Winners of 2022/23 Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund announced

6th November 2023

(UK) – The winners of the 2022/23 Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund (JSSF) – a UK-registered charity that provides support to students of architecture who wish to enter the architectural lighting design profession – have been announced.

Edward Turner of the Royal College of Art London, and Samuel Walker of Coventry University were announced by Trustees as the joint recipients in this, the final year of the awards programme.

This year’s programme also saw three commendations, which were given to Chen Weiting of the Bartlett School of Architecture, Jade Atkins of Northumbria Univeristy, and Jingwen Song of the University of Michigan.

The first award winner, Edward Turner, is studying for an MA in Architecture at the Royal College of Art, London. Through his studies, he has consistently engaged in the manipulation of natural light at both urban and interior scales, having had a longstanding fascination with the theatrical nature of architecture.

More recently, his attention turned to artificial lighting with his project Batteries Not Included, a reimagination of the Blackpool Illuminations that takes an inventive and critical approach on the use of energy and lighting, generating, and storing the electricity through kinetic structures and kinetic architecture.

The scholarship will be used to support Turner in starting his own spatial design practice, where he hopes to further explore design of a more provisional nature that encourages adaptation; and supports ways of behaving that are more in line with addressing the climatic situation we find ourselves in today.

Samuel Walker is studying architecture at Coventry University. Passionate about light since secondary school, and a self-confessed near obsessive regarding sustainability, Walker has a particular interest in the topic of light pollution. His work explores how celebrating darkness is crucial to tackling this issue, both environmentally and economically, while designs that employ subtle lighting and use contrast to shape space and experience still enable us to deliver the positive emotional and social impact that light can bring.

Currently interning at dpa lighting consultants, the scholarship will be used to support Walker in his ambition to work with professionals in the industry to set up a platform that aims to educate, inspire, and motivate students, designers, and anyone else that is interested in design, astronomy, and sustainability around the topic of lighting, and the benefits that designing well-lit spaces can have on our health and the planet.

Reflecting on the work of the scholarship, John Roake, Chairman of the JSSF, commented: “I wish to extend my congratulations to Edward Turner and Samuel Walker, who join a small but select group of scholars. Also to Chen Weiting, Jade Atkins and Jingwen Song on receiving commendations. We wish you all bright careers and trust you will always remember being touched by Jonathan’s legacy.

“When the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund was launched in 2012, we pledged that we would award at least one scholarship to a student of architecture per year for 10 years. We find it hard to believe that we have now reached that point. Our mission was to assist students in their studies and follow their passion for light, just as Jonathan did.

“Over the past decade we are very proud to have awarded 16 full scholarships and helped an additional five students with commendation awards.

“We would not have been able to do any of this without the outstanding support of many individuals and organisations who have been consistently generous with their donations over the years. It has been a testament to the respect that Jonathan had within the lighting community that we have been able to find these scholarships. Our special thanks not only to our ‘Benefactors’: Designed Architectural Lighting, Hoare Lea, iGuzzini, Lightology, Lucifer Lighting, Stoane Lighting, Philips Lighting and Sean O’Connor Lighting, but also to everyone who provided financial support, both large and small.

“A massive thank you also needs to be extended to our Trustees – Mark Major, Paul Gregory, and David Speirs, without whom the scholarship would never have happened. They have given generously of their time to help nurture and develop the JSSF over the last decade.

“It has been an honour to have been chairman to a charity inspired by a great friend who is still much missed. Whilst Mark, Paul, David and I have had a lot of fun and a few heated discussions along the way, we hope we have helped many students fulfil their dreams, which is what we set out to do.”

Samuel Walker (left) and Edward Turner (right), recipients of the 2022/23 Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund.