The Midwifery Feel of Light

Stine Maria Louring Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearch

1 Citation (Scopus)


Instinctively, we sense that light affects us. From the emerging beams of sunlight in springtime to the crisp rays in winter, we feel attuned to light in our bodily state of being. However, while scientific studies explore the potentials of light to affect visual perceptions, circadian rhythms and moods, we know little about how we actually feel in lit space. To address this matter, this 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 how they practice lighting in the delivery room from a sensory awareness of the atmospheric potential of lighting. They do so to help 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 opens up a sensory attention towards the affecting qualities of light, while emphasising lighting as a multifunctional design element with the potential to affect the human body in sensory ways beyond current regulatory requirements and designerly intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLighting Design in Shared Public Spaces
EditorsShanti Sumartojo
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781032022642
ISBN (Electronic)9781000566178
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Lighting design
  • Healthcare environment
  • Atmosphere
  • Bodily Sensation


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