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RSAW Vision Report

A survey of the membership in Wales to inform the future strategy and vision for the RSAW 2024-2034.

11 June 2024

RSAW is pleased to publish a report to update members and stakeholders on the progress made on the RSAW Vision.

Early work on the Vision, set out by Past President Gavin Traylor, sought to gain insight from the RSAW membership, to discover a future vision for the the organisation in Wales. At the time, in line with the RIBA 2024-2034 Masterplan, our purpose was to identify our differences as an independent nation.

Please take some time to read through the report, and feel free to share any thoughts or feedback with the RSAW team.

“In a world that is so fast paced, the opportunity to slow down and craft and adjust your surroundings to your needs and function, is delightful.” RIBA J April 2024 Photo by Featherstone Young

Mission statement: A voice for architecture in Wales that delivers for all people.


We as the RSAW will create a transparent organisation that will promote architecture for all. Through collaboration and engagement, we aim to shape a more inclusive built environment in Wales, led by its members.

Early work on the RSAW Vision, set out by Past President Gavin Traylor, sought to gain insight from the RSAW membership, to discover a future vision for the the organisation in Wales. At the time, in line with the RIBA 2024-2034 Masterplan, our purpose was to identify our differences as an independent nation. The Act has seven well-being goals and five ways of working, set out by the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, to give ambition, permission and legal obligation to improve Wales’s social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being.

We wanted to make sure that theRSAW Vision reflected the five areas of working, by creating a professional body membership with the ambition to achieve better ways of working with a future focused objective to make architecture inclusive and diverse, long-term focused, collaborative, and prevent issues under our remit within the built environment to continue.

As agreed by RSAW Council, a series of surveys and visits to all local areas of Wales was undertaken to discover how we can:

  • raise the profile of architects and architecture with the general public - delivering architecture for all
  • redefine the structure, purpose, and role of RSAW Council
  • create an indelible membership
  • enhance connections and engagement with key stakeholders and other organisations
  • ensure transparency and value in all activities undertaken

Identifying areas of strategy

Through a combination of members' feedback and discussion with RSAW Council, some common areas were identified under the following areas of focus:

Raise the profile of architects and architecture; delivering architecture for all

  • actively promote the benefits of engaging an architect - why are architects relevant?
  • communications and architectural legacy
  • demonstrate the professionalism of an architect
  • delivering architecture for the general public
  • celebrate social value in architecture
  • lead on the importance of sustainability in the built environment

Redefine the structure, purpose and role of the RSAW

  • ensure RSAW Council is outward facing
  • review the possibility of integration of others, such as student members
  • increase the role of special interest groups
  • redefine the purpose and roles of each person and group on RSAW Council
  • review the connections between RSAW Council and its members

Create an indelible membership

  • highlight to all what members can offer
  • review the benefits of RSAW / RIBA membership
  • analysis of effective marketing strategies that will help members and wider outreach
  • provide an effective CPD offering for Wales

Enhance connections and engagement with key stakeholders and other organisations

  • engage effectively with Welsh Government and local planning authorities on all matters relating to architectural practice
  • understand the synergy between RSAW and RIBA and develop the connections
  • create an effective stakeholder map that is transparent and visible to all members
  • develop a purposeful voice for architecture for the general public
  • enhance connections with all external organisations for the benefit of architecture

Ensure transparency and value in all activities undertaken

  • create a moral and ethical code suitable for the RSAW
  • measure performance of all strategies
  • develop transparency and trust with all members and organisations
  • be the voice for architects in Wales

Focus groups

RSAW Council split into groups to discuss:

  • raising the profile of architects and architecture - delivering architecture for all
  • redefining the structure, purpose, and role of the RSAW
  • creating an indelible membership
  • enhancing connections and engagement with key stakeholders and other organisations
  • ensuring transparency and value in all activities undertaken

To break this down and for the RSAW to focus on areas of tasks and remit, they focused on:

  • autonomy
  • business and practice
  • marketing
  • profile and branding
  • voice

The aim was to identify specific areas of work or tasks within the RSAW that needed addressing, improving or introducing, based on low, medium and high priority and whether it was a short, medium or long term goal.

It was identified by RSAW Council that there was 13 obvious business as usual (BAU) activities and 27 suggested areas of activity.

This was discussed at a council meeting where members of staff were able to support the findings or identify areas of suggested activity that were in fact BAU, but Council members didn't know about it.

"Focusing and bringing positive energy to the process is more important than concentrating on the final product.” RIBA J April 2024 Photo by Hannah Theron

RSAW BAU and suggested tasks list summary

BAU Activity

  1. Annual Conference
  2. Spring Conference
  3. RSAW Mentor scheme
  4. Social media presence
  5. RSAW Welsh Architecture Awards
  6. Five Presidents meeting and sharing of knowledge across nations
  7. Political consultations response (reactive)
  8. RSAW Communications (reactive)
  9. ARB relationship
  10. Local CPD
  11. RSAW Design Week
  12. Small Practice Network
  13. RSAW/UWP Publications commitment

Suggested activity

  1. Independent RSAW website
  2. Address the value of the newsletter
  3. Address the reinvigoration of Touchstone
  4. Increased collaboration with industry
  5. Library access for members
  6. Proactive lobbying on relevant issues
  7. Policy consultation tracker and better visibility
  8. Calendar of activities across Wales and the UK available on website
  9. Large practice liaison
  10. Planning and Local authority links
  11. TV programmes and press
  12. RSAW technical notes
  13. Joint Local Initiative Funding (LIF) bids
  14. Special interest group for Welsh autonomy
  15. Social media strategy *
  16. Work better with schools of architecture
  17. RSAW guidance notes
  18. Engagement with public, lenders and charities
  19. RSAW YouTube channel
  20. RSAW app
  21. Enhance Wales in London week*
  22. Welsh cultural and architectural identity*
  23. Events for widening networks
  24. Welsh benchmarking survey
  25. RSAW Archive*
  26. Engagement incentives
  27. Practice visits*

*already being undertaken but is not widely known about nor effective.

Next steps

Survey the RSAW and RIBA membership, external friends, and stakeholders to identify what they would like us to communicate to them, how often, and through what channels.

We will ask the following questions:

  1. Age
  2. Membership category
  3. What do you want to hear about from the RSAW?
  4. How do you want to receive it (email/newsletter, RSAW website, social media, in-person discussions/CPD, podcasts, YouTube channel, publications, other)
  5. Who else should the RSAW be communicating with to promote architecture and how?
  6. Do you read printed publications? If yes, why? If no, why not and what medium do you prefer?
  7. How often do you like to receive communications from RSAW?
  8. What do you think would be the biggest impact and legacy for architecture in Wales?

RSAW team to communicate activity undertaken, such as events/CPD, policy engagements, legislative updates, projects and outcomes, practices visited and identify key areas of interest, through various methods of communications, to ensure transparency. Every project or initiative led by RSAW will meet a minimum of three out of the five areas of strategy.

RSAW Archive and collections from Wales to work with the RIBA Collections team to identify where the House of Architecture can support our need for continued archiving and digital capabilities for the future of welsh collections.

Proactive policy communications to raise awareness of the value of using an architect and to lobby Welsh government to make it compulsory for any public body (eg local authority, housing associations) to use a qualified architect for projects over a certain size and value, to be determined by RSAW Council.

Download the full RSAW Vision 2024 PDF.

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