Women in Lighting, an inspirational digital platform that profiles women working in lighting design, hosted Women in Lighting Global Gathering on March 8th, 2021 to celebrate International Women’s Day. The conference was hosted on Hopin, a virtual event platform and featured influential speakers from 13+ countries. Over 1000 participants logged on to view recorded and live sessions.
The event offered participants an opportunity to interact with each other and speakers through a chat box and social sessions – which were hour long free-flowing conversations where attendees virtually met, shared backgrounds and daily work lives in just 3 minute-conversations. The program (Hopin) would then randomly re-match attendees and, repeat!
Also, the Women in Lighting Awards were announced to celebrate achievements during 2020. While many have endured isolation, the unknown and illness, this awards program will highlight the resilience and talent of the female lighting community. Submissions – big and small – are encouraged and accepted from March 8 – April 31st, 2021.
The day-long event featured sessions covering Inspiration, Project and Action and Social. Anne Miletello of Vortex Lighting USA, designer, artist and rock lighting legend, spoke during the Inspiration session to share her career insight. Miletello emphasized the events’ goal saying, “Today we celebrate female energy. Women in lighting are light givers.” She began her lighting career in the San Francisco rock music scene, where she transitioned into the opera world, and then to designing entire concert tours – all while completing architectural lighting design projects across the country including major New York properties – and even for a Prada/Miu Miu fashion campaign.
Louï Fuller, considered one of the first women in lighting, Joseph Cornell, Thomas Willford, Maria Irene Fornes, Ellen Stewart, John P. Dodd and Sam Shepard were some of the players named by Miletello as influencers of her work. She also finds inspiration in film noir, specifically shadows cast from window shades, plants, nebulous stars and Greek and Roman architecture.
A live Q&A session followed in which a participant asked what advice she would give to a younger lighting designer. She responded: “To have more confidence in your ideas, and to not be hurt when someone rejects your ideas. If they don’t like your ideas, it’s because they want something else. Keep to what you do and don’t give up. As a woman, you have to be strong. You have to fortify yourself and your psyche when you get those barbs thrown at you. So, you have to put up that invisible shield and not let those hurt you because sometimes as women our hearts are a little more open.”
Miletello embodies “Inspiration” with her life story, passion, success and support for women in the industry. The event was empowering, educational and definitely global – connecting professionals to celebrate one another.