The Challenge 2016/2017
Our student and young designer speaker competition The Challenge gives young lighting talents the opportunity to learn from exemplary professionals, develop their skills as international presenters, and have the chance to speak in front of an international audience – and win a money prize.
Get the point?!
The goal of this 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.
The objective is not to generate stress or negative rivalry, but rather to create action and excitement – to interest Lighting Design students and recent graduates and put more of them, and their schools, “on the map”.
Round I (April 2016) Digital
Call for topics at universities in different countries, no limit to submissions.
A panel of experts from the respective universities select 15 students (topics) max. to continue to the next round.
The universities may accept submissions from current students or students graduating in the next 18 months (up to October 2017).
Round II (June 2016 / meeting: June/July 2016) Digital
This involves the groups of 15 students from the different universities in Round I – on film.
Students are requested to film a three-minute “elevator pitch” to convince a jury of six lighting professionals.
The professionals will evaluate all the films submitted by the universities and select the best 18 students to go through to the next round (location to be confirmed: 6 coaches à 3 students each).
Round III (January/February 2017) Live
A mini-conference will be held in London in collaboration with our Main University Partner for 2016/2017, UCL The Bartlett.
The 18 winners from Round II will each present a 20-minute paper on their topic. Travel costs and accommodation for two nights for the students will be covered.
The mini-conference will include 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.
The Jury decides on the best six, who will be invited to present a 45-minute paper at PLDC 2017.
Round IV (October 2017 as part of PLDC)
The best six are prepared for PLDC by their individual coaches.
Costs for travel and accommodation will be paid for the students.
A full conference ticket for PLDC (excluding the Gala Dinner) will also be provided.
The best presenter of the six at PLDC 2017 wins a money prize.
Questions? Please e-mail to
Alison Ritter: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments from participants of this year’s Challenge:
“The Challenge is an ‘ educational journey’ that also turned out to become a turning point in my professional career (after my presentation in semi-final). Having the opportunity to be guided by experienced and inspiring coaches and gaining exposure to major lighting manufactures make The Challenge a unique experience, which is beyond a common competition. The format is fun and the support from the organizer is amazing. I strongly recommend it! “
“The Challenge has helped me in my professional career by providing an opportunity to develop my initial research which has been ongoing, allowing me to incorporate it in design practice. It has also given me the chance to network and build new professional relationships within the lighting industry. By being part of The Challenge I have learned and developed presentation and public speaking skills.”
“Sharing this experience with students from different schools and countries, and feeling the support of the professionals of the lighting design industry it has been the most positive experience that I could imagine to start my career path”
“Knowing that you can contribute somehow to the lighting design industry makes you feel like you are starting to be part of it”
Isabel Sanchez Sevillano
„The PLDC Student Speakers Competition has given me the opportunity to further my research with the encouragement and support from lighting professionals globally. It has taught me how passionate the industry is about new ideas and collaborations for the future and encouraged me to develop my public speaking skills.“