The demise of the PLDA

Perth, 13th March 2014

I guess the 13th is as good as any day to blog about the demise of the PLDA. It is now inevitable that the PLDA (Professional Lighting Designers Association) as we know it has found its end. A bitter dispute between its original founders and the board of directors of the PLDA has come to a point where the PLDA is no longer in a position to fight its further existence. I am not going to be drawn in the argument of right or wrong I just observe that as a proud PLDA member my organisation has collapsed under the legal pressure of the dispute that has been dragging on for months if not years. It all started a few years ago now when a report was presented (I believe by the late Jonathan Spiers) recommending the separation of the PLDA organisation from its “parent” company Via-Verlag. The underlying thoughts were that the PLDA had grown into a mature organisation that should be able to operate independently and that most of all separation would eliminate any possible conflict of interest in running the two organisations under one umbrella.

As an outsider not privy to all internal discussions and even less privy to all financial matters related to the running of the entities, logic dictates that there are probably pro’s and con’s to these views and I can just wonder in agony why both parties have not managed to come to an amicable and workable solution, knowing how much everyone in their hearts have such passion for our profession and how much all of us have put time and efforts each in their own ways to establish the profession of lighting design as a  respected and now accepted professional business. Unfortunately it seems that personal agendas have taken precedence over common sense, but regardless of the rights and wrongs and without taking sides, the definite result is the imminent demise of our organisation. With the circle of sponsors also cutting its ties it has become clear that the current PLDA has no longer a legitimate base to continue.

There have been talks and explorations of merging the “remains” of the organisation with the IALD (International Association of Lighting Designers) but one can wonder how this can result in any satisfactory solution if it just means transferring your accreditation from one association to another. Other than taking over the PLDA members, there seems little interest at this point from the IALD to take over and continue all the good work and good will that has been done by the PLDA over the years. Perhaps a case of too much to chew at this stage…let’s hope and pray that all the good work will not go to waste…

Light Watch 5-42: All members of the PLDA received a letter from the PLDA board this week explaining the current situation and the inevitable demise of the PLDA organisation as a result.

Below please find the letter.





13. March 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting design, lighting design practice, lighting of the future, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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