One of the pre-convention meetings to PLDC 2011 in Madrid was the Educators’ Knowledge Transfer Session. “Educators`meetings and forums and panel discussions have taken place in the past. They were good and promising, but I wanted to encourage educators to come to concrete conclusions and steps,” Alison Ritter explains.

The educators who signed up for the Educators’ Knowledge Transfer Session were invited to  present a Teaching Module which they found to be especially effective in helping students to learn or become aware of specific learning content: e-learning formats, model-making, team project work, practical lighting tasks, bibliographic resources, demonstration activities, study tasks, excursions, instructional scaffolding, graphic organisers, etc. The presentations were limited to around five minutes.

Educators who contributed were (in alphabetical order):

– Deborah Burnett/USA, who demonstrated how she uses her bracelets to demonstrate the mechanics of DNA activity;

– Kit Cuttle/NZ on “Ambient Illumination: a Thought Experiment”;

– Phil Gabriel/CDN mentioned as a place to find schools of lighting design;

– Stefan Graf/USA shared information about the lighting basics courses he teaches to students of architecture and interior design who have no interest in becoming lighting designers;

– Marcel Justin from Schreder/B on how a manufacturer approaches training courses;

– Ben Ratcliffe/UK on how Rose Bruford College approaches teaching students theory and practice;

– Are Roysamb/N, who presented the Lighting Design Bachelor course in Drammen/N;

– Monica Sater/S on the education concept she developed for Jönköping/S;

– Thomas Schielke/D on “Learning Light and Identity”.

By 17. October there were 24 persons registered for the session. On the day over 30 more turned up! Most of them teachers, but also a number of PhD candidates interested in teaching and some committed colleagues from the lighting industry, who came from many different parts of Europe, but some from even further away: New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, China, Thailand, Brazil,  Argentina, Chile and the USA. This shows two things: teachers do not necessarily read emails and register on time (!), and there is immense interest in getting together and learning from each other. Alison Ritter’s first comment when opening the session was: “Next time we need to plan in a whole weekend!” True, detailed discussions were not possible in a room with 60 people. There was no time to focus on topics on the original agenda, such as coordinating learning programmes, defining a lighting designer’s scope of work and creating a core body of knowledge to support that qualification, educating more educators, and positioning the lighting design profession on the market. But there is a need to meet, to inform, and to be informed.

With the possibility of legislation in the EU that will require the certification of lighting designers – this is already happening in China – and the lessons that can be learnt from colleagues in the USA from their LC programme, the importance of finding platforms to share know-how will doubtless grow.