Light existed well before humans did. We evolved as organisms exposed to the daily cycle of light and dark, completely at the mercy of weather and seasonal influences. Then – over the course of millenniums – we gradually learned to control it. We now live in an era in which light appears to be ubiquitous and is often taken for granted. Still, we are only beginning to learn just how profound and multifaceted light's impact is on human functioning. Experiencing Light 2012 was organized in an attempt to facilitate this process.

The first edition of this conference in 2009 can only be called a success. Its goal was to bring together a multidisciplinary group of researchers and designers working in this domain so they could meet, share experiences, present research, and exchange ideas about light and its relationship to human wellbeing. And it worked: we had well over a hundred participants, from twenty-one different countries. Participants were affiliated to academia and research institutes mainly, but we also had a substantial number of people from industry (lighting, design, consultancy). We therefore concluded that Experiencing Light 2009 provided a timely and necessary international forum to discuss the impact and relevance of recent technological, societal and scientific developments in the lighting domain on user experience.

Now, in 2012, the conference theme still appears as timely and necessary as it was three years ago. Much has happened. In our own university we have seen the establishment and development of the Intelligent Lighting Institute (ILI), in which engineers, designers, and social scientists collaborate to investigate and develop innovations in lighting. Similar cross-disciplinary collaborations are emerging across the globe. We are both happy and proud to see such different groups also represented here today. We welcome you all, ‘veterans’ and ‘newbies’ alike.

The program of Experiencing Light 2012 consists of exciting keynote addresses by Andrew Elliot, Debra Skene, and Har Hollands. It furthermore includes twenty nine orals and nineteen interactive posters, on new research and findings, new conceptualizations and designs, and new reflections on light and its psychological impact. The extended abstracts you find in these proceedings were selected from the large collection of submitted papers through a carefully conducted review process, using blind peer-review. We are greatly indebted to the members of the Scientific Committee for their excellent work in reviewing the submitted papers and selecting the best papers for presentation at the conference. Short papers that accompany the interactive posters are also included in these proceedings.

This year we also organized a doctoral consortium, preceding the conference. This intensive and interactive day was geared towards in-depth mentoring of PhD students working in this exciting but complex domain of light and the human experience. We owe lots of thanks to the mentors – all participants of the conference – who were willing to sacrifice their Sunday for this event and share their insights with tomorrow's experts.

We gratefully acknowledge the sponsors of Experiencing Light 2012: ILI, HTI, Waldmann, and Davita. We thank the Glow festival for providing the perfect backdrop against which to host our conference. Moreover, we would like to thank those who supported the organization of Experiencing Light 2012 and who worked hard to make it a successful event: our keynotes, our secretarial and logistics support, and our student volunteers. Thank you all.

We wish all of you a fruitful and inspiring conference!

Organizers of Experiencing Light 2012:
Yvonne de Kort, Mariëlle Aarts, Femke Beute, Wijnand IJsselsteijn, Antal Haans, Daniel Lakens, Leon van Rijswijk, and Karin Smolders