At its most basic level, the ALD brings together a profession which is otherwise a collection of isolated individuals. With that unity comes strength and influence. A substantial body of people who are passionate about the art of lighting design for live performance, we are able to inform, educate and share information within the profession. We offer advice and practical support in all aspects of working in the world of lighting.
In the age of digital and electronic communication, this has been made much easier and quicker. Conversations are no longer played out through the letters’ page over a few issues of our magazine Focus. Members’ meetings can be organised at shorter notice, and it is easier to discover and supply information to assist members and the public alike.
As a recognized body in the industry, working for the common good of promoting the art of lighting design, our members can also send and receive emails asking for help about specific issues. As a member at our last Annual General Meeting put it when asked the question (in real time, via our members’ only Facebook group conversation):
“Communication is the key to life and if we as a collection of LDs don't talk about the issues we encounter we can never improve the situation by ourselves. It's a place that you can quiz people and ask questions. It's a wonderful resource for young, hopeful designers to meet those established people they look up to. There is support there from people who've been there and experienced what you're dealing with.”
Despite the internet making the world smaller (at the last count we have had members living in 43 different countries listed on our database), we still believe that ours is an industry that works best through personal, human interaction. Our social meetings are at the heart of this networking, and we hold a regular social evening for members in London each month, as well as occasional meetings around the rest of the country. In March 2015 we also held one in New York City!
We have regional groups in the UK to enable members in certain geographical areas to meet up in person just as we do in London. There are issues about working and living in Wales, or Scotland, or the North of England that are different to those that occur in London and the south east. We encourage our members to meet up and chat over a drink, and we can alert other members who may be working in the area so they can drop in as well. This type of information from first hand experience while working a project helps to inform and educate other members in their own practice.
Throughout the year we also organise meetings around specific shows, theatres or manufacturers’ equipment presentations. These can be targeted as required to be specifically for students, professionals or the full membership and take the form of:
Our new website allows members to have their own ‘micro-site’ to use as a window to potential employers and collaborators where they can list their working history, upload show photos, and provide links to their personal website or use it as their main site.
But the jewel in the crown of our offer to members is our magazine Focus. Started in pre-internet days as a pamphlet to communicate Association news and report on meetings, today it is a full colour magazine written by members for members and it is compiled by members. We do not send it out to be commissioned and edited by a company that does the same thing for dozens of other membership organisations. Members write and send in articles. What is important is that the articles reflect and discuss the art more than the technical details of the tool.
Our annual Yearbook gives a directory of members, as well as invaluable practical information that every lighting designer needs to hand,
The Association represents members’ interests in most negotiating environments. ALD members sit on the Equity Designers’ Committee (the union group that negotiates lighting design fees and contracts with the TMA, SOLT and ITC).
The ALD also provides a neutral intermediary in disputes between lighting designers and managements, offering advice and information based on a wealth of professional experience.