting Design. “This is especially true of our program, which is leading the charge to design a better future through lighting design.”

Faculty, students, and alumni of the MFA in Lighting Design will celebrate the program’s 30-year milestone with an event, Light Years: 1985-2015-2045, on Thursday, October 22, 2-8 p.m. at the University Center’s John L. Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Ave. In this public event, Elizabeth Donoff, editor-in-chief of Architectural Lighting and Victor Palacio, president-elect of the International Association of Lighting Designers will join Shrum to discuss changes in lighting technology, the socio-cultural conditions impacting the field, and the status of the lighting design profession over the last 30 years.

As the first program of its type in the world, the MFA Lighting Design program has been an innovative force in the field of lighting design. Highlights of this effort include Spot the Change, an immersive light art installation design by students and faculty for the Light + Building in Frankfurt, Germany, as well as socially engaged design projects, including initiatives by Associate Professor of Lighting Design Dr. Craig Bernecker and Part-Time Associate Teaching Professor Nathalie Rozot to bring quality illuminations to communities in Senegal and Haiti, respectively.

“Good lighting makes for better buildings, better cities, and more productive people and businesses,” Shrum says. “By advancing the discipline, lighting designers have been able to more consistently realize those goals.”

Shrum added that the MFA in Lighting Design prepares students to tackle design challenges through a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses architecture, interior design and product design.

Light Years: 1985-2015-2045 coincides with the International Year of Light, a UNESCO initiative that raises global awareness about light-based technologies’ ability to promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture, and health.

To RSVP to the event, visit the Light Years event page.