Situating the light: Methodology for sensory and spatial fieldwork

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Sensory perceptions are a novel point of departure for lighting research, where human factors have long been approached through isolated variables and controlled environments. However, informed by philosophy and social sciences and supported by ethnographical methods, researchers and practitioners are gaining new ground in understanding human-environment relations by approaching user perspectives in empirical inquiries. Situating the lighting in spatial settings and sensory experiences is crucial when exploring the dynamics of the changing visual perception of aging and vision loss, and how these phenomena can affect everyday life. Although spatial and sensory perceptions have typically been approached from different positions represented by architects or anthropologists, the following question remains: How can we develop a methodological framework for exploring entwined sensory and spatial experiences? This paper presents the method development process for our upcoming sensory and spatial fieldwork in the project "The role of light when vision changes."The process is described in autoethnographic narratives, analysis of the technological frames, approaches, and understandings of light represented in the project, and the knowledge gained from testing the developed tools and schemes hands-on in a home environment. The initial findings indicate that both spatial and sensory experiences are interactional, as experiences situated in a specific body interacting with the specific environment it is situated in. Furthermore, in addition to the changes in visual perception, the spatial and luminous characteristics of the indoor and outdoor environments are also dynamic and changing, making the aspects of transitions and thresholds relevant for our upcoming fieldwork. Our hypothesis is that the shared technological frame developed in the project includes the relevant qualitative and quantitative measures that will allow us to make the knowledge of visually impaired participants explicit in ways that will inform and improve future lighting design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012030
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
EventInternational Light Symposium: Architecture Lighting Environments: Space With(Out) Light - KTH Stockholm, Stockholms, Sweden
Duration: 4 Dec 20236 Dec 2023
Conference number: 9


ConferenceInternational Light Symposium
LocationKTH Stockholm
Internet address


  • Field work
  • domestic lighting
  • everyday life
  • incipient vision loss
  • methodological framework


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