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Jude Barber announces RIBA presidency bid

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Glasgow-based architect Jude Barber has become the third contender to join the race to become the next president of the RIBA 

The director of award-winning practice Collective Architecture follows AHMM’s Simon Allford and architect, academic and author Sumita Singha in declaring their intentions to stand in the institute’s forthcoming presidential elections. 

In 2017 Barber, with other leading Scottish architects, formed action group A New Chapter, which spearheaded a major shake-up of the RIAS.

She is a board member of the Glasgow Women’s Library – her practice worked on the project to create the library’s first permanent home in 2015 – an external examiner at the University of Sheffield, a member of RIAS Council and sits on the RIBA advisory group Architects for Change.

Two years ago she was named Creative Industry Leader of the Year at the Scottish Women’s Awards.

Barber, 47, told the AJ: ’My decision to run is driven by the ever-increasing climate emergency and the associated impact the public health crisis is having across society.

’This current crisis has shone a big, bright light on all that is (and was) either good or bad in the process of making of architecture and our need to better address these proactively with our clients and collaborators across practice, delivery and education. To face many of the challenges and opportunities going ahead we must harness our collective skills, abilities and voice as a matter of urgency, so we can positively support and influence each other in doing so.’

She said she wanted the RIBA to have a ‘clear, strong voice’ that ‘best represented and included’ the views of all the members from across the UK and beyond.

Barber added: ‘The work I’ve been doing with others to reform RIAS, combined with the RIBA Architects for Change Group, stands me in good stead for the role. More importantly, how our studio works with clients, contractors, consultants and collaborators, and how we do this together, has informed my thinking and resolve to stand at this particular time.’

In 2018 Collective Architecture’s Barmulloch Residents’ Centre won the Public Building of the Year at the AJ Architecture Awards and the practice was named Architect of the Year.

Three architects have now officially announced they plan to stand to replace the insititute’s current president, Alan Jones. Another two candidtes are expected to reveal their bids later this week.

Jones, whose term officially ends in August 2021, is currently on an ‘extended leave of absence’ while the RIBA examines whether he abused his position as its president in relation to an extramarital affair.

All current chartered RIBA members and honorary fellows are eligible to stand for the presidency of the RIBA.

The successful candidate will take up office as president elect on 1 September 2020 and will then serve as RIBA President for a two-year term beginning on 1 September 2021.

Candidates for all the seats must be nominated. The nomination period opened on 12 May 2020 and closes on 16 June 2020. 

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Best news I've read in years about anything to do with the RIBA. Suddenly this election has become interesting and potentially very positive: which is not something that anyone's been able to say for many years.

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  • Delighted to see that Jude is running; as a student of architecture, it's especially heartening to see someone who understands the importance of addressing the climate change issue at an educational level running on this platform.

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  • Having seen the positive impact of Jude’s work through A New Chapter, working on reforming the RIAS and beyond, I am thrilled that she is running for the Presidency at this moment in RIBA’s history. It is especially heartening as a young practitioner to see the Climate Emergency - the crisis that amplifies all others, put front and centre with ambition to act proactively.

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  • Steve McAdam

    It is shaping up to be an interesting debate. Climate change is clearly an area for emergency action but so, too, is social reform and the need for architecture to be more inclusive and more strongly involved in building and supporting communities.

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