The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) is collaborating with the Configuring Light programme based at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Social Light Movement (SLM) and lighting manufacturer iGuzzini to host a four day lighting design and social research workshop for GUtech students entitled “Urban Lightscapes/Social Nightscapes Muscat”. This workshop will run 25-29 April and train the students in social research methods and lighting design to help improve the lighting at Souq Seeb. The students will produce new lighting designs for Souq Seeb which will be presented to the public at the GUtech research hall this Thursday at 4 pm.
This project is part of the “Urban Lightscapes/Social Nightscapes” international workshop series of the Configuring Light programme. These workshops are organised with support from iGuzzini to explore and build expertise in social research in lighting design and work with actual public realm spaces in different locations, from London to Muscat and Sydney.
“We are pleased to collaborate with LSE for this special lighting workshop here at GUtech. Experts in light design and social research will provide our students with theoretical and practical knowledge about the use of lighting and its effects on public life here in Oman,” said Dr. Jürgen Werner, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech. “We are very excited to take our workshop series to Oman and work with GUtech on questions around public space, social research and lighting design” added Dr Don Slater, co-founder of the Configuring Light programme and assistant professor at LSE Sociology.
With its bright and intense sunlight during the day and where a significant part of social life takes place after dusk, light has a traditionally importance for social life in Oman. “Light plays a prominent role in various processes of infrastructural intervention and social research can play a crucial role in analysing the current lighting situation in cities, while incorporating the cultural-specific role of lighting and its technological changes,” said Alexander Kader, Head of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech who has collaborated with the LSE team to organise the workshop, alongside Frank Eisenmann.
In line with Configuring Light’s broader research agenda, the aim of the joint GUtech-LSE workshop is to explore and understand the lighting of social spaces in Muscat through social research. This will form the basis for the new lighting designs which will be developed by students in the workshop. Through lighting mock-ups with iGuzzini fixtures, GUtech students will have the opportunity to try their lighting design ideas on-site. “As an ideal location to analyse the social fabric we have identified Souq Seeb, a popular place among the local Omani and expatriate community,” said Kader.
The workshop will help 4th semester students get practical expertise in social research and lighting design and help them understand light as a fundamental aspect of modern urban life and public space.
The “Urban Lightscapes/Social Nightscapes” workshop series are a project of the Configuring Light/Staging the Social LSE-based research programme and are run as a collaboration between iGuzzini and Dr Elettra Bordonaro (SLM). Configuring Light/Staging the Social explores the role lighting plays in our everyday life to help build a better social knowledge basis for lighting design interventions. It was founded in 2012 by the sociologists Dr Joanne Entwistle (King’s College London), Dr Don Slater and Mona Sloane (both LSE) and is supported by the LSE and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Past and current collaborators of Configuring Light include Ove Arup, Derby City Council, Speirs+Major, Lend Lease, the Wellcome Collection and the London Science Museum.
The “Urban Lightscapes/Social Nightscapes Muscat” workshop was initiated and is led by Mona Sloane and Dr Elettra Bordonaro together with Dr Don Slater and Isabelle Corten (SLM) and in collaboration with Alexander Kader of the GUtech UPAD Department.
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