Some jobs in the creative industries demand as much political mastery as they do passion for the subject. The diplomacy required – and the weaving between warring factions to get things done – smacks more of the Yes Minister scenario than the ad agency hothouse.
One such role is surely director of the RIBA Trust, a post that Charles Knevitt has held since 2004 and one in which he has excelled. His contract comes up for review later this year, and the trust will have a tough task finding a successor should it decide not to keep him.
Based at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London’s Portland Place, the charitable trust, which boasts Baroness Blackstone as its non-executive chairman, is described as ‘the cultural arm’ of architecture’s professional body. It is Knevitt’s job to stage events and forge alliances to promote architecture to the wider world.
It organises the annual RIBA Stirling Prize, one of the UK profession’s highest accolades, as well as the AR Emerging Architecture Awards at the other end of the career ladder. It ran a series of events on climate change during 2007, for example, and has highlighted new markets such as China.
One of the biggest outreach projects on the agenda for 2008 is an exhibition of the work of Modernist architect Le Corbusier, to be held at Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, as part of that city’s European Capital of Culture festivities. It will also stage the 2008 Stirling Prize event at the New Liverpool Arena.