View the 2020 Photo Gallery

Student Competition Committee

Board Liaison, Advisor:
Brigid Hardiman, Lightcraft

John Delfino
, Available Light
Shaun Fillion, NYSID | RAB Lighting

Founding Advisor:
Randy Sabedra, RS Lighting Design

Joseph Belfer
, Cerberus Consulting
Steven Greenberg, ROYGBIV, Inc.
Kass Negash, W. Allen Engineering PLLC
Julia Strapp
Craig Young
, Ventresca Lighting Designers



Application Is Closed

2021 Virtual IESNYC Student Lighting Competition:


The virtual event, judging and awards are being scheduled.
Please stay tuned for details.

Download FAQs PDF

In film, theatre, and immersive entertainment, a Practical light fixture refers to a lighting element that supports the aesthetic of the environment, serves as a place-maker, a motivating source which immerses guests in the world being described. This year, students are challenged to create a lighting installation that engages with the idea of using light in environmental storytelling — whether that is a fixture, a scene, an experience, or something beyond. Use lighting to transform and transport, to immerse and to engage — using materials and light sources common to the home.

Follow-up emails will come from [email protected] with details on how to submit your project media

Projects will be viewed via video and/or photos, and projects should keep in mind the dynamic between the camera lens and the light source. Entries may be accompanied by a title and description at the discretion of the student.

Students will be asked to submit photographs or a video of their projects, accompanied by a title and description. Our committee will be working with a web developer to ensure an engaging and equitable virtual event, where each student will have their work on display. We will provide further details and some example submissions for the students and faculty.

Prizes include $5,000 for the first place winner, as well as $2,500 for the second place winner, and $1,000 for third. The judges will also award honorable mentions to their personal favorite submissions.


Eligibility and Sign-Up

1. I live outside New York City. May I submit?
Any students attending a design college or university located in the five boroughs of New York City, or the New York counties of the former Mid-Hudson Section (Columbia, Dutchess, Green, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester) are eligible to submit, regardless of residency.

2. When does registration open?
A registration platform that supports our Awards Virtual Event is in development. As soon as the registration link is live, we will circulate it. Check back to this page for continuing updates.

3. When does the application close?
The application closed February 26th, 2021.

4. Can teams of students submit one project?
Yes. There should only be one registration per project. More details on the process of registering a group will follow once the registration link is live.

5. What happens if a group project wins a prize?
The prize money is divided equally among all members of the group.

6. May I submit multiple projects?
Students are allowed to submit one individual project and participate in one group project. A student is allowed to have both an individual and a group submission.

7. What are the intellectual property details of this competition? Do I retain ownership of my submission?
The IESNYC will not retain nor request ownership of any submissions. Entries will be on public, virtual display. Your photographs and video will be taken and published by the IESNYC. Winners’ names, schools, degrees, and instructors will be credited.


1. Are there any physical limitations on what my submission can be?
No! Since we are taking the competition virtual this year, the world is your canvas.

2. Are there any upload limitations on what my submission can be?
Yes. There will be a limit to file size, number of photos, and video length. These details will follow when the submission link is live.

3. Should my name be on my project?
No. While your name will be part of your virtual submission, all projects will be anonymized for judging. Under no circumstances should there be any information on your project that can identify your name, school, or instructor. Identifying information should be hidden from the background of photos and videos as well.

4. Are we required to present out submission to the judges?
No. Presentations by students are not required or allowed. The judging process is anonymous and closed to participants and the public.

5. May I submit renderings instead of a physical project?
While you may include renderings as part of your submission, renderings will not be formally. Submissions will be judged based on use of light in a physical installation and projects should keep in mind the dynamic between camera lens and the light source.

Stay Tuned for further details!

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

About the IESNYC Student Competition

The IESNYC Student Lighting Competition is dedicated to our founder, Patricia DiMaggio. As an NYC educator and past president of IESNYC, we uphold Patricia’s goals of education, community, and friendly competition. Having grown from 8 students in 2000 to over 200 students today, it is a legacy which will continue to grow with all your support.

One of the goals of the IESNYC is to promote education and greater awareness about the importance of lighting and the Student Competition is one of the contributors towards these efforts. Since 2000, they have invited students from New York City Art and Design schools to participate in a city wide design competition. The competition empowers students to explore light as an art form, demonstrate light as a stimulus, and prove light as a valuable medium. Every year, students in lighting, architecture, interior design, art, product design, photography and electrical engineering programs have submitted projects, resulting in a diverse showcase of ideas and interpretations on a single theme. The IESNYC Student Competition has been incorporated into the curriculum lighting classes in several area schools and has piqued an interest in lighting design of close to a thousand design students to date.