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Introducing our new RIBA branch chairs for Exeter and Cornwall

Following this year's branch elections we are excited to announce that Caroline Shortt has been appointed the new chair of the RIBA Exeter branch and Chris Turner as chair of both the RIBA Cornwall branch and Cornwall Architectural Trust (CAT). Their appointments mark an exciting new chapter for the Southwest region.

05 April 2024

Welcome to Caroline Shortt

With a distinguished 12-year tenure leading Barc Architects, Caroline Shortt brings a wealth of insight and expertise to this role, along with an intimate understanding of the industry's current challenges and a vibrant vision for its future. Caroline is focused on supporting the professional development of members and advocating for the advancement of architectural practices that embrace technology, sustainability, and responsiveness to societal needs.

After graduating from the Dublin School of Architecture, Caroline Shortt has gone on to develop a distinguished architectural career with a broad background of international experience. In 2008, Caroline moved to Devon to establish the Exeter branch of BAS Mooarc and, in 2012, established award-winning Barc Architects. Caroline has developed a significant presence in Devon and the wider southwest region and is acutely aware of the challenges facing the profession today.

"I am very honoured to represent RIBA in this role and grateful for the opportunity to work closely with other architects in the region," said Caroline. "There is a huge amount of design talent in the southwest, and I look forward to building an open and collaborative branch that highlights these talents to the wider community.

It’s wonderful to be an architect at a time when there is so much exciting change, the industry has much more female representation and is working positively towards being a more racially and socially diverse profession. I am a very open and amiable person and hope that, as chair, I will be able to actively listen and be a voice for all of our members."

In this new role, Caroline is committed to fostering an environment of support and innovation. They see great value in partnership with regional arts and cultural groups and is a strong advocate of championing diversity and inclusivity ensuring it reflects the community it serves. They envision the RIBA Exeter branch as a platform for meaningful collaboration, knowledge sharing, and public engagement; aiming to raise awareness of the critical role architects play in shaping our built environment.

"As chair, I will advocate for greater support and resources to help our members adapt and thrive, with a specific focus on knowledge sharing and progression towards a circular economy.

I am excited to bring renewed energy to our branch and envision organising more in-person events to facilitate meaningful connections among our members and create spaces for support and collaboration. Watch this space."

Caroline Shortt by Rosie Parsons Photography

Welcome to Chris Turner

Chris Turner is a Director at PBWC Architects where he leads a number of sectors including schools, urban regeneration, placemaking, later living and care. Chris joined PBWC Architects in 2018 after working in London where they led the delivery of major mixed-use regeneration schemes in both the UK and abroad with project values of over £120m. Becoming a Director of the practice in 2021 Chris is now applying his passion for environmentally and socially responsible architecture and urban design to help shape the ethos and vision of the practice.

Chris said, "I am delighted to be appointed and look forward to helping RIBA drive excellence in architecture at a local level for Cornwall. We have had a period of significant change in the last few years; with the covid pandemic and a restructuring of RIBA at a national level. Local members are keen to get back to meeting up in-person and attending more local CPD and networking events. We agreed as a committee last night to help facilitate this and organise an inspiring new series of events over the coming years."

Chris has identified a number of priorities he would like to focus on as branch chair such as fostering new pathways into the profession for younger people in Cornwall, facilitating a low carbon future for Cornwall, and helping local members to address the unique challenges they face practicing in Cornwall.

“I also want to better connect our local members together and work with local, regional, and national industry bodies and organisations to promote architecture and help position Cornish architects as a truly competent, highly skilled and valued source of solutions for the design and construction industry.

We need to be local agents of change if we are to help solve the unique problems associated with Cornwall’s seasonal and rural economy, high levels of deprivation, and the local housing crisis."

As well as chairing of the Cornwall branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Chris also takes over as chair of the Cornwall Architectural Trust.

Chris Turner, PBWC

Would you like to inspire change and meet more members?

We are searching for our next branch chairs for Bristol and Bath and Wiltshire.

If you would like to find out more and arrange an informal discussion about the role, please contact Nathalie; your Regional Engagement Partner for the Southwest and Wessex:

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