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Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund –2018/19 Winners Announced

The Trustees of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund are delighted to announce two winners for the 2018/2019 award. The recipients selected this year are Apoorva Jalindre and Merethe Granhus.

Apoorva Jalindre

Apoorva is in the process of completing her second Masters degree, in Architecture, Design and Health at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Having undertaken the lighting Masters program at Wismar, she further deepened her passion for lighting design with an internship at Office for Visual Interaction Inc. in New York City. Her interests lie in the psychological aspects of design, and her current research aims at a deeper understanding of proprioception (the perception of the position and movement of the human body in space), and the tacit knowledge of a space, by exploring how lighting design elements, visual aesthetics and kinesthesia affect our mental health, including mood and stress. An important aspect of her work considers how the perception of lighting might affect mental health conditions such as autism, dyslexia, schizophrenia and migraine. To culminate her thesis, Apoorva is assembling a kinetic experience space and the scholarship will be used to assist with the costs of creating this.

Merethe Granhus.

Merethe is studying for a Professional Diploma in Architecture RIBA Part II at the Sir John Cass School of Architecture, London Metropolitan University. Her passion for lighting was cultivated as an intern at 31/44 Architects, working on, amongst other projects, the lighting of the Barbican Frobisher Rooms. Merethe believes nuanced lighting is critical to enabling any built environment or habited space to function comfortably and enjoyably. However, her deepest passion lies with the transformative, immersive and interactive aspects of light that enable intuitive connection and communication with people. Her final thesis project is highly topical – an installation to light an exhibition of a sperm whale skeleton, designed to educate viewers on the detrimental effects of plastic in the ocean. For the project, animated light will be used to simulate the effects of the plastics through 3D scanned environments and artefacts, creating an immersive VR environment. Sensors will respond to visitor movements with floating projections designed to increase the emotional impact on visitors. The scholarship will be used to fund this thesis project.

John Roake, Chairman of the JSSF commented:

“The Trustees of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund have always looked to find potential in students to successfully transition into the broad field of lighting design. We are therefore always delighted when architecture schools choose to submit candidates at very different stages in their courses. With the generosity of our benefactors, sponsors and contributors we are then able to help these scholars on their way forward.

This year presented another excellent shortlist culminating in the selection of two outstanding scholars with completely different approaches, but with a clear understanding of light as not just a medium by which to visualise but also using it as a tool to enhance the experience of the viewer. Both scholars presented projects that have a social element we enjoyed discussing. Merethe’s project uses virtual reality to tell a story from the remains of a whale which becomes the centrepiece of a Museum in Milazzo, Sicily. She plans to complete the project in reality for others to experience. Apoorva’s approach is about well-being and the benefits of careful lighting design in creating a healthier environment. She is planning to use her research in a Living & Learning centre which helps autistic children. Both are worthy and responsible projects which we are happy to encourage with the aid of the Scholarship.

Our aim has always been to find, support and encourage young talent. We feel that the two scholars we have selected this year match the vision of the scholarship. We look forward to seeing how they both progress and develop.”

Our ability to provide an annual award relies on the generosity of a number of companies and individuals to whom we are extremely grateful. Our pledge was that we would make a minimum of one award each year until 2023. In the last three years we have been fortunate enough to be able to provide two scholarships to equally deserving candidates. We would however once again like to appeal to companies, professional practices and individuals who knew Jonathan Speirs, or who have benefitted from his incredible insight into light and architecture, to continue to help us support and nurture talented students in this field. If you wish to help please contact or visit for further information.

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