Women in Lighting

“When we talk about women in design, we should not turn it into a minority issue. We need to honour our heroines because unless they are visible, we will not encourage the next generation of female designers.” Ilsa Crawford

International lighting designers and light activists, Light Collective are pleased to announce a new project – Women in Lighting.  Aiming to launch on International Women’s Day in 2019, it is a celebratory project that will set out to create an inspirational digital platform for women working in the architectural lighting industry to promote their passion and achievements, narrate their career path and goals, celebrate their work and elevate their profile in the lighting community.

It will look to gather statistics and answer the call to action issued by Interior Designer, Ilse Crawford but specifically for the lighting profession – how can we increase the profile of successful women working in lighting to help encourage the next generation?  How can those who are established best support them?

The Women in Lighting website has a database of interviews with women from around the world.  Starting with lighting designers, the scope will expand to include women in all aspects of lighting – education, journalism, manufacturing, art and research.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is Balance for Better – a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. This is completely in line with one of the outcomes of Women In Lighting. We have been looking at the figure of female participation in conferences, committees, juries and panels and it is evident that women are under represented.  Our main aim is that as there are approximately 50% of female lighting designers, they get 50% visibility.

The project launch is being supported by formalighting, a family owned lighting manufacturer with over 50 years and 2 generations dedicated to architectural lighting.  Light Collective approached formalighting with this project as they are a company with a strong inspirational women in a lead role – Sharon Maghnagi. 

Sharon is personally involved in the project, invested in the outcome and she said “We were touched and delighted to be offered this opportunity by Light Collective to support an initiative that could inspire or welcome a new generation into lighting.  Ultimately, it always comes down to the work – promoting the work.  That’s what we find truly inspiring and I think any woman or man in the lighting community would appreciate a new professional network that welcomes a global exchange of passion and creativity.“

The project has already gathered support from individual female designers in almost 50 different countries.  These “ambassadors” are a point of contact in each location for other women seeking to find out more about the project.  The site will launch with over 30 interviews recorded by Light Collective and will then open for other women to upload their own interviews.   Light Collective are also being actively supported by social media guru and upcoming lighting designer, Katia Kolovea of Archifos.

Project co-founder, Sharon Stammers from Light Collective said, “Having been involved in lighting design from the very beginning, women have had a greater role in shaping the lighting design profession than in architecture and engineering.  The lighting design profession is a supportive industry for women and the many routes into the profession offer opportunities from a diverse set of backgrounds.  It is an industry that is good at sharing information amongst its community and can therefore offer support to other women who may need it.  We want to create role models, redress the balance and encourage women to choose to work in lighting or other related jobs”.

Women in Lighting is not about gender inequality but about inclusivity and how this is beneficial to the profession as a whole. If you want to get involved please contact the team at hello@womeninlighting.com

About Light Collective:

Light Collective consists of Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton who have both been involved in the lighting industry for over 20 years. Based in the UK and essentially architectural lighting designers, their portfolio of work has diversified in many different directions – light activism being one of them.

About formalighting:

Forma Lighting is a leading manufacturer of architectural lighting fixtures. The Italian family-run business still conveys the importance of integrity and personal service within its business culture. Forma Lighting develops unique relationships with lighting designers, architects, distributors, project managers and suppliers.

Founded in the 1960s, spearheaded by a personable founding partner, Lorenzo Maghnagi, and managed today together with his daughter Sharon Maghnagi – the company’s passion for Italian design and lighting is embedded in Forma Lighting’s DNA.

The company was one of the first European lighting companies to open its own, wholly managed ISO-certified factory in China by the late 1990s, and in recent years, was one of the first lighting companies to incorporate dynamic beam-shaping technology and IoT-compatible sensors into its Italian-designed motorized architectural lighting fixtures.

For more information, visit www.formalighting.com.

Having embraced the evolution of architectural lighting, formalighting has great respect for lighting professionals who continue to execute and visualise their desired lighting strategies and designs using the engineering innovations and technologies available today.


Timed to coincide with the celebrations of International Women’s Day on 8 March, Light Collective has announced the official launch of the Women in Lighting website.  Initially featuring 15 interviews with lighting designers in Sweden, Holland and Spain more will be added as the site expands and grows.  In the future, there will also be a function for Women in Lighting anywhere to add their own interviews. 

“The initial response to the project has been amazingly positive”, says project co-founder Sharon Stammers, “with 56 women stepping forward to represent the project in the country where they work.  The reach of the project has already far outstripped our expectations and its amazing to see this global network of women connecting with each other.”

Women in Lighting co-founder, Martin Lupton continued, “We started this project based on a mistake we made during The Perfect Light film. We interviewed 4 women and 19 men. This isn’t representative of the industry and we should have exercised balance.  Our initial research shows that, despite their being approximately 50% female designers in lighting design globally, they are not represented at that figure on committees, juries, curatorial panels and as speakers and keynotes at conferences.  We think that should change.”

The Light Review says: this mea culpa from Martin is a rare and welcome admission of how women are ‘not seen’ throughout the lighting industry. And while the status of women in the design community is a healthy one, representation in the rest of the industry – manufacturers and suppliers in particular – is woeful.

If any women want to get involved, and help raise the awhareness of the project launch, the Women in Lighting team would like you to post a  colour photo of yourself working with light on social media and add the hashtags #iamawomenoflight and also the official IWD2019 hashtag of #BalanceforBetter and also tag them in with @womeninlighting.

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John Bullock is the editor of The Light Review

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