Shock email leak as ARB elections heat up
Emails mistakenly sent to the AJ by ARB board members call RIBA president Angela Brady ‘a prat’ and refer to Stephen Lawrence Trust-backed candidates as ‘the ethnics’
Emails mistakenly sent to the AJ by ARB Reform Group members have branded Angela Brady the ‘worst ever’ RIBA president and referred to ARB election candidates endorsed by the Stephen Lawrence Trust as ‘the ethnics’.
Reform group figurehead and current ARB board member George Oldham labelled Brady’s support for Stephen Lawrence Trust-endorsed candidates Lisa Basu and Kirk Ray Morrison ‘inappropriate and irrelevant’.
Oldham, an original member of the group set up in 2006 to ‘define and restrict’ the ARB’s powers, said: ‘Brady’s support for the “ethnics” is as inappropriate and irrelevant as is to be expected from her.
‘I had been looking forward to returning to the civilisation of the RIBA Council from the bureaucratic inanities of the ARB. Now I’m profoundly depressed, and am simply feeling “a plague on both your houses”.’
Oldham stands down from the ARB board next month, but is also an elected member of the RIBA Council.
In reply to the email, also sent to the AJ, Reform Group member Ruth Brennan, who is standing for re-election, called Brady ‘a prat’ and possibly ‘the worst ever RIBA president’. Brennan was one of five group members who petitioned Brady to back their candidacy.
Brennan said: ‘Is Ms Brady the worst ever RIBA president? I think she might be. What a prat. A plague on the RIBA indeed – at least us at the ARB are acting in a professional manner.’
Last week Brady came out in support of candidates endorsed by the Stephen Lawrence Trust, set up in memory of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence to give disadvantaged aspiring architects access to the profession.
Asked about his email, Oldham said: ‘It doesn’t read well, I would accept that’. However, when questioned about candidates Basu and Morrison, he said although he supported the trust’s work, ‘Brady has got it absolutely wrong saying the RIBA supports the Stephen Lawrence Trust, therefore they should be members of the board.’
The emails were written in response to an ARB Reform Group press release sent to the AJ, which called for an end to ‘infighting and bickering’, referring to recent accusations by RIBA-endorsed candidate John Assael that the group had made false claims in its manifesto.
It read: ‘The profession does not want to see infighting and bickering – it wants collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness. Mr Assael seems to have forgotten his own assertion in his Election Statement that he does not want “confrontation”.’
The RIBA’s surprise decision to back its own candidates for election was a blow to the ARB Reform Group, which had previously benefited from tacit institute support.
Voting in the ARB elections closes at midday on 1 March.
See a full list of candidates