Focus-group research for the Arts Council suggests that Architecture Week is a worthwhile event, should be continued, but needs substantial improvements to be truly effective.
The week will take place again this year, backed by the council and the riba. The study, undertaken among half-a-dozen small groups of visitors and non-visitors, suggests that a clear structure for the week is desirable, with identifiable key events at the beginning and end, more focused events during the week, and more of a sense of entertainment, spectacle and celebration.
There were criticisms of the publicity material as dull, with unpredictable distribution, and concern at a perceived lack of national media coverage, especially television. Awareness of the event was 'reasonable' among those 'in the loop', but low among the public at large - many such visitors appeared to have wandered into exhibitions by chance.
At a meeting of advisers and interested parties at the Arts Council last week, it was agreed that a more lively, colourful image could be presented, but it was also noted that media coverage had been greater than some of the public's comments suggested, and that publicity material had been prepared on highly limited budgets.
Despite the criticisms, the focus groups liked the 'wide-ranging and tempting' contents, and the 'bazaar' of events from which to choose.