Students and the ALD

By Nick Moran, Senior Lecturer in Lighting Design and Production Lighting, practicing lighting designer and ALD Education co-representative.

"As a teacher of lighting for performance, I think all students interested in lighting should become members of the ALD. And if you are studying lighting or video & Projection design full time at a Higher Education institution you can enjoy sponsored membership for at least two years of your program of study.

The most tangible benefit of student membership is Focus. Put simply, it provides some of the best writing about and by working lighting designers available in this country. As well as the articles aimed at the general membership, in recent years Focus has featured articles on ways into the profession, and from young LDs working on their first big shows. It has including notes from “big name” LDs on what they expect from an assistant, articles written by students, and interviews based on questions submitted by students.

Recent articles on photography and on marketing, written by people working in performance lighting, are at least as useful to students practitioners as they are to seasoned professionals. Whatever the level of your interest in lighting, Focus provides insights into the people and practice of professional lighting design. It covers the kinds of shows many students might be lighting while still studying through to the big shows they may aspire to get a placement as assistant on, and many different kinds of shows that may never have considered. It is not a showcase for the latest hi-tec kit (but membership of ALD entitles you to a subscription to other journals where you can read all about that). Focus has articles from real world lighting designers working with the kind of equipment students use in their schools and colleges, solving the problems all of us have to solve every time we start to light a show.

Finally, Focus is one of the few places where you can see good quality photographs of performance lighting rather than shots displaying products or close-ups of famous faces on stage. So, if you are studying lighting design for performance, join the ALD, and make sure you read your copy of Focus – at least ten times a year!"