Janice Kirkpatrick and her colleagues at The Lighthouse Trust have their work cut out. Replacing Lighthouse founder director Stuart MacDonald will be no mean feat, given the strength of his leadership from the early days of the Glasgow initiative to recognition in Europe as a centre of excellence for the creative industries.
Apart from providing a venue for design and architecture events, MacDonald and his team have built a highly effective education programme and a Creative Entrepreneurs Club, among other things.
The Lighthouse partners organisations such as Nesta, the Scottish Executive and Scottish Enterprise on a raft of ventures to promote, say, e-learning and sustainability. It’s also at the hub of Scotland’s £3m Six Cities Design Festival project.
MacDonald himself is an international player. He has served on the Design Council’s council, been actively involved with the Royal Society of Arts and was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architecture. The good news is that he is expected to keep up this presence in his new guise.
As MacDonald prepares to take the helm at his alma mater, Gray’s School of Art, it’s hard to think what’s left for his successor to do. But it is a plum job for someone with vision.
The Lighthouse covers, in microcosm, the work of a host of national bodies – the Design Council in its Design for Learning/ 21st Century Schools, for example, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in its entrepreneurs club. In some instances, it arguably got there first – the Six Cities initiative possibly predated the Design Council’s Designs of the Time plan for Newcastle/Gateshead next year.
Too bad for the selectors that Deyan Sudjic, director of Glasgow’s year as 1999 City of Architecture and Design, has been snapped up by London’s Design Museum, and that John Thackara is heading the Design Council’s Dott initiative. It will take someone of that calibre and international standing to move the Lighthouse forward. We wish them – and MacDonald – well.
Lynda Relph-Knight, editor