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Seeking sterling

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The riba is having trouble financing its main Stirling Awards after the Sunday Times said no to renewing its £20,000 three-year sponsorship of the main prize last week. The institute is now talking to three national companies, one of them a retailer - but not Sainsbury's - bidding to take over. The riba is not talking to newspapers this time around, although it does have one media target in mind. It is also still looking for five sponsors of each of its category awards, other than its conservation prize, which has been funded to the tune of £5000 by Crown Estates. But perhaps of greater concern is the actual running of the awards programme, including the financing of judges' visits to buildings. This year that is going to be even more expensive, now that European buildings are allowed. The awards cost £50-£250 to enter and over 400 applications can be expected, but the programme still doesn't pay for itself. The riba is expecting to cover its £85,000 cost of staging the awards with a projected income of £95,000, but the 'optional' costs of a book (£10,000), exhibition (£20,000), presentation ceremony in Glasgow (£3500) and website (£5000), a total of £38,500, may be stretching it. It's got £5000 each from the Arts Council and Marco Goldschmied, but then there's the £50,000 total prize money to find.

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