This June, the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) held its annual Professional Lighting Summit. We had the pleasure of not only attending this hugely popular event, mingling with other like-minded lighting professionals and catching up on the latest industry gossip, but we also hosted a few of our own talks!

Richard Jackson, our executive director, brought summit attendees together to consider the problems with on-street electric vehicle (EV) charging points, where cables can obstruct pavements and endanger pedestrians. Amanda Reece, one of our senior lighting designers, on the other hand, invited guests to learn all about women in the lighting industry (or, perhaps, the lack of them). Both very different, but equally important topics…

From what we’ve heard, the talks were a huge success — prompting thought-provoking discussions about some of today’s most pressing lighting-related issues. But we know it’d be better to hear it from the horse’s mouth(s).

So, without further ado, we asked Richard and Amanda some questions about their experience of running their own sessions at the Professional Lighting Summit — and here’s what they said!

Richard, how did attendees respond to the ‘cable on the pavement’ issue?

‘Unsurprisingly, on-pavement EV charging point cabling proved an interesting topic and attendees had varied opinions on the subject. We discussed the potential for a buried solution where residents could push the cables into a slot, drain, channel or duct to remove the trip hazard, but who would take responsibility for apparatus upkeep? It seems there’s scope for a white paper or resource to help local authorities meet residents’ needs.’

And did you or the attendees come up with any solutions to the problem?

‘We explored EV charging streetlights, which are easily deployable, but require someone to look after the equipment, distribution network operator (DNO) connections and back-billing of electricity. Standalone bollards at the front of paths were another option, but they cause street clutter.

Things got interesting when we talked about removable batteries for smaller vehicles like motorbikes — EV owners can put their batteries on charge, leave and return when they’re done.’

Finally, do you have any tips for those installing EV charging points?

‘Develop a strategy that covers more than just installation! Weigh up all your options, like partnering with private owners of existing EV chargers in places retail parks to promote the use of spaces that are unoccupied when nearby shops close, and choose busy locations where there’s room to install more chargers in years to come. It’s also a good idea to look around to see what neighbouring authorities are doing; the UK is home to some great charging hubs, schemes and solutions.’

We’re butting in here, but we can’t talk about EV charging points without mentioning cabling. If the right infrastructure isn’t there, you can get your wires crossed and rack up a hefty bill. Our suggestion? Avoid any issues with our electrical services. Now, to women in the lighting industry…

Amanda, what made you want to run your session?

‘It was important for me to give other women the opportunity to talk about their experience with the ILP community — whether they felt supported and, if not, what support they needed and how the ILP could play a part in providing this assistance in the future. Up until this point, women in the lighting industry had no way of expressing what they wanted from the institution.’

Who was in the crowd? Does that tell you anything?

‘The room was full of both men and women, which shows that it is not just female lighting professionals that are interested in assessing and improving the support available to those that need it. More importantly, it showed that women aren’t alone in the fight for equality in the lighting industry — male industry professionals are behind them and want to drive change.’

What do you hope attendees gained from the talk?

‘I hope my talk made attendees feel heard and understand what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. Based on the feedback, I believe the session changed some perspectives. There have been requests for local councils to help support more female involvement in the ILP and support is growing for a woman’s group, with members wishing to be part of the upcoming drive to equality for women.’

Bravo, Richard and Amanda for facilitating meaningful conversations about such important subjects. We’re glad they went so well and can’t wait to see what you both get up to next!

When we’re not out there giving talks about EV charging points and women in the lighting industry, we provide expert lighting consultancy services across a range of sectors. Call us at +44 (0)1962 855080 or email to learn more.