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Director of The Lightbox to stand down after 20 years

4th May 2021

The Lightbox has today announced that after 20 wonderful years Director Marilyn Scott will stand down from her role in November 2021. Marilyn will move into full time consultancy in the arts and heritage sector, using her experience gained during a prestigious career with a variety of renowned cultural organisations including The Lightbox gallery and museum, The Science Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum.

When Marilyn joined the then ‘Woking Museum and Arts and Crafts Centre’ in 2001, it was a small charity founded by 70 local people who were determined to bring arts and heritage to Woking through the provision of a museum and gallery. Within a short time of taking up the role, Woking Borough Council introduced the idea of a new build gallery on Victoria Way and the journey began, led by Marilyn with a small staff team. Ambitions for the gallery grew and this culminated in an international architectural competition. Marilyn developed plans with the chosen architects Marks Barfield and raised £7.2 m for the eventual construction and fit out of the landmark building, including significant investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The building has won a number of architectural awards and was a pioneer in sustainable environmental design for cultural buildings. Since opening in 2007 visitors to the gallery and museum have risen to 100,000 per year and the exhibition programme draws audiences from all over the UK.

Over the last 20 years Marilyn has strengthened relationships with Woking Borough Council and The Lightbox is now a highly valued contributor to the community amenities of the Borough. The Lightbox is recognised nationally for its work with arts and wellbeing programmes which have been introduced by Marilyn since opening in 2007. She has always firmly believed that the arts have great power to support mental health and was at the forefront of promoting these ideas nationally.

Through building relationships and advocacy Marilyn has ensured a sustainable future for the organisation with a service level agreement with Woking Borough Council, support from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF), significant individual and corporate donors and a thriving membership scheme.

Under Marilyn’s leadership The Lightbox has won numerous awards including The Art Fund Prize Museum of the Year in 2008, the Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award, and The Queens Award for Volunteering and the Green Tourism Silver Award. What began as a small

local project with modest ambitions has now become a nationally recognised gallery under Marilyn’s guidance.

In recognition of her contribution to the arts and heritage sector Marilyn was awarded the MBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours list in 2020. Marilyn is currently Vice Chairman of The Association of Independent Museums and a Trustee of Brooklands Museum and The Weald and Downland Museum, roles which Marilyn will continue. She is a former member of the NLHF committee and now works with the Heritage Fund supporting projects to a successful completion.

Commenting on her decision to step down and significant achievements Marilyn said ‘I consider that I have been incredibly privileged to have been able to develop a project from very early stage right through to completion and then to have been able to create a successful cultural organisation, deeply rooted in its community. This is an opportunity not afforded to many and it is clearly one of the great achievements of my career. I want to pay tribute to all of those who I have worked with during my time at The Lightbox – Trustees, volunteers and above all fantastic staff who have been a constant inspiration. It is the people involved with this great organisation along with our partnerships and mutual support that has led to the success we see today. Over the last 20 years the Lightbox has achieved more than anyone ever expected and one of my proudest achievements is the establishment of a nationally recognised exhibition programme which features household names as well as the work of emerging artists and supports the local arts community. Our museum and its role to introduce the history of the town and create a sense of place is also something I am immensely proud of. Neither of these achievements would be possible without a dedicated team of staff and volunteers that I have been honoured to work with. Many volunteers and supporters have become friends and I cannot over emphasise the amazing contribution they have made to our success.

Marilyn added ‘After 20 years leading The Lightbox I leave the organisation with a great sense of accomplishment and a confidence that the charity is in a strong position to flourish under new leadership. I take incredible memories and unforgettable experiences with me when I stand down later this year, The Lightbox has an incredible future and I will continue to support in whatever way I can.’

Pam Powell, Chairman of the board of trustees said “Although I have known Marilyn only a short while, I have immense respect for her and all she has achieved with her team at the Lightbox. I speak on behalf of all current and past trustees in thanking Marilyn for her 20 years of service, and especially for so ably guiding the gallery through the recent trying times, leaving us on firm footing to continue to grow and achieve our ambitions for the future. We sincerely wish Marilyn all the best in her future endeavours.”

The recruitment process for a new Director is now underway. The Trustees of the organisation are strongly committed to delivering the Trusts charitable objectives and managing the transition to new leadership.