Soft matter is at the core of modern technology as well as of the living organisms. Our group explores how self-organising nature of materials, such as liquid crystals and photosensitive films, can be manipulated by light, structured geometries and inorganic nanoparticles. Experimental investigation, as well as new mathematical approaches to their understanding that we pursue, offer some challenging research questions that pave the way to innovative, adaptive optical components and technologies. We also develop new, photonics based tools to characterise soft matter.