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Arts Council England asks for opinions on future of Architecture Week

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A final decision on the future of Architecture Week has been delayed yet further to allow for more consultation on the ‘indefinitely suspended’ national event.

In July last year the AJ uncovered that Arts Council England (ACE) had pulled its £250,000 funding for the annual festival – and cancelled the 2008 event – so that it could carry out a review of the week-long architecture jamboree (AJ 05.07.07).

The publicly-funded organisation subsequently appointed Leeds Metropolitan University (AJ online 01.11.07) to carry out the independent study, and in spring this year invited comments on the university’s findings from the RIBA and the Architecture Centre Network.

Now ACE is asking for yet more feedback – this time from the Architecture Foundation, IGNITE (the North East's regional centre of excellence for sustainable communities) and local authorities ‘to help decide the most effective way of engaging the public with art and architecture’.

However ACE has whittled down an initial longlist of seven potential options suggested by the university for a ‘renewed’ event, to a final shortlist of just three.

These are:
• dropping the week altogether in favour of other art and architecture related activities;
• setting up a new annual or biennial programme featuring nine ‘key’ events around the country; or
• a roving Architecture Week which will be held in different parts of the country every year.

Andrew Brown, ACE's acting director of visual Arts Strategy said: ‘Discussing the review with our partners at the RIBA and Architecture Centre Network has been hugely beneficial, but it is important that we now consult the sector more widely before making a final decision.

He added: ‘Whichever option is chosen, Arts Council England will continue to support art and architecture through its £149 million investment in visual arts over the next three years.’

The consultation document can be seen at: www.artscouncil.org.uk/architecture

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