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Light Privilege

BSA Symposium Concept refresh opt 2 5 01

Graphic By: Horton Iconic Designs

  • COST

    Free for BSA and BosNOMA members, $20 nonmembers

  • TYPE





    1.5 LU HSW AIA credits available

This event is part of Intersections: Equity, Environment + the City, a multi-day symposium November 6–13, 2021 brought to you by BosNOMA and Women in Design on intersectional and participatory design processes in Boston. View the full symposium schedule here.

About the Session

Everyone deserves good lighting and benevolent darkness. Well-designed, high-quality lighting is a signifier of prosperity, power, and privilege. It is visually appealing, environmentally responsible, and socially beneficial. Good lighting is a long-term investment in the acceptance, performance, and value of a place or building. However, there is an imbalance and inequity in the standard approach to planning, design, engineering, procurement, and installation of lighting systems. Most of the lighting industry's time, talent, and technology goes to affluent, privileged, and powerful clients, not to the benefit of everyone.

Marginalized communities generally suffer from poor lighting, which is visually distressing, environmentally harmful, and socially hostile. Over lighting is an environmental justice issue. The obvious indicators are indiscriminate light distribution, uncontrolled glare, poor color quality, visual chaos, and the obvious lack of intentional lighting design or illumination engineering. Under-resourced communities do not have access to our expertise, knowledge, and products. Bad, unjust lighting – especially outdoor lighting in the public realm – is indicative of infrastructural racism rooted in the historic redlining and economic oppression of Black and non-white communities. It is an aspect of institutionalized discrimination and negligence.

Using our understanding of the science of human-centric light combined with rapidly advancing lighting technologies provides an opportunity to create a new approach to lighting undeserved communities. Insights into how color rendering, visual acuity, and circadian sensitivity are linked to municipal lighting standards and safety measures can inform how we can design better illuminated environments for people and natural environments.

With many years of combined experience in lighting design, lighting design education, and utility energy-efficiency program management, presenters Dandridge, Bartholomew, and Albert represent lighting firms and institutions in Boston and Los Angeles. Their exploration of lighting and its role in our communities comes from various backgrounds and experiences and is informed by lighting the spaces that people live, work, and play the world over.


Edward Bartholomew IALD LC LEED AP IES
Principal, Bartholomew Lighting

Edward Bartholomew is the principal of Bartholomew Lighting, a Black-owned lighting design consultancy based in Cambridge, MA. He has more than thirty years of experience designing sustainable, inspiring, and award-winning architectural lighting systems.

Edward has been an invited speaker on lighting technology, energy efficiency strategies, and social justice at regional, national, and international conferences. Edward will be co-presenting “Light + Justice” with Mark Loeffler at LightFair 2021. This fall, he will co-teach a graduate lighting class at Morgan State University, the first HBCU to ever receive a Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education grant. And this fall, he will also be co-hosting a podcast called “Contrast Ratios” which will explore the intersection of lighting and social issues.

Edward has an MFA in Architectural Lighting Design (1995) from Parsons School of Design. He is a professional member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He currently serves on the IES Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Respect (DIER) committee, DLC Industry Advisory Council. In addition, Edward is a founding member of Black Underrepresentation In Lighting & Design (BUILD up) a group dedicated to supporting, diversity and inclusion in the lighting industry.

Lauren Dandridge LC IES
Principal, Chromatic

Lauren Dandridge is a 17 year veteran in the lighting industry with a portfolio of award winning projects across the country. She is principal of Chromatic, a lighting design firm that promotes lighting quality and equality for all communities while pursuing intelligent and beautiful design. Lauren is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California where she teaches Architectural Lighting Design. Her students have gone on to successful lighting careers in prominent lighting design firms across the country. She is a board member of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, an associate member of NOMA, and regularly provides lighting lectures for local design schools and CEU presentations for architectural firms.

Nick Albert
Principal, Chromatic

Nick Albert is a twenty-year veteran of the lighting, architecture and construction industries with a portfolio of hundreds of built works across the globe and awards and recognition in both the US and International Lighting communities. Nick was most recently the US Director of Lighting Design for HBA - Hirsch Bedner Associates, Inc the world’s largest hospitality design firm leading teams across multiple offices for projects across all market segments. Nick teaches lighting design at UCLA Extension, guest lectures at USC, is a public speaker and has published numerous articles on light and lighting design and serves on various advisory boards.