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This talk introduces the Configuring Light/Staging the Social project, a multidisciplinary research programme of social science interventions into the configuration of light.
Being both critical material and infrastructure for social life, light is registered across a range of urgent contemporary concerns such as environmental issues, health and wellbeing, technological innovation and creative industries, urban planning and regulation as well as aesthetics and heritage. Despite this centrality, light is relatively invisible in social research. Focussing on light as one of the most fundamental features of social life, Configuring Light/Staging the Social aims at forging an integral dialogue between social sciences, design, architecture and urban planning by developing a range of interlinked projects that explore the ways in which light as both material and lived practice is configured into built environments – and with what consequences.
Don Slater is associate professor (Reader) at LSE Sociology and works with Mona Sloane and Joanne Entwistle (Kings Colledge London) on the Configuring Light Programme at LSE Sociology. His research focuses include the relation between culture and economy, ethnographies of new media and digital culture in the third world, and visual culture. Within Configuring Light, he draws on actor-network theory and material culture studies to investigate how light, as a material, is configured into social, technical and spatial forms. He is currently developing a comparative research project on urban lighting in the Global South.
Mona Sloane works on the Configuring Light/Staging the Social research programme as programme manager and researcher. Based at LSE Sociology, she develops new projects for Configuring Light and runs the programme’s wide range of activities. She is also a PhD candidate in LSE Sociology where she holds an LSE scholarship and works and publishes on the sociology of design and urban planning, material culture and aesthetics and economic sociology. Mona holds an MSc in Sociology from the LSE and has a background in communication and cultural management.