Peter Mumford Looks Back on his Tenure as Chair of the ALD

by Michael Eddy
Lighting Designer Peter Mumford
Lighting Designer Peter Mumford
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Peter Mumford has led the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) for seven years, since carving time into a busy working schedule to take the reins of the ALD as Chair. As his tenure comes to a close, Mumford looks back with pride at the achievements of the ALD, as well as the Association’s development over that time and has words of support for incoming chair, Johanna Town.

The initial encouragement of Rick Fisher, outgoing Chair at the time, henceforth Vice President, coincided with Mumford’s own feelings that it was time to give something back. Mumford says, “I wanted to make at least some kind of contribution to the workplace that has supported me and given me both joy, gratification and a living for many years.”

He states, “Rick and his predecessors had done a great job to put the ALD on the map. The question remained where to take the organization from there? What should we be doing?” Mumford saw then, as now, “…we have a brilliant executive with lots of ideas: as designers and creative people that’s what we do.” The requirement was ‘how to implement the great ideas?’ and the first objective became expansion of the infrastructure to accommodate the ambitions of the ALD.

Today, Mumford is proud to say, “The Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) has more structure as an organization and results are emerging. Having a full time executive director has made an enormous difference. We are seeing political involvement, educational involvement and a real dialogue emerging between our designers, programmers, video designers and production electricians (all part of the creative team) and the industries that provide our tools, as well as students and emerging practitioners too.”

The ALD has also become more active in the protection of ALD member rights. Developing a strong infrastructure in order to implement these ambitions was one of Mumford’s main aims. He states, “Our involvement with contractual amendments and fee recommendations, for example, is beginning to have real influence and, in linking with the SBTD, ASD and SDUK, is beginning to be fruitful in terms of our negotiating power and involvement with Equity and the managements. Equity should not be allowed to negotiate design contracts without consulting the ALD and its members - and this is starting to happen! We are not a union but if we have a united membership, we can actually act like one!”

The single stand-out achievement Mumford holds closest to his heart, however, is the Lumiere Scheme, which began in 2015 and gives an emerging designer, opportunities to learn and the benefits of learning, first-hand from established practitioners. Mumford explains, “It’s so hard for young, would-be designers to find a way into our profession and I believe that it’s a real duty of the ALD to help provide that pathway through this scheme.

“It’s not very expensive but it is so important – and we still need more finance to really get it going. I believe that the ALD can do this like no other body - we have the right people, skills and opportunities and the support from within our community has been terrific… and we’re not finished with it yet, not by a long chalk!”

The final words from Mumford are characteristically positive and full of encouragement. Aimed at incoming chair, Joanna Town as well as the ALD membership, he says “Go for it Jo! Push all your ideas and ambitions forward. My plea to the membership is to actively support and participate. The ALD now recognizes that the creative role of lighting design is so much more than the designer alone. The designer alone does not exist, cannot function without the creative support of all the team and that has to be recognized.”

In conclusion, ALD Vice President, Rick Fisher, adds, “I am so proud of how the ALD has grown under Peter’s inspired leadership, taking us into areas I would not have dreamt possible. He has done what every Chair aspires to: leaving a stronger organization than when he started. All the time, achieving new successes in his busy multi-faceted career!  Bravo Peter!”

Further information from the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD): www.ald.org.uk