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RIBA cuts costs as lecture programme is farmed out

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The RIBA may be forced to cut back on its popular lecture programme at Portland Place next year.

Under plans currently being considered, some lectures are set to be farmed out to the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum in an effort to cut the cost of the programme. The RIBA stages about 30 lectures each year, at a total cost of about £1,500 per lecture because of the cost of hiring the RIBA's own lecture theatre and paying for flights and expenses for speakers. This is rarely covered by ticket sales, according to the RIBA gallery's acting director, Tamara Horbacka. She said that sharing events with the Tate Modern, as tried out during the summer, had produced better, and cheaper, results.

Lectures which may be taken away from RIBA headquarters include those similar to the Massimiliano Fuksas lecture this week and the Ken Yeang lecture scheduled for 10 November.

The move comes as the RIBA struggles to find ways of meeting a £125,000 shortfall in this year's accounts.

'We are looking at all aspects of the gallery programme and we need to see how we can refocus it, ' said director of communications Roula Konzotis.

In particular she stressed that partnerships with other cultural organisations could broaden the appeal of both the lecture and exhibition programme to a wider public. 'We are very keen to maximise the use of our resources and our planning is to do with widening our audience, ' she said.

This summer the RIBA ran a lecture programme on gallery architecture with the Tate Modern with three events held at each place. This themed model now looks set to be continued with a series of historical lectures at the V&A.

The extent of the changes will be decided when chief executive Richard Hastilow allocates budgets for 2001 at the beginning of December.Hastilow said he is looking at ways of reducing the institute's overall deficit, but offered no immediate areas for saving.

This year the communications department, which runs the lecture programme, is facing a £100,000 overspend on its budget due to ongoing difficulties at the Clients Advisory Service, which matches clients with architects.

The services' director, Paul Newman , sa id that the loss resulted from its lack of management and its 'unrealistic income targets'.

In a further cost-cutting move, the RIBA directory of practices will be published solely on the RIBA's website (architecture.com), rather than in book form. This will save £45,000 a year and the advisory service has called for architects to register for the last printed edition.

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