Industry Leaders Pivot from LEDucation to Parsons Partners Forum

Craig Bernecker speaks at Parson's New School

After attending LEDucation, the Parsons Lighting Partners Forum was the next event on your humble editor’s agenda. Introduced 8 years ago, the Partners Forum was hosted by Glenn Shrum, Associate Professor of Lighting Design, and Craig Bernecker, Director of the Parsons Lighting Design program.

During the event, Glenn and Craig provided a brief history of Parsons, the first college to offer a lighting design course in the world in 1970 under the leadership of James Nuckolls.

The New School at Parsons now offers the world’s largest lighting design program, with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Lighting Design program. In addition to their many degrees, Parsons also offers a Certificate in Interior Lighting Design, which consists of three 5-week online courses.

The purpose of the event was to explain the partner’s program. Craig detailed the four major emphasis of their various lighting degree programs, which include the merging of art and science, interdisciplinary problem solving, human-centric design, and social responsibility. The latter emphasizes helping underserved communities and areas without access to reliable electricity.

Craig also highlighted the importance of hands-on experience, which is why Parsons has a Making Center, a Light + Energy Lab, a Healthy Materials Lab, and a Healthier Materials Lab.

Five Parsons Alumni spoke on behalf of the programs, detailing their personal journeys and the significant impact they are having on the industry and the world. The speakers included Star Davis, Kyle McGahan, Aldo Jacques Espina, Leela Shanker, and Edward Bartholomew.

Edward Bartholomew Speaks at the New School at Parsons
Edward Bartholomew Speaks at the New School at Parsons on 8 MAR 2023

Out of the approximately 45 people in attendance, I recognized a few lighting designers, three manufacturers, and one rep.  Of the three manufacturers, two were from Europe, and only one was from the US, which I found curious.

Below are the fees for the Partner’s Program.

Lighting Design Firms:

  • Modest size:  10 or fewer members, $1000
  • Mid-size:  11-25 staff members:  $2500
  • Large:  26 or more staff members:  $5000

Industry/Manufacturing Firms

  • Modest size:  25 or fewer staff members:  $5000
  • Large size:  26 or more staff members:  $10,000

For more information click here.