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A Quick Guide to IDL Event Organisation 


On the International Day of Light (IDL) on May 16, people around the world will celebrate the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world in areas of science, culture and art, education, sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy by creating their own events. While taking part in a global celebration may seem intimidating, it is actually very easy to create an event.

1. No need to re-invent the wheel. 

There are many examples of events that worked out quite well during the International Year of Light in 2015. Scientific institutions organised open-days in their labs, held lectures, workshops, exhibitions, full-day events combining presentations and discussions, as well as conferences. There were many light-themed exhibitions and festivals for the general public. Astronomers organised star-parties, scientists visited schools to discuss what they do, artists shared their passion about light with art, music, illumination and light installations. Some people wrote articles about light in magazines or blogs and others organised light-themed film festivals, light walks, commemorative stamps. These are just a few representative examples! For more ideas on what you can do, read the IYL2015 Final Report.  

2. We are flexible! Are you already organising an activity about light in May but not on May 16th? Are you organising an activity but on a different theme? No problem. As long as it follows and respects the general goals of the International Day of Light in promoting science, education, art, culture etc. related to the broad themes of light and light-based technologies, we would welcome them as International Day of Light activities.

3. Spread the word. Please don't hesitate to spread the word to your colleagues, especially to your friends and family outside the community who already understand and appreciate the power of light. Light is a beautiful cultural metaphor for openness, inclusion and enlightenment - all qualities that the world today needs more than ever. We should not keep the International Day of Light to ourselves, but we should make sure that we involve everyone! Many of these people might get inspired and organise their own initiatives.

4. Reach out to your National Node. Would you like to get in contact with other people who are organising events in your country or region? The best way is to contact the IDL national nodes that are formed in different countries to coordinate, promote, and implement activities taking into account the needs and characteristics of different regions around the world. Getting in contact with your node is a great opportunity to benefit from larger networks to disseminate further your event, share best practices and find out about what will be organised in your country/region. For more information on IDL National nodes, please visit

5. Specific Guidelines for Online and Hybrid Events.  Events for IDL can take place face-to-face or virtually with an online or hybrid format.  Such events sometimes require some special planning, and a separate section below considers this in more detail.  

6. Don’t forget to register it! The International Day of Light is a global celebration and we want to showcase in our Event Programme all the interesting initiatives that will be organised. Be sure to include your event on the IDL Event Calendar by registering here.

7. Engage with us! You can connect with the official IDL social media channels to share event updates, images and news. We encourage you to follow the IDL  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages and by using the hashtag #lightday2024 or #lightinourlives2024.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Specific Guidelines for Virtual & Hybrid Events 


Many International Day of Light events are carried out with online components, and so we would like to provide some tips to help you with your planning based on our experience.  It really is much easier than you think! 
1.  Types of Event.  A Virtual Event is one where speakers and audience participate remotely from their own computers rather than gathering face-to-face at a specific location.  Also very common is the Hybrid Event where there may be a local audience gathered together in a room or lecture hall, and they will listen to talks both from local speakers delivered face to face, as well as talks projected on a screen from international speakers participating remotely.  It is also possible with a Hybrid event to stream or grant access to all presentations to a remote audience for those unable to attend in person.
2.  Platform and Logistics.  There is a wide range of software platforms that can be used to manage online events and to give streamed access to an online audience. Experience seems to suggest that there are more options and improved reliability using a paid service, but costs can be extremely reasonable if you require this just for one event.  In any case, many universities and schools will already provide full access to a suitable platform.  As an additional possibility, if you are part of a Student Chapter of a Scientific Society (e.g. one of our Steering Committee members) they may be able to provide you with access or advice.  
3.  Timing. Keeping an audience engaged for a full day with online presentations can be difficult, but our experience suggests that an event spanning only an afternoon can be very effective in spreading the messages of the International Day of Light.  So if all you have available is an afternoon, that can be perfect for a wonderful event!  If you are really finding it difficult to find the time to coordinate several different speakers, why not use the International Day of Light as the opportunity to invite that special guest you’ve been thinking of for a while.  And for a special message from the International Day of Light Secretariat, just reach out – if timing permits we will always try to participate live, but at the very least, we can record a message for you, or provide you with the general slides you need to deliver your own! 
4.  Programme. The choice of programme depends on the local audience and the particular topics that you wish to cover.  To help you plan, we can strongly recommend that you look at our resources section and review the programmes of the various International Year and Day of Light events that are available for download.  These programmes give examples on how to organise short thematic sessions bringing together multiple speakers on particular topics.  Also remember that we have placed online a range of videos for you to use, all of which can be incorporated into your planning.  

5. Inviting Speakers can take advantage of  our speaker database that you can draw on, and many of our Steering Committee partners have Travelling Lecturers that you can contact.  You can also think of contacting our Light Alumni or our Trust Science Champions.  Above all, please reach out early! 


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