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RIBA appoints new head of cultural programmes and collections

Oliver Urquhart Irvine has been appointed to the new role of Executive Director, Architecture Programmes and Collections.

15 July 2022

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the appointment of Oliver Urquhart Irvine to the new role of Executive Director, Architecture Programmes and Collections.

Oliver will join RIBA as the executive lead for RIBA’s world class cultural assets, awards and House of Architecture programmes.

Oliver has carved a distinguished career managing some of the world's most significant collections across a number of sectors, most recently at SOAS, where he held a portfolio of responsibilities including the Library, Brunei Gallery, the Special Collections, Learning and Teaching, and Research and Enterprise Directorates.

Before SOAS, Oliver was the Librarian and Deputy Keeper of the Royal Archives at the Royal Household, Windsor Castle, and the Head of the Asian and African Department at the British Library, which included leading the Library's Qatar Foundation Partnership. He is also a member, by Ministerial Appointment, of the UK's Spoliation Advisory Panel.

Oliver’s appointment completes the RIBA’s new Executive Team, following the recent recruitment of Laura Webb as Executive Director of Membership Experience and Karen Beamish as Executive Director of Products and Services. All new leads will be in post by October 2022. The recruitment process for a permanent Chief Executive is also underway, following news that Alan Vallance will be leaving to take on the role of CEO for the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Find out more about the RIBA’s streamlined corporate structure here.

Following his appointment, Oliver said:

"I am absolutely delighted to be joining RIBA as it embarks on its House of Architecture programme, working with the teams across the organisation to open the world of architecture to diverse and new audiences of all backgrounds. There is no doubting the significance of the Collections and the benefit that they can bring to architects, students of all disciplines and to the public. I am equally thrilled to be able to play a part in leading the development of RIBA as a centre of academic and cultural excellence. I look forward to this new challenge.”

Chair of the RIBA Board, Jack Pringle said:

“I’m really pleased to have Oliver on board and look forward to working with him and the rest of our talented staff team, to further bring our House of Architecture vision to life – a physical and virtual programme of events that engage and inspire global membership and all those interested in architecture.”


Notes to editors:

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  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

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