The Challenge is a talent promotion project in the form of a speaker competition for young designers in four rounds. Participants can be students or recent graduates embarking on a career as a lighting designer. The goal of the programme is to activate more students and recent graduates from more schools to interact with each other, learn from each other and from experienced professionals, and become a more accepted part of the lighting design community.
The Challenge is designed to develop presentation skills and structured thinking, to boost young designers’ confidence, and to integrate more practising professionals into educational efforts.
Through The Challenge we set out to find new young and inspired presenters. The lighting professionals of tomorrow – who experienced lighting designers today can learn from … and vice versa.


Round I (April 2016) Digital

Following a call for topics at universities in different countries, a panel of experts from the respective universities selected 15 students (topics)
to continue to the next round. The universities accepted submissions from current students or students graduating
in the next 18 months (up to October 2017).

Round II (June/July 2016) Digital

This involves the groups of 15 students from the different universities in Round I – on film. Students were requested to film a three-minute
“elevator pitch” to convince a jury of six lighting professionals. The professionals evaluated all the films submitted by the universities and selected
the best 18 students to go through to the next round (6 coaches à 3 students each).

Round III (February 2017) Live

A mini-conference was be held in London at Brunel University.
The 18 winners from Round II will each presented a 20-minute paper on their topic. Each coach decided who he/she wanted to take to
the final – Round IV at PLDC 2017. The mini-conference included professional papers given by the coaches,
an opportunity for a specific number of early career researchers to present their ongoing research, and a students’ critical debate.

Round IV (October 2017) Live

The best six were prepared for PLDC 2017 by their individual coaches. An independent jury decided on the best presenter of the
six at PLDC 2017: Zhuofei Ren/CN, coached by Paul Traynor/UK.