Uni introduces lighting design MA

Edinburgh Napier University has introduced an architectural lighting design masters course.

The programme, which will begin in September, is available as a full time or part time course.

The course will be headed by lighting designer Malcolm Innes and is strongly guided by the art and design element rather than the science, says the university. Students will have the option to pursue an MA or MDes, depending on whether they undertake a dissertation or design project report, respectively.

The programme will focus on the use of light within the built environment and the technical and creative aspects of light art. Leading professionals working in the industry will be offering their expertise.

Iain Macrae, applications chief at Thorn Lighting and president elect of the Society of Light and Lighting, said: ‘It is true to say that the profession of lighting includes a wide variety of disciplines from art to science and biology to physics.

‘The problem with this profession is the distinct lack of further and higher education to support those that wish to become specialists in lighting. I look forward to seeing [Edinburgh] Napier produce quality lighting designers that can join our profession with little need for initial training.’

The course has gathered support from influential lighting educators and design professionals around the world. Former president of the Illuminating Engineering Society and long term lighting educator at Texas Christian University Fred Oberkircher said: ‘I fully support the efforts [of Napier] and would like to offer some informational support from the other side of the pond.’

Alison Ritter, head of education concepts and programmes for VIA Publishing, said: ‘Lighting design is a profession that bears a huge responsibility towards the human race.

‘It is not purely artistic, nor is it only based on numbers. But whoever designs with light needs to understand all aspects and implications of it and a masters degree programme of the kind Edinburgh Napier University is looking to establish is an excellent start.’

Professional lighting designers have been aware of the need for design based education and training for a number of years. Laura Phillips, associate at Happold Lighting Group, said: ‘Architectural lighting has grown rapidly over the last 10 years as a profession and there is a high demand in Scotland, the UK and internationally for graduates with good technical and strong design skills in lighting.’

The programme will be led by Malcolm Innes, a professional lighting designer and light artist with over 19 years’ experience. He has six years’ experience lecturing at degree and postgraduate level and continues to pursue his own light art and design practice.

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