Director steps down from The Lightbox after 20 years

THE director of The Lightbox, Woking’s gallery and museum, has announced she is to leave the role after 20 years in charge.

Marilyn Scott will stand down in November and move into full-time consultancy in the arts and heritage sector, using experience gained during a prestigious career with a variety of renowned cultural organisations including The Science Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum.

Lightbox director Marilyn Scott is stepping down after 20 years in the role

“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,” she said.

“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.”

When Marilyn joined what was then the 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 her taking up the role, Woking Borough Council introduced the idea of a new build gallery on Victoria Way. Ambitions for the gallery grew and this culminated in an international architectural competition. Marilyn developed plans with the chosen architects Marks Barfield and raised £7.2million 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.

When Marilyn joined in 2001 The Lightbox was known as the Woking Museum and Arts and Crafts Centre

“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,” said Marilyn. “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.”

A 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 believed that the arts have great power to support mental health and was at the forefront of promoting these ideas nationally.

Under her 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.

In recognition of her contribution to the arts and heritage sector Marilyn was appointed an MBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours list in 2020.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

The recruitment process for a new director is now underway, with the venue reopening with a new exhibition programme on 25 May.

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