Over 80 RIBA members from across the UK gathered in Bristol on 11 to 12 July for the RIBA Members Forum 2019 to celebrate, share ideas and activity, and explore future plans for the RIBA branches and regions who are the grass roots activists and campaigners of the Institute.
RIBA members from the North East to Wales to Norfolk to Cornwall arrived in Bristol on Thursday for an exclusive tour of the Bristol Old Vic with Tom Gibson of Haworth Tompkins architects. The Old Vic is the RIBA South West Building of the Year 2019. Members then had a tour of the Old City and harbour areas before a celebration dinner.
The Forum on Friday was opened by Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, who talked about how buildings and places can create social equality and support a healthy city. RIBA Vice President of Membership Valeria Passetti talked on the importance of members from across the UK creating the activity and campaigns that drive the RIBA forward for the wider membership, and developing the influential connections that make real change with local authorities and political stakeholders.
RIBA President Elect Alan Jones outlined how we define contemporary professionalism – the title of his forthcoming book, while author of ‘Happy by Design’, Ben Channon of Assael Architecture enthused the audience with his ideas on creating buildings and places that support wellbeing and healthy living.
Manchester Society of Architects, Sheffield Society of Architects, Cambridge Association of Architects, and Design Circle South Wales inspired with their stories in the Celebrations session. Use of a gaming tool to consult on a new Cardiff metro system is leading to true influence with the Welsh government.
Workshops on ‘Engaging with your Local Authority’, ‘Practice-based research’ and ‘Wellbeing’ provided members with real tools for progressing the profession and practices in these key topics. Jane Hamlyn from RIBA Cornwall and David Edmondson from Cornwall Council talked through how their established and strong relationship was created and sustained. RIBA Wessex chair elect Tom Bell talked about research in his practice.
The day was concluded with a panel discussion that included our very own RIBA Bristol Bath chair Kirsty Pesticcio, who suggested that RIBA branches should have an active role in supporting climate change emergencies declared by the RIBA and partners.
When 95 RIBA members and supporting staff come together for a rich day like the RIBA Members Forum, the enthusiasm generated creates activity. And in 12 months’ time, we will be looking at progress.