The morning after attending the Opening of Architecture Week, where I enjoyed one piece of sushi and one glass of wine before the catering ‘ran out’, (despite friends paying $40 for their tickets) I find an email from the AAA in my inbox promoting Sydney’s Architecture Festival. Seriously. How is it possible that one state gets an event which is five small sessions over four days and not even enough funding to provide food and drink for fifty people at its opening, and another state has enough funding for a ten day extravaganza with walking tours, guest speakers, community workshops, ITS OWN WEBSITE. As an Institute member I think I deserve the same proportion of funding spent on the celebration of architecture in my city as those in the Eastern States.
I do not mean this as a criticism of our local chapter, which I’m sure is made up of members working tirelessy on a voluntary basis in their spare time to try and improve our architectural community. I simply cannot understand why we can not enjoy the same facilities that other states have. Sure Sydney might have more people and probably more members but I think this still does not explain the huge gap in what we receive. The fact that we can’t attend the opening of our own Architecture Week unless we pay is dissappointing as a member – more free events for members would show there was actually a benefit to membership, encouraging more people to attend events and become members, and continue the cycle. I have met some great people thru networking at Institute events, and believe this benefit is immeasurable and so very important.
Since I pay membership fees to the Institute (well, ok, my work does!), I’d like a say in how they’re spent. I would like to see more Institute-funded events, more advertising to non-members (why can’t the WA Chapter have a email mail-out list for anyone interested in events, not just members?) to try and encourage them to join and participate, free tickets to major events like the Architecture Week opening night, and greater parity of funding with other states. (Not much to ask is it?!)
Quite simply the turn-out for the opening was apallingly small and actually a bit embarassing, though I know some people didn’t come as they had to pay this year (understandable in the end – perhaps they knew the bad value for money beforehand!). But this kind of perpetuates the problem, we need more people (members, non-members, artists, community, interested bystanders!) to WANT to attend more Architecture Week events, and make it a celebration of our wonderful industry. So please people, try and go along to something, and support this week so it doesn’t disappear. Lets try and make it bigger and better! Check out the events pages for this week for more info on the talks.
OK, getting off my soapbox now!