The Midwifery Feel of Light

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingBidrag til bog/antologiForskning


Instinctively we sense that light affects us. From the emerging beams of sunlight in springtime to the crisp rays in winter, we feel attuned in our bodily state of being. However, studies on the effects of lighting on the human body often approach the body through perspectives and measurements of visual perception and psychophysiology. Hence, while we know about the potential of light to affect spatial visual perceptions, circadian rhythms and moods, we know little about how we actually feel and sense our body in lit space. This chapter addresses this very matter of how lighting attunes the human body in inner and outer bodily stirrings – beyond visual perception and psychophysiology. As a means to this, the chapter empirically centres around the recent introduction of chromatic lighting designs in healthcare environments. In particular, it attends to the case of midwives at a Danish maternity ward practicing both conventional and chromatic lighting during the process of birth. Studied through phenomenological concepts of atmosphere and the felt body, midwives show to practice lighting in the delivery room from a certain sensory awareness of the atmospheric potential of lighting to move the human body in inner bodily sensations of a ‘home-like, cosy feeling’ and outer bodily gestures of dropping shoulders and voices. As such, the case study of how midwives practice lighting opens up a sensory attention towards the affecting qualities of light beyond visual perception and psychophysiology. It emphasises lighting as a multifunctional aesthetic design element with potential to affect the human body in sensory ways beyond current regulatory requirements and designerly intentions.
TitelLighting with Feeling
Antal sider13
StatusAccepteret/In press - aug. 2021


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  • The Feel of Light

    Nielsen, S. M. L.


    Projekter: ProjektForskning